How to Shop for Your Living Room Wallpaper

How to Shop for Your Living Room Wallpaper

Do you need help with living room wallpaper ideas and shopping tips to liven up your home? Wallpaper has revived itself as a rising decorating trend, and for good reason. It can add depth, emotion, and texture to just about any space.

Choosing the right wallpaper is the most important step in nailing a home remodeling project. Your walls serve as the foundation for the decor you use everywhere else in a room, so it’s important that you do your due diligence and consider your options carefully.

Those options include a series of tips and suggestions you should become familiar with before you purchase wallpaper. When shopping for your living room wallpaper, you’ll want to:

  • Stick with similar tones.
  • Coordinate with other textures and materials.
  • Start small and scaling.
  • Think of it as an art piece.
  • Play with mid-century patterns.
  • Frame the fireplace.
  • Update an old classic.

As long as you follow those tips, you’ll turn your living room from a mundane part of the house to an inviting, attractive space in which people will love spending time.

Stick with Similar Tones

In relation to decor, “tone” refers to the lightness or darkness of an object or color. All colors have tone, which is affected by the value (the amount of white or black it contains) and intensity or saturation (the amount of color it contains. For our purposes here, tone refers to how light or dark wallpaper is.

Light Green Wallpaper

Tone is one of the most powerful elements of design. Darker tones elicit different auras or vibes in a room than lighter tones do. If you’re still warming up to the idea of using living room wallpaper, you may want to start your search with a selection of neutral wallpapers in subtle tones. They will add texture and depth to your living room while keeping the space lively and spacious.

Deeper tones can change more than just the color of a living room; the deeper the tone, the less light is reflected, making the wallpaper (and your walls) seem closer than they really are. In contrast, lighter tones allow more light reflection, making rooms appear larger and more open.

Decide which you want for your living room. Do you want to bring the room in with dark tones, making it feel cozier and inviting, or do you want to use light tones to make your living room seem more open and airy?

Either way, stick with similar tones for your walls. Consider adding tonal wallpaper to walls that sit beside other painted walls. This will stop even the busiest of prints from overpowering a room.

Choose wallpaper that features different shades of the same color to create a uniform yet interesting space. It’s a great idea to balance neutral-colored furnishings and accessories with colorful tonal wallpaper. Pick out different tones from your wallpaper and echo them in your soft furnishings, like accent pillows and throw blankets.

Coordinate with Other Textures and Materials

When shopping for different wallpaper options, always consider paper in relation to the mood you want to create and the other materials in the room. Wallpaper can add to the ambiance when you coordinate it with your accessories, furniture, and wall decor.

Using a print of anything from brick to cork to burlap can add dimension to a living room with complementary textures and materials. Some other popular textures include sequins and soft sparkles, stone-like textures, and linen.

Another great thing about adding texture to your walls and coordinating with accessories is attraction. Textured walls and accessories draw eyes away from any imperfections in the room or on the walls themselves. Even faux textures distract attention from any blemishes that may be present.

Using textured wallpaper is a creative way to add depth and intrigue to your living room. You don’t have to paper the entire room to make a statement, either. Make sure to pick out some of the tones from your wallpaper and add accents and accessories in those tones for a harmoniously chic look and feel.

Start Small and Scaling

Here, starting small and scaling refers to the pattern in your wallpaper. A large printed pattern appears busy, even at a distance (which is not necessarily bad). However, a living room wallpaper with a small pattern can add visual interest up close, and from far away, will look subtle and almost solid.

This makes small prints ideal for people who are still warming up to the idea of using living room wallpaper. Small-scaled prints are ideal for small spaces, older homes, and homes with traditional architectural details.

Arrow Weave Charcoal Wallpaper

This season, many popular prints include small-scale versions of traditional motifs, like small floral prints and petite geometric designs. You can also start small in terms of color, not just print. For example, choose a living room wallpaper print that only has one or two similar colors in its design. These beautiful prints look muted and soft and add interest without too much fuss.

A great small pattern that works well in almost any living room is a pattern that features stripes in varying widths. Vertical striped wallpaper gives a bright, tailored look that isn’t overly masculine or feminine. Add pillows to chairs that are bright in color to provide a pleasant contrast. Even a small-scale print can add drama that can tie a room together perfectly.

Think of It as an Art Piece

Shifting gears a little bit and moving away from the small print is going for larger patterns or even mural paper. The idea is to create a one-of-a-kind look with living room wallpaper that is custom, creative, and colorful. Treat your wall as if it were a blank canvas, and shop for wallpaper as if you were shopping for a piece of art.

Go bigger, go bolder, and go for something unique and modern. If starting small isn’t a direction you’re looking to go, then head straight for making a statement with your wall. Take pride in the design aspect of your project, and let your creative energy flow.

Use bold, striking wallpaper on one accent wall, and paint the other walls in a color that doesn’t take focus away from it. Another artistic idea to consider is to use eye-catching living room wallpaper above chair rails only for a creative, custom look in your living room.

A popular trend catching on quickly is framing pieces of wallpaper in various sizes of frames and hanging them on solid-colored walls. This brings the idea of “wall art” to a whole new level. Choose wallpaper that reflects your personality while setting the mood you want.

Why put living room wallpaper on the backside of living room shelves to add depth to your space? It can elevate the shelving already there, adding drama while generating interest in a shelf space that would otherwise not stand out as artwork should.

This creative idea works with any wallpaper design, from faux brick to geometric shapes to floral patterns and landscape scenes. You might also consider taking it a step further and creating a decorative backdrop, not only wallpapering the back of the shelves but continuing through to wallpaper the entire wall the bookshelves are on.

Play with Mid-Century Patterns

Have you considered the possibility of adding some retro fun into your living room with mid-century or retro wallpaper? One of the best features of mid-century patterns is that they will also stand the test of time even though they are trendy. From colorful geometric shapes and trippy patterns to soft floral designs and bold curves, mid-century wallpaper is available in hundreds of options these days.

Quartz Yellow

One of the most distinct characteristics of mid-century style is the interesting combinations of patterns and designs that were all the rave decades ago. For example, at no other time has geometric, contemporary lines and shapes been used to create botanical prints with geometric flowers so successfully.

Art that was almost一but not quite一abstract breathed new life into the “same old floral wallpaper” or “the usual shapes and scenes.” Colors can be neutral or bold, with large or small print. Either way, retro-style wallpaper is always eye-catching.

If you want to use retro wallpaper and are looking for a calmer ambiance, consider using any print you love on just one wall instead of all of them. Floral and botanical prints are always retro and always in vogue. Popular themes and ideas for retro floral wallpaper include delicate blue and blush flowers, herbs, and foliage that either look real or very stylized and giant palm leaves.

Retro wallpaper that features geometric shapes remains a solid win for living room wallpaper. The clever feature of wallpaper that uses these shapes is brilliantly simple: continuous repetition.

With retro wallpaper like this, there is not only a pattern but a system. Shapes are not “splattered randomly” or repeated just every so often. Retro geometric wallpaper features shapes organized for a brilliant, non-stop effect. Today’s retro-style wallpaper for living rooms offers a fresh take on geometric classics.

Why not rewind and extend the fun from the walls to the floor with mid-century or retro furniture, too? Retro furniture reflects the same principles as the wallpaper: clean lines, eye-catching color schemes, and simple presentation. Be sure to choose period-style pieces in a complementary color.

Go for chairs in a bold contrasting color or accessories that strike a harmonic chord with your wallpaper. Retro furnishings are relatively simple, streamlined, and solid in color.

Frame the Fireplace

Fireplaces have always served as a focal point, not just for the rooms in which they were built but also for the entire home. If you have a fireplace, you can strategically incorporate it into your design project. Don’t underestimate the power of wallpaper to show off your fireplace. The right wallpaper choices will turn any room into a spectacular treat for all who enter.

Many people have fallen in love with having wallpaper on either side of a fireplace. Flanking the fireplace confirms it as the work of art in a room. When you paper each wall on the sides, leaving the chimney unpapered, the entire fireplace just begs to be noticed.

Navy Leaf Wallpaper

What to do with that chimney, then? Add a paint color to tie your entire room together. Choose a paint that complements the paper to create a unique, personalized, and vibrant space. You can choose to paint the chimney with the same color as the wallpaper background, or for a maximum wow factor, choose a paint color that matches another color in the wallpaper.

For example, if you have blush wallpaper with silver damask shapes, you can create a subdued look with matching blush paint for the chimney. Tone it down further with appropriate surrounding furniture to avoid distracting the eye from the room’s look as a whole.

Alternatively, you can play it up and make that fireplace area pop with the silver shade of the damask shapes for the chimney paint, drawing attention to the entire wall (fireplace included) as one great work of art.

Applying wallpaper to the chimney-adjacent walls lends you the chance to go bold with your wallpaper while keeping the fireplace and chimney more calm, neutral, or monotone. A fashionable neutral design on the walls can also give you the freedom to go bold with paint color for the chimney, too.

You might also consider keeping the wallpaper confined to panels around the fireplace. This is a popular option for those who want to wallpaper a living room with a fireplace without making it look overly busy.

Update an Old Classic

One of the best features of anything labeled as “classic” is that it can be reworked, redrawn, and reused a thousand different ways without losing its flair. Such is the case with old classic wallpaper patterns that have been continuously updated through the years.

Consider floral wallpaper, for example. Flowers on the wall is a look that has been recycled decade after decade but continues to remain wildly popular. For several years, the early 1900s saw big, lavish, bold floral prints spring up from house to house.

This was followed by the redrawn contemporary flowers that repeated continuously in various color schemes in mid-century wallpapers. Enter the late 20th century, when floral print was smaller, dainty, and more petite, without losing its ability to transform a room.

Today, floral patterns follow one rule: anything goes. The more you can capture your personal style in wallpaper for your living room, the better. Geometric shapes are also a classic design that continues to pop up in wallpaper in new ways.

Whether it’s with small, randomly placed triangles and circles in a classic retro look or large hexagons with random botanical scenes within each one, the possibilities are endless when you update the old classic geometric shapes.

Regardless of which updated classic patterns and designs you choose, make sure that you pick out colors from your wallpaper and use them as inspiration to continue the look to your furnishings and accessories.

Don’t Dismiss the Spectrum of Options

When shopping for living room wallpaper, It’s important that you don’t ignore certain styles, colors, or patterns that you think you wouldn’t be interested in. If you’re not a fan of the color green, you might be pleasantly surprised at how many fantastic options are available with wallpaper that features green, for example.

If you limit your options before ever investigating them, you’ll cheat yourself out of the full array of opportunities that wallpaper affords. You don’t have to go over the top and add standout patterns and prints to make a statement with wallpaper, either; you can add simple depth to a color scheme without overpowering your room.

Purple Wallpaper

If you choose a busy wallpaper, keep furniture neutral in color for balance and to keep the wallpaper from toppling the rest of the room. It doesn’t have to be bright white, either, although bright white always makes a striking contrast. Similarly, whenever using wallpaper of any print, keep window treatments simple and plain to keep the walls the star feature.

Use eye-catching wallpaper to unify different zones of a room in an open-concept planned space. For example, you can visually draw two separate seating areas together by using a print that runs the entire circumference of a room. If you’re worried about it looking too busy and overpowering, paper from a chair rail up to the ceiling, leaving under the chair rail painted a solid color.

Living room wallpaper will add interest to your use of color and will keep your living room from feeling flat without distracting from that use of color. One of the most important tips to keep in mind when redecorating a room with wallpaper is no matter what print, colors, and walls are chosen for your remodel, make sure that you pick out some colors from your wallpaper and echo them in your accessories and soft furnishings, including window treatments, pillows, throws, and floor rugs.

Don’t be overly stressed with trying to be perfectly professional when choosing living room wallpaper, especially if you are just starting to warm up to the idea of using it. Keep in mind that the whole point of your remodeling project is to convey your personality, your style, and your ideas onto your walls.  


Arthouse is the home of inspiration and we’re as passionate about design now, as we were when we started out twenty years ago. Drawing on the latest trends, our team of in-house designers are constantly creating new wallcoverings to add to our collection – including contemporary must-haves, classics with a twist, designs that fuel imaginations and distinctive looks for wow-factor rooms.


Sign up for our monthly newsletter to keep up to date with Arthouse!



Arthouse is the home of inspiration and we’re as passionate about design now, as we were when we started out twenty years ago. Drawing on the latest trends, our team of in-house designers are constantly creating new wallcoverings to add to our collection – including contemporary must-haves, classics with a twist, designs that fuel imaginations and distinctive looks for wow-factor rooms.


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