Wallpaper from the 70’s… Some patterns are still bareable, but many have lived their life on the wall to the max.
Recognize any of these patterns from decades past?
As soon as you saw the title of this post on the topic of wallpaper, you might have cringed. But don’t stop reading… please!
For many, the thought of wallpaper might bring you back to your childhood home with the walls covered in bold, intense patterns in hues of pea green and orange. Those
ugly retro patterns adorning not only the walls of each room, but also the curtains, sofas, and more, will forever be engrained in our heads.
After the many years of removing wallpaper from our fixer upper homes to rid the intense, dated look for a more soothing aesthetic, the thought of wallpapering again was far from thought.
I can gladly attest that wallpaper patterns have made a complete 180. And after living with paint for so many years, I new something more on the walls would pull the space together and that missing element was wallpaper. I now have 4 different wallpaper patterns throughout my home and it looks nothing like the overwhelming 70s style.
There is a vast selection of wallpapers available today and honing in on just the right pattern + style can be quite daunting. Once the right one is found, it can completely transform any space from blah to beautiful!
Whether a subtle geometric pattern in a bedroom or a vibrant, modern floral in the bathroom (like my powder room), wallpaper makes an impact!
Let’s dissect + be inspired…
This large scale baby blue wallpaper in a hallway is reminiscent of a damask pattern from the turn of the century. The subtle, but strong paper makes a statement and compliments the height of the space + the detailed architectural mouldings.
I’m not often drawn to coordinating patterns on multiple surfaces, but with this style space it truly works. The pattern of the paper is repeated on the traditional side chair which continues the classic style.
Even though a bit too traditional for my aesthetic, I adore this soothing, yet dramatic space.
Wallpaper shouldn’t overwhelm a room and with an intense pattern, it can easily happen. Drawn to a powerful paper? Use it on a focal wall and choose a complimentary color for the other surfaces in the space.
The gold-looking botanical print in this dining room is intense but is complimented by the other walls being painted a shade of chocolate. Not only does the deep warm hue evoke a warm feeling, it’s also contrasted by lots of white – the door, mouldings, chandelier, display shelf, and the chairs.
It’s all about contrast…
Wallpaper in a hallway or transition space is a great ‘neutral’ between rooms to create a cohesive thread. You can never go wrong with a modern geometric pattern to tie spaces together. This modern wallpaper in a kelly green hue is detailed, yet simple in a bold way. It’s the perfect compliment to the oversized flower print in the bedroom beyond.
And I can not move on without commenting on those adorable framed toddler-sized swimsuits. What a playful + unexpected addition to a 2nd floor hallway.
Smaller scale patterns are perfect in smaller spaces. Not only will the proportion of the design feel more suited for the scale of the space, the repeat of the paper will be more visible.
This entry is such a sunny space!
The modern floral pattern makes such a statement in this entry and works so well with the colorful elements that are layered atop. The organic patterned paper is also offset by pieces that have interesting architectural lines seen in the mirror and console table.
Similar to using a dark paint in a small room, many people are reluctant to use wallpaper, thinking that it will make the space feel smaller. Just a myth! If you have a small space, such as a powder room, foyer, or office, adding wallpaper will make it dramatic and unique, similar to this modern floral design I used in my powder room.
Instead of overwhelming the 4 walls of this small space, I wallpapered the main wall (sink wall) only and painted the other 3 walls using a complimentary paint that I matched to the background color of the wallpaper. All the other elements in the space – vanity, toilet, roman shade, light – are white, which give the perfect contrast to the dark + bold walls.
This is another example of using a bold wallpaper in a small area to make a big impact look. This watercolor floral pattern creates a beautiful focal point for this office nook.
It would look nice with a contrasting paint color in the nook, but it truly makes a statement with the addition of the wallpaper.
Small commitment, but a big look!
Wallpaper doesn’t always need to be bold + dramatic. Soft and subtle on one or all walls of a space can create an engaging, unique aesthetic. This modern, geometric pattern is a lovely addition to this bedroom filled with grays and shades of lavendar.
Go big or Go Home! This vibrant orange wallpaper with a bird + cloud design makes a big statement on this focal wall. A paper like this isn’t for an entire room but instead ideal for an accent wall or a ceiling, with whites + neutral layers and accents.
This breakfast area works so well because the paper has ‘it’s moment’, which is complimented by the white layers + minimal, simple furniture.
Decades ago when rooms were wallpapered, there often was no order or level of importance to the elements in the room. An intense wallpaper adorned the walls, but an equally dramatic sofa, chair, rug, bookcase made the space overwhelming, stuffy, and just too much! There was no statement. No heirarchy. No ONE ELEMENT to rest the eye on.
Wallpaper can be a lot and if a dramatic, bold paper is the right choose for you, it will only work when all other elements are minimal and quiet. This bathroom is a perfect example… The traditional patterned paper in a deep raspberry hue is bold, but it works well because all the other elements are minimal and plain jane.
Once again, it comes down to contrast. For this space, it’s contrasting the intense wallpaper with the minimal layers.
With all that inspiration, are you looking to wallpaper a spot or entire room in your home? Not sure where to start looking for the right wallpaper to fit your style?
Here are 15 favorite sources for wallpaper…
Interested in seeing where I’ve incorporated wallpaper into my home?
Check out my pad…
Dining Room / Kitchen – Anthropologie wallpaper
2nd floor bathroom – Serena & Lily wallpaper
Powder Room – Amy Butler wallpaper
Boys Bedroom – Graham and Brown ‘Frames’ wallpaper
I’m on the hunt for the next wall or room to wallpaper.
Are you ready to start wallpapering?