Wallpaper can be a bit of a gamble, don't you think? I've definitely been in the company of overly-patterned wallpapers whose clashingly garish colours made my eyes burn. (I’m getting red, orange and black floral flashbacks of an Amsterdam hotel — a memorable experience, nonetheless).
But it’s the fond memories of great wallpaper that stand out most. There’s real magic in a beautifully considered wallpaper and its power to transform a room’s atmosphere and mood in a heartbeat. And with so many options to play with in terms of scale, colour, pattern and texture, I thought I’d share how I approach wallpaper decoration, along with a handful of my favourite designers who inspire me — perhaps they can do the same for you too.
Without further ado, let’s talk wallpaper.
First, the hallway. To me, choosing the perfect wallpaper for your hallway is like opening a box of chocolates. It's all about creating an alluring and welcoming first impression — that feels like a treat to discover. Light and airy patterns allow you to create a sense of openness – a wonderful example of this is Cole & Son's ‘Sweet Pea’. The graceful and delicate design is truly elegant — I can imagine taking my shoes off in a hallway with this pattern and wanting to never put them back on again. On the other hand, for a larger reception area with high ceilings, a more intricate pattern that draws in the eye can build intrigue and mystique. Nicolas Hughes' ‘Dancing Newts’ is a playful and charming pattern that would certainly make me smile as I walk through the front door.
Taking wallpaper into the bedroom should help you to reflect and recharge. When you’ve had a long and busy day, wallpaper shouldn’t add to the madness but instead help it melt away. I think opting for softer, more natural free-flowing patterns like Soane's ‘Pineapple Frond’ is a perfect example. The lush tropical foliage and fan-like pattern brings a sense of calming movement across the entire design. Personally, my bedroom is where I go when I'm seeking to be peaceful – and nowhere am I more tranquil than in nature. I wanted to bring the serenity of the English countryside into my own wallpaper design, and so created ‘Studland’, which celebrates the beauty and freshness of snowdrops — one of my favourite symbols of springtime — within a soothing repeating geometry.
(3: Soane, Pineapple Frond & 2: Calver, Studland)
Who says bathrooms have to be boring? In particular, smaller bathrooms often feel like unloved places, when in fact they’re absolute gems to get super creative with pattern and colour. The vibrant shades of green, blue, yellow, and red of GP&J Baker's ‘Nympheus Jazz’ would be an excellent takeover for a smaller bathroom or downstairs toilet. The giant lily pads and sneaky herrings create real drama — perfect for staring at while soaking in the bath! For a larger main bathroom, I adore the romantic and delicate feel of F&P Interiors' ‘Adam's Eden’. With its soft colours and delicate styling of foliage, the sweet little birds look like they’ve just flown through your bathroom window — beautiful and heartwarming (and much better than a real-life bird flying in and jeopardising your bathroom routine. Trust me — speaking from experience here).
(4: GP&J Baker's, Nympheus Jazz & 5: F&P Interiors, Adam's Eden)
I think some of most exciting places for wallpaper are those you least expect. The ‘hidden’ spots of the furnishings we use daily, like the back of a bookshelf, the shelves of a kitchen cupboard, the back of a wardrobe or the lining of chest of drawers, are all perfect for adding a touch of surprise — as well as making use of any leftover wallpaper that you love. It’s also a lovely, subtle detail for you to enjoy every time you reach for a book — and it makes getting to the bottom of your pants drawer feel slightly less painful (silver linings!).
(6: Source & 7: Source)
Similarly, using wallpaper to add interest to alcoves and other architectural details is a great way to play with space, especially if you don’t want to commit to a whole room. Interior designer Marta Chrapka’s stylish and contemporary apartment is exactly the sort of example I had in my head, if not better! Marta’s use of pattern in the alcoves gives the wallpaper a new life, almost as though it could be mistaken for a wall-hanging or piece of art, injecting charisma and charm into each room.
Whether you’re huddled around the kitchen table with friends and a bottle of wine, or your head is about to hit the pillow after a long day, wallpaper can be an incredible extension of your personality, hugging your walls with character. Don't rush the decision, pin up some samples and let the wallpaper speak for itself — just observe which ones draw you in the most. When you find the perfect wallpaper, it should seamlessly blend with the rest of your interior to tell a story throughout the space, inviting you on a journey that makes you want to stay a while — or longer.
If you’re working on any exciting wallpaper projects at the moment and are interested in incorporating Calver designs — or if you just want someone to bounce ideas off, get in touch.