How to Fix These 10 Design Quirks With Wallpaper

Wallpaper has been around for centuries — and for good reason. Though often thought of as purely decorative, it actually has several practical functions. Wallpaper can hide small wall irregularities or defects, enhance or disguise architectural elements, and create separate zones or moods within a room. Here are ways to use this pragmatic and beautiful material, as well as examples of creative wallcoverings you may not have considered.

Related: Watch 1 House Take On 8 Wallpapers

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Fenstermann LLC, original photo on Houzz


1. Play Up (or Hide) an Architectural Feature

You can use wallpaper to highlight a beautiful architectural feature or to make more of a design statement out of an ordinary, or even off-kilter, one. In this room, the wallpaper follows the angle of the sloped roofline, accenting the cozy attic feel of the bedroom while bringing in a cheery note of color.


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Farrow Arcaro Design, original photo on Houzz


2. Enlarge a Small Room

Bathroom wallpaper can make the smallest rooms in our homes look great — and considerably more spacious. Here, the verticality of the wallpaper design helps make the ceiling look taller, visually increasing the room size and adding depth.


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3. Hide a Bumpy Wall

Glass fiber wallcovering is actually a textile made of glass fibers, with different textures and weaves. It is much stronger than typical wallpaper and can work quite well to disguise wall defects.

It comes unpainted but can generally be painted up to 10 times, meaning longevity and flexibility. Some versions can withstand the moisture of wet areas, such as a bathroom or kitchen backsplash, as long as they’re painted with suitable paint. In kitchens, it’s advised to use a hard backsplash behind the stove and the glass fiber wallcovering next to it.


Loadingdock5 Architecture PLLC, original photo on Houzz


4. Create a Separate Zone

Wallpaper is an easy way to visually separate a room into different functional areas. Here, it defines a small work zone in a bedroom.


5. Dress Up an Outdoor Space

We often think of using wallpaper indoors, but it can also work in outdoor spaces. These days, more companies are coming up with techniques to create wallcoverings that are resistant to rain, yellowing and smog. Consider using them on your porch or facade for a different look.


6. Add Texture

These days, wallpaper comes in finishes that echo the texture of other materials, such as recycled wood, concrete, brick and stone. The benefit of using wallpaper instead of the true material is twofold. First, the cost can be lower, especially with imitation raw concrete. Second, these coverings avoid the hassle of using raw materials that can be messy.

For example, recycled wood must be checked and processed for molds, insects and other possible contaminations. A simpler, clean solution can be using faux-wood wallpaper designs.


MEYSTYLE, original photo on Houzz


7. Increase the Light

If your room is darker than you’d prefer, why not bring in a bit of twinkle light? Wallcoverings like the one pictured incorporate LEDs (light-emitting diodes) into their texture, in different forms and patterns. This one, featuring Swarovski crystals as well, is not only a great accent piece, especially at night, but also a very good source of ambient lighting. It’s hung like a traditional wallpaper, with the added requirement of an electric outlet.


8. Go Organic

In certain homes — particularly in cities or in apartments without much green space — textured grasscloth wallcovering can offer a natural, organic touch to an otherwise man-made environment. As a benefit, it’s usually considered an environmentally friendly choice because it is often made from natural, sustainable materials, such as sisal or bamboo.


Inkiostro Bianco, original photo on Houzz


9. Go Dramatic

Mural wallcoverings are a great option when you want the look of dramatic art, but you don’t necessarily have the budget to buy an original piece. Though they aren’t cheap, they generally are less costly than high-end painting.


10. Make a Personal Statement

Custom wallpaper printing is a great way to achieve a personalized look, and many companies offer temporary stick-on options. If you want to move your personalized wallpaper, you can just peel it off and stick it up somewhere else. You can try out different patterns for different rooms, or draw on your own designs.

Related: Use Wall Stencils to Personalize Your Wallpaper

Some companies even offer options that you can paint your own mural on, for an especially customized look.


Trendoffice Interior Design Consulting, original photo on Houzz


Bonus Tip: Look Beyond the Wall

While wallcovering can be used on walls to help disguise flaws and to accent elements you want to highlight, its powers can also be used <em>off</em> walls. Wallpaper can be a fun accent for a cabinet or a dresser. Go for something fun and daring that can create a striking feature.

Related: Experiment With Removable Wall Decals


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