How to Choose Wallpaper


If you are looking to add wallpaper to your home but feel overwhelmed than I have you covered. Here are great tips on how to choose wallpaper.

The wallpaper trend is back and stronger than ever and appears that it will be around for a while. I remember wallpaper when I was a kid in our kitchen but at one point wallpaper rather went out of style. Remember wallpaper boarders? I do hope those never come back in style. When we purchased our first home in 2002 it had some of the ugliest wallpaper and strange duck boarder that we spent hours removing and doing wall repair as well. Never thought I would be adding wallpaper to our new home, but here we go!

When we moved to TN we downsized our main home, but I knew I wanted wallpaper in our dining room, son’s room and daughter’s bathroom. For the size of our home that should be plenty. The first room to conquer…the dining room so here are some things I considered when choosing the right wallpaper.

wallpaper in dining room

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So Many Choices

If you have ever begun looking for wallpaper you have soon realized that you could scroll through every page from now until New Year’s and still be scrolling. It can be very overwhelming to look at all 12,765 pages and wonder if you stopped scrolling if you might have missed the exact thing you were looking for.

Let me help you break it down so you can find just what you are looking for. When I was selecting wallpaper for our dining room I felt like I would never find the right fit, but I did and here are some tips I used.

wallpaper in dining room

Wallpaper Styles

Wallpaper is a fabulous way to express your own taste and home decor and the wallpaper you chose should go with the rest of your décor style and flow naturally with the rest of your space. Our home has a very open floor plan therefore it’s important that the wallpaper in the dining room flow into the living and kitchen. It needs to all blend.

Start by considering which style wallpaper you are going for based on your home’s overall decor style. Are you modern or vintage, boho or rustic? If your style is more modern you likely won’t want buffalo check wallpaper.

The style of this home will be a little different than our last as it is smaller, has a total open floor plan, is one level and is in the country. I would say I’m going for more of a cottage feel, Europeanish, with a touch of vintage traditional and a splash of modern. How is that even described…I’m not sure. Maybe to sum it up – traditional cottage. My style is not stuffy, but not overly formal either.

By determining what style you have in your home you can begin to narrow down your wallpaper choices. I knew I didn’t want Damask or geometrics or anything glam.

Different Styles to Consider:

  • Formal: A formal interior benefits from various elegant wallpaper designs, such as a hand-painted print or damask
  • Glam: The choices for glam wallpaper include embossed, flocked, crystal or glitter embedded
  • Cottage: Think vintage or antique type printed patterns
  • Casual: Your décor can be enhanced with different patterns, such as a plant, floral or textured print
  • Country: A plaid, gingham or country motif pattern may be a good choice for your country décor
  • Rustic: Select a textured wallpaper, such as a grasscloth for depth, plaid for warmth or a wildlife pattern
  • Victorian: A baroque floral damask makes a good wallpaper for this period style
  • Modern: Select a geometric or abstract pattern for a more modern décor
collage of wallpaper

Determine Color Scheme

All of us have favorite colors and usually that is displayed in our homes. Maybe you prefer more neutrals or bright bold colors. I am more of a neutral kind of gal with touches of color such as blues and greens, etc. My favorite color is blue and you will see it throughout our home and in most of my clothing.

Once you have determined your color scheme then it makes narrowing down your wallpaper easier. I knew I wanted something blue and with a leafy type pattern so that is what I began to look for. Instead of scrolling through 12,000 pages of wallpaper I narrowed it down to pattern and color to begin the process of elimination.

wallpaper on website

Consider Size and Scale

Consider the size of your room when selecting wallpaper. Designers say to determine the size of the wallpaper based on your room size. The smaller the room = the smaller the print. Larger spaces and rooms will make a bold statement with a larger pattern.

Careful not to put small prints in a big space and large prints in a small space. Small prints in a big room can look busy and annoying. Just like any “rule” it can be altered and I’ve seen just the right large print wallpaper in a powder room look amazing. Once you know which room you are going to add wallpaper to it will help get you on the right track for determining the size and scale of the print.

wallpaper in dining room

Visualize It Online

It can be hard to visualize a wallpaper print in your own space when all you can see is a swatch online, but most wallpaper companies give you the option to view in a room or see the full pattern view. What looks nice as a swatch might not look good in an entire room

wallpaper on website

Always try to “view in room” or use “full pattern view” to get a good visual of what the wallpaper looks like in a full space then just a small 10×10 picture on the computer.

wallpaper in bedroom with dresser and chair

Order Wallpaper Samples

Never just find a print you like on line, order it and slap it on the wall. I highly encourage ordering wallpaper samples unless you can see the wallpaper at a decor or paint store. Some paint stores will have wallpaper books that you can look through and maybe borrow a swatch so you can see it in your space. These days it’s harder to do this unless you are working with a designer that has wallpaper books/samples.

Many sites will send you a free sample while others will charge a nominal fee. It’s worth it because what you see on line in someone else’s space or while scrolling through hundreds of prints, is not the same as actually having the piece of paper in your hand and taped on your wall.

samples in hand on table

Wallpaper Mistakes to Avoid

What should you avoid when wallpapering a space? – the statement wall or only adding wallpaper to one side of a room. Wallpaper is best when used in mass and doing an entire room creates impact and a finished look. Add wallpaper above moulding and trim work or all over the walls, but do avoid the statement wall altogether.

Consider doing it on all the walls in the room instead of just one. It has such a finished and designed look that is hard to beat.

samples on wall

How Much Does Wallpaper Cost?

I love a good deal; I mean a really good deal. Flea markets and thrift store sort of deals, but when it comes to wallpaper, I encourage you not to bargain shop. You really do get what you pay for so while I like to save money on dishes and decor; wallpaper is an area that I learned to get the good stuff.

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to buy the $500 a roll stuff, but plan to spend $100+ per roll for the good quality paper. You don’t want to find something that is lacking in quality, take the time to hang it and then it look cheap in the end. Wallpaper can be expensive so chose the rooms and spaces where you want wallpaper that won’t break the bank.

Instead of wallpapering the entire dining room we only added paper above the board and batten but we did all the walls. I plan to add wallpaper to our daughter’s bathroom instead of her entire bedroom. If you want wallpaper but can’t justify the cost for an entire room then do a powder room or a laundry room. That way you get some pattern and color without spending too much!

Where to Buy Wallpaper

The list of where to buy wallpaper is endless and I have an entire post on where to buy wallpaper from big box stores, to top brands and designers to specialty stores. Use this extensive list to get you on your way to finding just the right fit for your space.

collage of wallpaper

Final Thoughts on How to Choose Wallpaper

If you have a space you want to wallpaper, the budget to purchase and have it professionally hung or the fortitude to DIY it then enjoy the journey of adding some personality to your home.

Wallpaper is a great way to set your home apart from everyone else’s and really make it your own.

wallpaper in dining room

How to Chose Wallpaper

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