Wallpaper is an interior material that offers a huge scope of design, colour and style. As with anything relating to decor, pattern and print is something to be used carefully and sparingly to have the best effect.

If you’ve fallen in love with a specific designer wallpaper or floral pattern, but don’t know how it will fit into your home, don’t worry. We’ve got some tips and tricks for how to best use patterned wallpaper in your home.

Patterned Wallpaper In Smaller Spaces

With most busy patterns, the issue often arises when it comes to applying the design to smaller spaces. It’s generally understood that smaller spaces can easily and quickly become cramped and claustrophobic with too much pattern, colour or furniture. 

With everything, the phrase less is more applies to pretty much any form of decorating – patterned wallpaper included.

Using wallpaper as a statement wall can work wonderfully. If the space is a bedroom, try hanging wallpaper at where the head of the bed sits. Or if you have one wall that has an alcove or an interesting layout, wallpaper this to let the unique accents of your home shine.

Paint the other walls white or even in an accent colour that sits within the design. Lighter shades tend to open up a smaller room, but darker shades can create a cosy space. Try a style like this Morris & Co Birds & Pomegranate Wallpaper.

a patterned wallpaper by morris and co featuring pomegrantes

Match With Plain Accessories

When decorating a room with patterned wallpaper, it’s best to take into account the whole interior space.

As you are opting for a busy pattern, you should take this as the focus of the room. You don’t want to add in other competing prints and designs. As this will create a lack of cohesion in an interior space.

The wallpaper should act as the starting point and main feature. With all else in the room being built around that. This should be done by taking one or two accent colours from the patterned wallpaper and bringing this into your decor.

With a style like the Morris & Co wallpaper Strawberry Thief, choose red shades for accessories to let the strawberry motif pop, to complement rather than compete with the busy pattern.

Morris & Co strawberry thief patterned wallpaper

Use In Busy Traffic Areas

It might be that smaller spaces or more lived in spaces you’d prefer to have a more minimal feel to it. Rooms that are often busy and already full of life may feel too overwhelmed with the addition of busy patterns and colours.

A great addition to a home is to add patterned wallpaper to a high-traffic area. Hallways, downstairs bathrooms and landing spaces are often interior places that are forgotten about. However, a lot of value can be added – without taking away from the rest of the interior.

Adding a patterned wallpaper to a hallways space can add interest. It can add statement in a room you previously only thought of in practical terms. Also, using a busy pattern in a high-traffic area can help to hide inevitable marks and knocks. Often, much better than a plainly painted wall can.

Our choice? The Orla Kiely Multi Stem wallpaper for a pop-art, vintage feel.

tiny stem Orla Kiely patterned wallpaper

Choose High Shine Or Reflective Styles

If you’re decorating a small space, or a darker space – a patterned wallpaper can work to your advantage.

In a similar way to a mirror, a high-shine wallpaper pattern can help to reflect the light and give the impression of a larger space. The added light can draw the eye to trick you into thinking the room is bigger than it is through elongating it vertically.

Similarly, in dark rooms that don’t get a lot of natural light – reflective wallpaper is a subtle way to lighten a space. In the evening, it will also reflect lamp light to give a warm and cosy glow.

Our favourite? The Lovers Knot wallpaper by Harlequin.

Think Of The Size Of Pattern

Depending on what you want to do with the room, you should always take into account the size of the pattern wallpaper you’ll be using.

If you’re opting for a feature wall, if you use a small pattern on just the one wall – the space will look smaller. This works in large, expansive spaces, but if you’re trying to avoid shrinking an already small space, try to stay away from this method.

Alternatively, use big and oversized prints such as blooming florals or geometric shapes like this Uteki Geometric design by Scion

Applying large patterned wallpaper on a ceiling is an effective way to draw out a room and bring some interest into an interior. Unsure about wallpapered ceilings? Try wallpaper with vertical lines or patterns for an easy way to elongate a room.

Decorate The Wallpaper

People are often cautious about patterned wallpaper in the fear that it will feel a bit too busy. Wallpaper on all walls of a room can feel a bit overwhelming. Especially if the pattern is busy and there is no additional decor on the walls. 

If you break up the design on the wall, it can help to prevent the space becoming overwhelmed. Add simple frames or sculptural art pieces that help to balance out the pattern you’re using.

Go with something that opposes. So if you’re choosing sharp, geometric shapes – opt for art pieces with soft, rounded lines and minimal colour. This is an easy way to add interior style to a room which complements the patterned wallpaper. It means you can add in art beyond simply having the wallpaper design to rely on.


We hope we’ve inspired you to take the plunge and apply some patterned wallpaper to your walls. 

Not sure about how to do it? Check out our guide with tips & tricks on how to apply wallpaper – you’ll be decorating like a professional in no time.