Papers with natural motifs will look fresh for decades. For a contemporary look, though, choose less literal interpretations, like the drawings of blooms that make up this paper from Portland-based Makelike.
A wallpaper pattern that might overwhelm a large space can enliven a smaller room—like this tiny entry. To give the room a jewel-box quality, the interior doors are papered as well. When the doors are closed, the pattern is seamless.
This windowless dining room is made even cozier with a dark green sea-grass wall covering. Even though the color is solid, the texture adds interest. For more glitz—or a paper that will lightly shimmer in candlelight—look for a grasscloth with metallic threads woven through it.
A design like Vivienne Westwood’s tartan wallpaper from Cole & Son calls for restraint in the rest of the room. So use it on just one wall as a focal point (if you hang it behind a bed, you won’t need a headboard) and leave everything else neutral.
Sometimes the perfect paper is hanging out in your camera’s memory chip. The website designyourwall.com lets you turn photographs into custom wallpaper. Here, a shoreline image brings the feeling of the beach inside.
Many companies are now updating historical designs with new color palettes. Some, like this bird-and-branch pattern from trustworth.com, are as fresh as the day they were first painted. Use a busy, colorful paper like this in a room you can afford to be playful, like a kid’s room.
When in doubt, choose a neutral. No matter how offbeat the paper’s design, a simple color palette like black and white will make it more livable. For even less visual noise, choose a tone-on-tone pattern in white and ivory. It will read completely neutral from a distance.
In this young girl's bedroom, playful wallpaper graces a single wall. The large-scale motif helps the paper feel like art rather than background noise.
In a home with a distinct architectural style, it can be fun to riff off what might have been there when the home was built. Here, a large-scale thistle wallcovering by Timorous Beasties updates the ornate damask wallpaper that’s classic in Victorians.
The butler’s pantry is usually a forgettable space. Not so when papered dramatically in this paper from Krane Wallpaper. You could also try this in a coat closet or laundry room.