How to make bold wallpaper work in your home

Statement wallpaper is a great way of putting your own stamp on a property.

But it can be nerve-wracking choosing the right one and knowing how to execute such a bold look.

Over on Instagram, we’ve seen interior bloggers experiment with jazzy designs and quirky patterns – and it’s made us want to pull off the incredible looks ourselves. 

Thankfully, Mel Hamblett – from Instagram account @awholenewbuild – is on hand to share some of her top tips.

Mel has been busy giving her Gloucestershire home a vibrant makeover – with every room offering a new colour scheme and theme. She’s rounded up some things to remember when you’re trying to make bold wallpaper work in your home.

Start small

As with any DIY project, it’s a good idea to start with something smaller – rather than going in all guns blazing.

Mel tells ‘If you’re unsure how bold colours or prints will work in your home, start small by upcycling table tops, cabinet doors or even the side panel of your stairs. 

‘Getting used to seeing bright pops of pattern will make the transition into bold wallpaper feel less scary.’

Experiment with vinyl first

A good way to dip your toe into the bold wallpaper trend is to start with vinyl. 

Mel says: ‘If you’re not quite ready to pick up the pasting brush just yet, why not try vinyl? It’s really versatile and comes in a range of patterns and colours.

‘Just measure, cut, stick and smooth. I’ve used Get Kooky vinyl on my garden bar (chevron design), table tops (lemon design), staircase and even on the inside of a window alcove. Plus it’s easy to remove if you decide to change up your scheme.’

Make the most of samples

You probably wouldn’t go about painting an entire room without testing it first – the same goes for wallpaper.

Mel adds: ‘Remember to take advantage of samples. Wallpapers can look completely different online to in your home. 

‘In the same way we test paint, it’s always worth trialling a sample first. While you’re picking samples, why not try something you really like but would never normally be brave enough to buy? You might find it’s the one you fall in love with when you see it on the wall.’

Less is sometimes more

Remember you don’t have to wallpaper an entire room – you can switch it up, or even break up a wall. 

Mel says: ‘Wallpaper doesn’t have to cover an entire wall. If you’re thinking of introducing a dado or panelling to split your wall in half, a bold print can seem less daunting if you’re new to pattern and colour.’

Get in the zone

Mel adds that you can also try zoning with wallpaper. This means wallpapering a certain spot in a room for a particular activity – such as a play area or study space.

She says: ‘Slightly different to a feature wall, zoning can work really well in open plan living spaces to define the end of the dining space or to make a living area feel cosier. 

‘It’s also a nice tool to add defined character to multi-use spaces like a spare room/home office.’

Consider the environment 

‘Remember that your furniture and accessories will break up your wallpaper, allowing you to pick a bolder scheme,’ adds Mel.

‘Just ensure you consider the colours of your furniture and what type of frames or mirrors you’ll put on the wall before you invest.’

Don’t forget about small spaces

Don’t let a small room put you off a bold scheme.

Sometimes it can work even better, as it presents an opportunity to really go all out on a less-daunting space.

Mel says: ‘Downstairs toilets and utility rooms can be a great place to play with pattern. Create a dazzling room that gets your guests talking, and don’t be afraid to have fun.’

Go higher

Another key thing to remember is the fifth wall – AKA your ceiling.

Mel says: ‘Papering your ceiling might seem like an unusual option, but it can be an effective way to add interest to a room without intruding on the wall colour.

‘If you don’t have the luxury of tall ceilings, a bold striped wallpaper or vertical pattern can encourage your eye up to give the impression that the room is taller.’

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