Design Dilemma: Making Wallpaper Cool | Home Design Find

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Design Dilemma: Making Wallpaper Cool

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Is wallpaper always an interior design horror? It seems like we’ve all inherited someone else’s bronzed floral catastrophe, at one time or another. But not all wallpaper is horrendous. The real problem: wall paper is personal. You can change the color and pattern of your clothes depending on your mood. But wallpaper, which is mood and style dependent, isn’t so easy to change.  So if you’re eager to use wallpaper, how can you do so without regrets?

  • Use it in small doses. Wallpaper packs a lot of punch. There’s no need to paper an entire room. For maximum impact that does not go overboard, all you need to do is pick out a small wall or architectural detail you’d like to highlight.

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In the photo above, one small slice of wall is all that is needed to provide the room with texture and interest. Below, only one wall is papered with Cole and Son’s birch tree wallpaper which provides a focal point without going too far. Makes it a whole lot easier when you’re ready to take down the wallpaper, too!

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  • Go funky and bold. Some of the best wallpaper we’ve seen exploits potential kitsch possibilities. This means embracing patterns that are bold and striking, and playing that up. Delicate little patterns that fade into the background don’t seem fresh or current, but are great if you’re looking for a vintage vibe.
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  • Choose wallpaper that echoes building materials. Wallpaper that looks like wood, like that by Piet Hein Eek, below, can serve as a neutral working with a wide variety of decorating styles, from modern to shabby chic.

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There are many versions of this wallpaper for every interior, check out: Below, we have concrete, which accomplishes the same feat.  The paper below was photographed by Norwegian photographer Tom Haga, and printed on vinyl. It is available through Concretewall.

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A number of manufacturers also carry brick wallpaper, in countless renditions. Below, the brick is whitewashed and distressed for even more pattern and texture.

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  • Don’t do the matching wallpaper thing. In the old days, designers liked to match the wallpaper to curtains, bedspread and upholstery. Well, that’s kind of old hat. Today, people who use wallpaper like to mix it up with other patterns for something fresher and more unexpected.

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Above, a brown patterned wallpaper is contrasted by an orange and white patterned chair, an orange and white patterned lamp, solid shades and a brown and white cowhide rug.


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