Best Wallpaper Patterns For Small Rooms

Bright, bold patterns enliven small spaces.
Best Wallpaper Patterns For Small Rooms
Tom Greenspan
December 21, 2022

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With so many options, from patterns to beautiful floral images on the wallpaper, which should you choose to decorate a small room? Should you use wallpaper with significant, bold patterns, geometrical patterns, plain stripes, or a smaller busy pattern that should make matching the repeating pattern easier?

There are so many questions for the uninitiated wallpaper hanger it makes choosing wallpaper as a decorating medium a minefield, and that's before you even attempt to hang the wallpaper!

This article will address many of the sticky, frequently asked questions regarding wallpaper selection, from do you need to use lining paper before you hang wallpaper through to the best wallpaper to use in a small room that will give you the best visual impact.

Let's dive in and learn how you can get the most bang for your buck and more such as

  • Where to start wallpapering.
  • Border control.
  • Blue ridge mountains.
  • Mix and match.

What type of wallpaper pattern makes a room look bigger?

Bigger patterns on wallpaper will make a small room look larger; more extensive patterns or images on wallpaper draw your eyes upwards, giving the illusion the room is more significant than its dimensions.

If you wish to make your room look wider with more depth, then horizontal stripes will provide this illusion. Similarly, vertical stripes will make the room's ceiling look higher.

If you can find a wallpaper that has a pattern similar to marble, it will make the room feel bigger. There are many visual tricks to make a small room look incredible without focusing on the room's dimensions.

Here are a few tips to help you make a decision:

  • You don't have to use a patterned wallpaper to create a fantastic room, plain wallpaper gives a different feel to a room than just a painted surface, and wallpaper seems to stay cleaner looking for longer periods than painted walls.
  • Worried about matching the pattern? Your retailer should be able to tell you how many rolls of wallpaper you need for a given area, so you don't run out of wallpaper. If matching wallpaper patterns is a significant concern, try using free match paper. No need to match a pattern; just hang and enjoy.
  • Should you paper over cracks? Nope, don't do it; it will show through the wallpaper; if you need to remove multiple layers of the previous paper, use this tip, add fabric softener to your water, spray and soak for 15 minutes, and the paper will peel right off. Prep the walls perfect for the best results.
  • Should you use lining paper before hanging your patterned wallpaper? The expert says yes. If your walls are not perfectly flat, then hang lining paper. You must hang the paper horizontally and let it dry before papering it with the finished wallpaper.

Where do you start hanging wallpaper?

There is a set formula for various room types that will make your wallpaper joints appear to be seamless. As shown below:

Select the image that best represents the room you will be wallpapering and proceed accordingly for the best visual results.

Let's get into it.

1. Peony power

One of the most popular choices for wallpaper for a small room is the floral wallpaper. This Peony wallpaper creates an image of being in the streets of Verona with its pale colors that age the wallpaper perfectly to create this alfresco feeling.

It is hardly surprising that floral wallpaper is so popular and has had a renaissance in the 21st century. It lost its formidable appearance in the 80s to the ubiquitous painted walls that dominate the home decor.

It's a great pity that wallpaper fell from grace for no good reason, if for nothing more than the reason that the skills for hanging wallpaper were lost simultaneously.

Floral wallpaper brings your garden inside your home in spectacular fashion and with astonishing beauty as it adds personality and depth to a small room.

How to create this look?

There are many peony wallpaper designs available, some with super vivid colors to the muted tones of the peony colors in the image. Either will look fabulous in any room of the home (maybe not the kitchen).

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most complex level to accomplish, this wallpaper is a 6.

Despite the remarkable visual effect of the wallpaper, larger images are easy to match, mainly due to the scale of the image or patterns. However, buy enough wallpaper to allow for matching patterns. If you need to go back and order the same paper, you will not be guaranteed an exact color match!

2. Mix and match

Think about the design and what you would like to achieve in a room. If it's to make the room appear bigger, then go with a larger print design. Smaller designs can be overwhelming and somewhat mesmerizing.

No rules prevent you from breaking the wallpaper pattern on a single wall, and a feature such as a fireplace is the ideal breaking point to introduce a complimentary wallpaper to add character and depth to the room.

Use wallpaper for texture plus its glorious patterns and prints, adding a layer of warmth to the room.

Clearly, certain wallpapers are not suitable for some homes, so select your wallpaper to reflect your taste. A bright yellow busy pattern in this room would spoil the aesthetics.

How to create this look?

It's a decision to be made at the time you buy your wallpaper so you can make color matches in-store or online. Breaking a pattern is a great idea and adds interest to the wall, but use the wallpaper with the least pattern for the accent wall, such as, in this case, the chimney breast.

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most complex level to accomplish, this wallpaper is a 5.

Assuming the walls of the chimney breast are plumb, this is an easy process to complete. If the entry door to the room is opposite the chimney breast, you may need to paper the accent first for the best continuity and visual experience.

3. Classic Stripes

If you have a low ceiling that you may feel is oppressive, try adding vertice stripes to give the illusion of a higher ceiling. It is a tried and tested design hack that works well in small rooms.

Adding striped wallpaper may seem like a terrible faux pas in terms of decorating, but it is a classy look that is easy to attain. Striped wallpaper has been around for a long time and is used to great effect in commercial establishments like hotels to bring a feeling of class and elegance to what could have been a dull room.

If you wish your room to feel broader or longer, just rotate the stripes ninety degrees and hang the wallpaper horizontally. It's more of a job and takes more patients, but you can achieve the illusion of a larger room by using this hack from the best cheats interior design book.

Selecting a neutral color stripe will keep the room a sanctuary for relaxing.

How to create this look?

You will love this wallpaper, particularly if you are an amateur wallpaper hanger. It is a free match meaning there is no matching required. It's a massive bonus for the inexperienced wallpaper decorator.

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most complex level to accomplish, this wallpaper is a 4.

Using this type of paper for the novice is the best thing you can do; it's an easy introduction to wallpaper hanging skills. Plus, it's an elegant look, and your friends and family will be amazed at what you have achieved.

4. Grasscloth wallpaper

Wallpaper can bring a lot of different elements to your room, such as texture and color. The depth that paint cannot achieve and a wonderful ambiance. So, if patterns and prints are not your ideas for great decor, then you have wonderful options from a range of wallpapers, such as this Grasscloth wallpaper. It has an intense texture and gorgeous color that, when pasted to your walls, will make your room feel rich and elegant with a contemporary twist.

The wallpaper of your grandparents was a different proposition, and they were to add color to walls and trending patterns that were only available back in the heady days of the late 70s and early 80s. The good old days are gone, and the wallpaper has changed for the better.

There are techniques for hanging heavier wallpapers, ensure you are up to speed with how it is done; this wallpaper is not cheap, and messing it up would be sacrilege.

How to achieve the look of this wallpaper on your walls?

When hanging any wallpaper, you are advised to size the walls. The modern way of sizing is to prepare a runny mix of paste, roll the wall area and brush in around the edges. You'll see the filler darken when you apply the paste. This is a good sign because the filler is absorbing the paste now and won't be able to suck the paste off the back of the wallpaper later.

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most complex level to accomplish, this wallpaper is a 5.

Sizing walls will give a shimmy surface to the wall when the size has dried, and this will prevent the wall from absorbing the paste from the paper, rendering its adherence to the wall compromised. The size will also aid in moving the paper when applied to the wall.

5. Blue ridge mountains

Create a room that is the envy of your guests. Using a mural is a wonderful idea, and you can find murals that will fit the ambiance of your room or, moreover, create the ambiance of your room.

Yes, it's wallpaper. You buy it in rolls like any wallpaper and apply it to the wall. Obviously, you will need to be meticulous with matching the images, but when done, you can sit back and enjoy the view of the morning mist over the blue ridge mountains.

There are many scenes to be chosen, from ocean views to castles. Furthermore, it is a terrific way of drawing you into a scene and distracting you from the room's dimensions.

How to create this look?

You select the scene that resonates the most with you and then wallpaper the wall accurately matching the pattern to create an uninterrupted scene. 

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most complex level to accomplish, this wallpaper is a 7.

It will be harder to match; the details are smaller, but with patience, it is a great look to achieve, and there should only be a couple of rolls of paper to hang on the average wall.

6. Border control

If you are anxious about wallpapering a whole wall or even a whole room, then take some easy steps to wallpaper your borders. A line of wallpaper controlling the effect of your borders is a fantastic way of dipping your toes in the water of wallpaper to see if it is for you or not.

You can create classic looks or contemporary designs, it's a personal choice, but it will give you a representation of what it feels like to take a room in its entirety. So many of the fundamentals are the same regardless of the size of the wallpapering job.

How to create this look?

You can select a border above a picture rail as in the image or above a dado rail, or create a dado from the border paper. 

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most complex level to accomplish, this wallpaper is a 5.

It's about accurate measurement if you have a laser ping a line for your levels before starting.

Final thoughts

The resurgence of wallpaper as a decorative media has introduced some truly incredible designs for your home. Murals are awe-inspiring in the right room and create an ambiance all of their own. 

Patterned wallpapers are gloriously rich and elegant, transforming any room into a room with a sublime appeal.

You could become a wallpaper master in no time with a bit of practice.