Paper Power: How To Use Wallpaper to Elevate Your Design

Interior designers often talk about the value of a “statement” in a room. It is an element that becomes the focus of your design and sets the tone for your space. It is the proverbial “Wow” factor. 

Wallpaper in Dining Room

Wallpaper has been used to create beautiful spaces since the 16th century. Today, patterns have become larger, bolder, and more eye-catching than ever before. Murals have made a comeback recently as well as textured papers like faux wood looks, brick or stone. Our classics that seem to never go out of style range from grass cloth, glass bead, metallics and the list goes on.

Just last month in an Associated Press article by Kim Cook. She wrote that “In the Emmy-nominated opening credits of HBO’s ‘The White Lotus,’ wall-paper-like images told a story: The tropical prints started off innocuously enough, but then turned ominous. Fruit started rotting, fish got tangled in seaweed, and a sense of foreboding set the whole premise of an exotic paradise on its edge. The artist, Lezio Lopes, has said he was trying to evoke the design and themes of the shows resort suites.”

Residential Wallpaper

Cook wrote: “It’s a surreal example of a current trend in décor–wallpapers that combine art and narrative qualities to set the mood of a room. Some take us to wild places in nature, others to wild worlds born in artists’ imaginations. They go way beyond your nice stripe or simple floral. They tell a story.”

Wallpaper in Nursery

With wallpaper back in a big way you might wonder about advice on Do’s and Don’ts.


  • Consider getting advice: Selecting the right wallpaper for your space can be an exciting but also a daunting task. Professional advice can be very useful.
  • Consider the room’s purpose: Keep the vibe and use of the room in mind when selecting wallpaper. For example, serene patterns may be more suitable for bedrooms, while vibrant patterns might work in living areas.
  • Start with an accent wall: If you’re unsure about using wallpaper extensively, begin with an accent wall. This can be a great way to add a focal point to a room without overwhelming the space.
  • Remember the fifth wall: Wallpaper on the ceiling can be a creative way to add drama and interest to a room.

Wallpaper on the ceiling

  • Test a sample: Your designer can obtain a sample piece of the wallpaper for you to place on the wall so you can see how it looks under different light conditions.
  • Discuss the Style: Think about the overall style you want to achieve in the room. Your designer can help you decide whether you prefer modern, traditional, minimalist, bohemian, or something else and will make sure the wallpaper will align with that style.
  • Ask about peel and stick: If you are renting or doing a room that you’ll want to change in a short period of time, ask about peel and stick wallpaper that is easy to remove. Always ask your landlord before making any updates. These papers are easy to remove, but wall conditions may affect the results. 


  • Avoid overusing bold patterns: Large scale, bold patterns can create visual chaos and overwhelm the space.
  • Don’t focus so much on the walls that you ignore the furniture: Your wallpaper should complement, not clash. Your designer can help you consider how the patterns and colors interact with each other.
  • Don’t be too trendy: You don’t want something that will quickly become outdated.
  • Avoid DIY if unsure: Installing wallpaper can be challenging especially for large areas or intricate patterns. A professional can ensure a neat and smooth installation.

Wallpaper can be the perfect design element for your project. Valerie Ruddy Designs can help you explore different options until you find the one that transforms your space into a beautiful and inspiring environment.

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