Wallpaper has come a long way. For many of us, the pattern paper brings to mind afternoons with Grandma, but its history dates back much further than the shabby-chic interiors of relatives.
Emerging from China in 105 BC, the earliest forms of wallpaper were hand-painted prints and stories on walls. We haven’t stopped decorating our walls since!
While wallpapering as a practice still remains, the styles have certainly changed — there’s truly an option for every style and taste out there, whether you’re seeking something modern and abstract, something classic and floral (with a hint of grandmillennial), or pretty much anything in between. Below, we’ve rounded up a few designer-approved wallpapers we’re anything but torn up about.
Incorporating a subtle yet engaging abstract wallpaper into your home can add some visual interest to a room without making the design feel too busy. The natural flow and lines of abstract design can even add some feeling of calm to a room. Less rigid designs can help free up your space, creating some fluidity and fun in a room.
A chic and minimal design, like this metallic dot overlay, can even modernize an otherwise dated space — we love how the dots catch the light, too.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. “Floral wallpaper has always been around, but it’s currently having a moment in part because of the resurgence of maximalism and the style dubbed ‘grandmillennial,’” explains Havenly designer Vivian Torres.
But the latest reimaging of floral wallpaper comes with a twist. Unlike just the small, intricately printed floral wallpaper of yore, you’ll find a world of size, dimension, and complexity. Go with a grand oversized floral print, or opt for an old-school smaller-scale pattern with vintage appeal.
The benefit of flower wallpaper is its versatility, Vivian says. It fits in with traditional or modern decor, no matter the room.
Another classic making a comeback is toile. Originating in France, these traditional prints can be found on anything from linens to plates and wallpaper.
While toile still evokes a sense of farmhouse cool, the style has grown up a bit. “Toile has been reimagined recently in that it’s being printed to depict various landscapes and cultures, not just the traditional French farm life,” Vivian explains. (This pared-back, graphic toile from Serena & Lily is a perfect example.)
Toile’s updated look brings a fresh perspective to a traditional design. Use the trend in a bathroom or closet for a fun point of interest in the space.
Incorporating a textured wallpaper can be a great option if you want to create dimension in a space without adding prints or colors.
Choosing a natural-feeling texture, like grasscloth or burlap, immediately helps create a natural feeling in the room, and the depth on the walls can make a space look even bigger. (We also like this option from Anthropologie.)
If you want to take your textured wallpaper to the next level, you can try a print that also incorporates texture — an abstract, textured print can make a room feel more complex and dynamic. When you can reach out and “feel” the wall, you might feel more engaged with your day-to-day space, too.
If you want to elevate a room’s design without a renovation, Vivian recommends trying a bold, animal wallpaper. “They’re an especially great option for nurseries or powder rooms,” she says.
An animal wallpaper (not to be confused with animal-print wallpaper) can feel whimsical without seeming too youthful. Try a complex design with a neutral palette to elevate the print from childlike to chic.
Or, create a small moment of delight in the guest powder room. Draw visitors’ eyes to woodland animal designs to make a small half-bath feel explorable instead of small or cramped. It’s a fun, unexpected moment of design that transforms a room on its own.
Paging all you commitment-phobes out there: there’s even wallpaper for you. Applying traditional wallpaper is permanent, and uses a paste to adhere to the wall. If you want to remove wallpaper, you’ll have to steam or scrape it off.
Luckily, we now live in a world with removable wallpaper. Hanging removable wallpaper (also known as peel and stick wallpaper) is easier than the traditional sheets, and taking it off requires a lot less elbow grease. You don’t even have to skimp on bold design or variety; there’s still a ton to choose from.
Whether you want to blanket a room in style or just accent a wall, wallpaper’s newest trends can suit any decor, instantly refreshing your space.
Want a designer’s stamp of approval before wallpapering? Take Havenly’s design quiz to get started.