How to choose the right wallpaper for your room

Wallpaper isn't just for your grandmother's house anymore, and it hasn't been for a long time. That's right – wallpaper is back and chicer than ever. And you can also find more options than ever, which can be a little overwhelming. With almost unlimited styles, patterns, colors and materials to choose from, it's hard to know where to start.


You'll even find wallpaper in many of the homes featured here, so if you're a wallpaper novice and have found yourself sufficiently inspired, read on for a wallpaper expert's top tips on choosing the right wallpaper for every room in your home.

We asked design expert Eric Mortensen, who co-founded wallpaper company Love vs. Design in 2021, for his best wallpaper tips. Just right for wallpaper beginners, Love vs. Design offers $6 samples of its peel-and-stick designs that don't require paste to apply and won't chip the paint when removed (making them ideal for renters).

But that's not the best part. All of their designs are fully customizable, meaning you can choose from over 200 different colors to find the one that perfectly matches your space. They also offer hundreds of different designs and work with designers around the world, so customers can “create a customized look that perfectly fits their space and style preferences,” says Mortensen.

Read on to find out his top tips for choosing wallpaper.

1. Consider the use and traffic of the space.

Consider the mood you want to achieve with your wall decor. In high-traffic areas like entryways, hallways, kitchens or bathrooms, more vibrant patterns can liven up the space and add a certain playfulness. And since these walls are more likely to get wet or spilled, Mortensen recommends opting for vinyl or other washable wallpaper types that are easy to clean.

In rooms like living areas, the right wallpaper can add visual interest and give the room a better sense of your own style. And in less frequented rooms like bedrooms, you'll probably want a calmer atmosphere – natural textures, neutral colors and pastels work well here.

2. Consider the size of the room.

The shade of your wallpaper not only determines the style of a room, but also its size. “By choosing lighter wallpapers with smaller patterns, you can create the illusion of a larger space in a small room,” explains Mortensen. Smaller patterns also work well in hallways or bathrooms, where they will be seen up close.

Conversely, darker colors and bolder or larger-scale patterns work well in larger spaces where you want to feel cozier. And rooms without a lot of natural light “might benefit from lighter or more reflective wallpaper to add brightness to the area,” says Mortensen.

3. Consider your existing decor and style.

Consider the style of the room you're wallpapering and all the colors in it. Maybe you like a particular wallpaper pattern, but one or two colors don't match your sofa or pillows.

And while you're thinking about your existing design, think about your goals too. Do you have a favorite color that isn't as prevalent in your home? Now might be a good time to bring it to the forefront – especially with an accent wall.

4. Consider an accent wall.

Especially if you're new to wallpapering, an accent wall is a great way to ease into wallpapering without too much hassle. Mortensen recommends wallpapering just one accent wall if you have a small space that you don't want to feel cramped, or if you love a particularly bold color or pattern that might work better in smaller doses. Accent walls can also “draw attention in spaces that lack architectural features,” says Mortensen, and they're great for designers on a budget, too.

5. Test, test, test.

“The old saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder is absolutely true,” says Mortensen. “We recommend testing, testing, testing before you decide. Order ten different samples if necessary to find the perfect color scheme for your space.” Observe how the wallpaper samples look at different times of day and in different lighting.

Because Love vs. Design's patterns are so affordable and can be removed without leaving any residue, you can try as many styles and colors as you like before making your final decision. They even sell each design in three different materials. “Smooth” is a durable peel-and-stick vinyl that wipes clean easily, “Woven” is a textured fabric that looks luxurious but can be removed in a snap, and “Glissade” is the closest thing to a traditional wallpaper – but requires no paste or professional installation, plus it's 100% removable.

And to give you even more confidence in your wallpaper choice, the company offers a “Love It Guarantee,” which allows customers to return their wallpaper for any reason and get a full refund. “With a custom-made product, that's pretty much unthinkable,” says Mortensen. And before that, you probably thought it was unthinkable to design your own wallpaper, too.

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