Now, more than ever, home owners want to create interiors that reflect our personalities, and wallpaper is a great way to showcase your creativity and style.
Twenty years ago, wallpaper was out in the cold, with few of us putting it up in our homes as it was considered outdated. But the unpopularity of wallpaper around that time was also its liberation. No longer influenced by the need to serve a primarily practical purpose – cover the walls of an entire home, paper over the cracks or add insulation – it was freed to be reinvented into an art form.
Wallpaper continues to be in style for 2024, with thousands of stunning designs are available, from neutral textures to jaw-dropping murals. The only aspect they have in common is that they are not boring. So how do you choose what's right for you and your home?
Wallpaper feature walls are the murals of 21st-century interior design and a chance to make a dramatic statement. Full walls uninterrupted by windows are ideal. For best effect, choose a wall that's smack in the middle of your eyeline when you walk into your living room and, if possible, also in full view of your favourite seating spot. Go as bold and transformational as you dare. Keep the other walls simple in a complementary paint colour to showcase the feature area.
Other popular spots for wallpapers are powder rooms, for that luxury boudoir feel, and behind a headboard in a bedroom. Entranceway feature walls are great for setting a mood from the second you and your visitors walk in the door, giving a sense of leaving the outside world and entering a sanctuary.
Consider painted panelling that comes midway up a wall, then wallpapering the top half. This is a great way to show off an intricate pattern further without it being overwhelming.
And don't throw away those leftover wallpaper odds and ends – line the inside of cupboards, wardrobes and the pantry for a fashionable surprise.
Nostalgic retro patterns with a contemporary edge are a popular choice. Think geometric shapes such as half circles or floral and foliage like bamboo, but in modern colourways. It's not all about the past, though. The lush, escapist jungle-like papers that Kiwis have embraced in recent years are still popular, while the industrial patterns that were in before, such as brickwork, are still high on people's wishlists, although the latest colours are trending towards softer, modern tones.
A key consideration is the scale of the pattern. The general rule is that the smaller the room, the smaller the pattern should be, while with larger spaces, you can get away with a bigger pattern.
It's not all about splashy, mural-like prints. Neutral textured aesthetic wallpaper can set a mood of soft, calming warmth and can feel like less of a risk than patterns. Popular textures include the fine-linen look, a hessian weave and plaster effects. Using texture is a great way to warm up a space.
Even a feature wall that's designed to make a splash still needs to be a cohesive part of its environment. You'll want to take everything in the room into account – not just what's on the other walls, but also your furniture, furnishings, cabinetry, floors and art, and even the views from your windows. A busy feature wall can be tricky to fold seamlessly into an existing interiors theme. The best-case scenario is to renovate everything at the same time, but if you're doing things bit by bit, it's a good idea to at least combine wallpapering with a wall repaint, so you can colour match, and also draw the theme and colours into accessories such as cushions and throws.
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