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What to consider when choosing wallpaper for a small room


When designing any room, your choice of wallpaper can make or break your final look. You may have a love of big stripes or are more inclined to classic floral designs.  Whatever you love, it is an essential design choice. The walls are a large space and can dominate the eye.  The impact of wallpaper on a small room can be a make or break detail.  You can help to create space and a strong sense of mood, or you can shroud your stylish chairs and feature sideboard in colour and pattern.

Here we offer a guide in the best wallpaper for small rooms.

Creating space

Your choice of wallpaper depends on whether you want to create a sense of space or whether you want to maximise the cosiness of a room.  Wallpapers for small bedrooms are sometimes better for making the area inviting.  For instance, you might opt for country-styled wallpaper under the eaves of an attic room to make it more inviting.  Alternatively, you might want to add some pizzazz on the far walls, accentuating the length of the room.  A plain painted wall is essential in such a small space.  You should ensure that the wall with the apex of the roof is plain, so the eyes are drawn upwards.

If you do have a small bedroom space in the roof, you should avoid darker colours or large-scale patterns, which will shrink the area even more.

Straight lines work

If you need to add height to a small room, then using vertical stripes can do a lot to add a perception of upward space.  If your room is boxier, then you can use horizontal lines to make it seem more contemporary and extend the eye along the wall.  The stripe can help the room appear wider.

If you are smart, you can design your stripes so that for some of the time they are vertical, and at other heights of the wall, they are horizontal.  Imagine running strips horizontally along the base of the room and then vertically from a third of the way up.  The stripes of the wallpaper will not dominate and become garish.

You can make your use of wallpaper even more productive by straightening the walls.  Some older houses have uneven walls, which adds character but also reduces space.  You can use wallpaper right up to the ceiling and around door frames.  This wallpaper will disguise the imperfections in the room and give a unifying feel to the design.  If you use a floral design or some that pleasantly repeats, rather than big stripes here, you will turn the walls into an unobtrusive background.  Anything that takes attention away from the walls will distract from the unevenness.

Wallpaper everything

In a small room or hallway area, you can create space by wallpapering the walls, the front of cupboards, and even using the same pattern on blinds.  The unity of design will increase the space because other colours, fabrics and textures do not break areas.  You could be really ambitious if you felt brave and create a jewel box design by applying wallpaper to the ceilings as well as the walls.

You can make this design bold and save money by using wider width wallpapers.  Not only does this offer value for money, but the patterns tend to be much more dramatic.  If you are going to make a bold design choice, such as wallpapering everything, you should probably go big or go home.

Big personality for small rooms

Patterns can be the best friend of a small space.  Sometimes it is better to be bold and add tremendous character rather than trying to disguise the lack of square footage with mooted colours.  Although patterns can make a small room feel even smaller if executed well, the lack of space becomes irrelevant.  For instance, some experts suggest that using patterns on only one wall or smaller designs will do nothing other than shrink the area.  Patterns on all but one wall and making those patterns large will make the emotional reaction to the wallpaper the talking point and not the size.

This is a different mindset to design.  You are looking to see the small room as an opportunity and not something to disguise.  As the place is contained, you can go wild with colour and pattern.  The only real rule is to make the pattern cohesive and not chopping and changing too much.

Anna Sharples

Office and marketing manager for Sloane & Sons Stylish Chairs, who sell a range of high-quality tub chairs, accent chairs and more.


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