White wallpaper design ideas: 11 ways to brighten your rooms

If you love neutral schemes and find bold wallpapers too much, use our white wallpaper design ideas to make a subtle statement

White washed brick wallpaper by Wallsauce
(Image credit: Wallsauce)

White wallpaper? Before you go thinking 'what is even the point?', we aren't talking about literally all-white wallpaper. We mean wallpaper that is bold enough to be noticed, but subtle enough to not take over a space... and it just so happens that the majority of such wallpapers happen to be predominantly white. So if you want to choose wallpaper for your rooms, but don't want anything that's too out there, keep scrolling to see our fave selection of white wallpaper designs.

Find more wallpaper inspiration on our dedicated page. And, once you've made your all important choice, check out our step-by-step guide to how to wallpaper a wall

1. Fake the exposed brick look

We would all love to strip back the plaster of our walls and be met with beautiful exposed brick, but since that’s not the reality for the most of us, we say fake it with wallpaper.

This whitewashed wallpaper from Wallsauce looks impressively realistic, and no one need know that it isn’t the real deal. 

White washed brick wallpaper

(Image credit: Wallsauce)

2. Choose a realistic wood effect wallpaper

Who knew shiplap was so trendy? We’ve seen it all over Instagram recently, but covering your walls in wood can be expensive and takes an age to do. 

So, for a quick update, choose a wood effect wallpaper instead. We know that faux wallpapers can get a bit of a bad rap, but done well they can look pretty much like the real thing. Just check out this Harlequin Drift wallpaper.

Harlequin Drift wallpaper

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Alternatively, opt for a wood-effect wallpaper that's laid in a herringbone style to achieve a slightly less rustic finish. 

We love this Painted White Chevron Wallpaper from Woodchip & Magnolia.

living room with white scheme and wood effect herringbone wallpaper by woodchip and magnolia

(Image credit: Woodchip & Magnolia)

3. Wallpaper a splashback 

Looking for an inexpensive way to update your kitchen super quickly? This herringbone wallpaper from Lime Lace gives the appearance of a tiled splashback, but costs about a third of the price. 

If you're looking for similar kitchen inspiration, take a look at our kitchen splashback ideas.

Herringbone tiles from Lime Lace

(Image credit: Lime Lace)

We are still obsessed with gallery walls, but we get that they can be a bit of a faff to organise and get looking right. So, make it easy for yourself and use this gorgeous Matthew Williamson wallpaper to achieve the look instead. 

For more inspirational gallery wall ideas, take a look at our design guide.

Matthew Williamson wallpaper

(Image credit: John Lewis)

5. Create the illusion of traditional paneling

Because we can’t all live in stately homes with our ornate plastered walls, velvet furniture and regal looking dog. But you can always add those opulent vibes to your home with this Cole and Son Clock Court wallpaper...

Find out more about how to use panelling (real wood or MDF) in our design guide.

Cole and Son Clock Court wallpaper

(Image credit: John Lewis)

6. Go for a simple monochrome pattern

Perk up a room with a graphic polka dot print. In black and white, the simple pattern has just enough contrast to make a bold statement and yet it’s not so out there that it would completely overwhelm a space.

We love the retro vibes of this Mini Moderns print – the wallpaper is actually based on a pegboard so has loads of lovely imperfections that stop it looking too uniform. 

Mini Moderns Peggy wallpaper

(Image credit: John Lewis)

7. Create a library (that's not really a library) 

Love reading and minimalism? Then surround yourself with this fabulous White Bookshelf wallpaper, £70 a roll, from Curious Egg. It’s cleverly designed to give the illusion of books on shelves – perfect for fans of pure white interiors and tidy shelves.

Curious Egg book wallpaper in white

(Image credit: Curious Egg)

8. Choose a bold floral print 

This bold and beautiful floral wallpaper from John Lewis is perfect for bringing the outside in, especially during the gloomier months! Viola is a digitally printed wallpaper by Designers Guild and features romantic hand-drawn florals in muted tones on a white frescoed non-woven ground.

Designers Guild Viola floral wallpaper in a dining space

(Image credit: John Lewis)

9. Get a subtle look with soft stripes

Sometimes all we want is a ‘barely there’ design, a hint of something rather than a full on wallpaper print.

This gorgeous dreamy stripe is simply perfect, the colours are hints of pale greys and the design mimics draped white fabric hanging quietly, inspired by trompe l’oeil. It’s called Wallpaper Drapery 4053-4055 and two other colourways are available.

hanging fabric effect wallpaper in white

(Image credit: Cloudberry Living)

10. Add some whimsy to a children's bedroom 

There’s a lovely simplicity about Hibou Home’s Picture Perfect Portraits wallpaper. Ideal for a small child’s room, it features portraits of animal characters framed in olive leaf wreaths that are inspired by traditional ancestral family portraits. There’s gold leaf detailing on each portrait and you’ll find Aunt Maude, the cat with the hat, and Great Uncle Algernon, the monocled hare.

For more small kids' bedroom design ideas take a look at our design guide.

Family portrait animals wallpaper by Hibou Home

(Image credit: Hibou Home)

11. Create a stylish look with white tile-effect wallpaper

While wall tiles are more readily associated with the kitchen and bathroom, a geometric tile can make a stylish design feature in a bedroom or living room, too, particularly when paired with neutral, almost bohemian, prints and textures.

But, rather than tiling in a bedroom or living room – which can be expensive and time consuming – why not consider opting for a tile-effect wallpaper instead? This will also achieve a more relaxed finish.

Opting for a paper with a white base that's enhanced using other muted tones is a great way to achieve the tile effect without compromising the zen feeling that many of us associate with white schemes. 

This Gio Geometric Tile Wallpaper from Woodchip & Magnolia suits those with a taste for neutrals, while subtly incorporating the geometric print trend.

living room with white and blue tile effect wallpaper by woodchip and magnolia

(Image credit: Woodchip and Magnolia)

Looking for more wallpaper inspiration?

Sophie Warren-Smith

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 22 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor of indie magazine, 91, Sophie trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for the modern bride.