Looking to add something a little more interesting to your kitchen design? Wallpaper may not be everyone’s first port of call, but with such a wide array of designs available it could be just the ticket to sprucing up your space.
In fact, with cabinetry taking up much of your walls, the kitchen can be a good opportunity to introduce colour and pattern into your home without having to invest in large quantities of rolls, and wallpaper is an easy element to replace as and when you need to.
For a warm and welcoming scheme, country style wallpapers featuring delicate florals and nods to nature are the ones you’ll want to look out for.
Neutral and earthy tones suit large wall areas in rustic kitchen schemes, though brighter, bolder hues can add a contemporary edge and work well as a feature wall. Here’s our favourite country wallpaper ideas for kitchens.
1. Play with an intricate but neutral pattern
An intricate pattern can add character to a kitchen wall, and the natural tone featured here prevents the wallpaper from overwhelming the space while complementing the rustic floorboards and cabinetry.
Photography / Melsetter collection, Morris & Co
2. Channel the wildlife
Images of nature and birdlife instantly evoke a sense of the countryside, which is why they are so popular in country style wallpaper patterns. Check the pattern repeat before your buy, to minimise wastage when lining rolls up.
For example, this particular design by Farrow & Ball has a pattern repeat every 61cm (or 24 inches). Fortunately, many wallpaper websites have specially designed calculators to help you work this out, or they also have in house experts on hand to advise.
Photography / Farrow & Ball
3. Head for the coast
‘Neutral colours have often featured in kitchens,’ says Fiona Howard, British textile designer. ‘However, a wall in a tomato orange, a leaf green or a pretty sky blue can lift the mood and character of the kitchen,’ she adds.
Fiona Howard’s Harbour wallpaper comes in three colourways to suit different schemes - including this classic combination of blue and white.
Better yet, all of her wallpapers are designed by hand and printed in the UK on FSC papers using environmentally friendly inks, and for every roll of wallpaper sold a tree is planted in conjunction with One Tree Planted.
Photography / Fiona Howard
4. Go back to nature
Many traditional fabric patterns have been redesigned to work for wallpapers too, so it is easier than ever to achieve a classic look.
This whimsical Baroque design from Little Greene’s was uncovered by the National Trust, hiding beneath wall-hung tapestries at Erddig in Wales, United Kingdom. It has now been reimagined into a classic-contemporary wallpaper design.
Photography / Little Greene
5. Be bold
If you want to make a real impact in your country kitchen, why not wallpaper a whole wall in a bold pattern? This design idea can help brighten up a cosy nook or small dining area in a corner. Just be sure to use colours featured elsewhere in the space for a cohesive look, rather than a clashing one.
Photography / Mindthegap
6. Look on the bright side
Fresh and fruity tones can brighten up even the darkest of kitchens – just be sure to choose a wallpaper with a wipe-down finish, or ask your decorator to apply Decorators Varnish for added protection.
Most brands will highlight if their designs are suitable for use in a kitchen, so keep a look out for phrases such as ‘wipe down’, ‘washable’, and ‘scrubbable’ in your search.
Photography / Pearl Lowe collection, Woodchip & Magnolia
7. Try a ditsy print
A mini or ditsy print will always create a feminine and country feel, especially a floral design.
It is best to avoid applying wallpaper directly behind a hob or a kettle, otherwise you may run the risk of it peeling prematurely. But to create a quaint and quintessential country kitchen, place your wallpaper behind shelves, or line the back of dressers.
‘A line of herbs looks wonderful placed in front of wallpaper, and I think pictures always look more interesting hung on wallpaper too,’ says British textile designer Fiona Howard.
Photography / Sandberg
8. Treat wallpaper as art
Who needs artwork with a wallpaper pattern like this? The large format design echoes the look of a gallery wall in this particular kitchen, and the tree design brings a sense of the outdoors inside.
If possible, look out for wallpapers which are ‘paste to wall’, for easier application.
Photography / Caspian collection, Sanderson
9. Zone with a feature wall
‘Wallpaper can be an unexpected design note in a kitchen adding interest and a certain softness against the hard surfaces,’ says Patrick O’Donnell, Farrow & Ball Brand Ambassador.
‘Your design choice can be discreet and delicate, or more dramatic like the large scale Hegemone. You can even zone an area within your kitchens, such as the dining area illustrated with our rhythmic pastoral design Gable - perfect for more Rural kitchens as it echoes of farm and fields,’ he adds.
Photography / Farrow & Ball
10. Pick an archive print
An archive print will convey a vintage look that's perfectly suited to a country setting. This Brooke House Cinder pattern from Little Greene has a classic design to complement the traditional style of the kitchen.
Creating a feature wall around the mantlepiece helps to elevate the country feel even further.
Photography / Little Greene
What is the best wallpaper for a kitchen?
Most wallpapers are suitable for general areas of the kitchen, but should be sealed with polyurethane or Decorators Varnish if they do not come with a protective finish.
‘From a practicality side, our wallpapers are finished with a water base glaze so will tolerate some wear and tear in a busy kitchen environment,’ explains Patrick O’Donnell, Farrow & Ball Brand Ambassador.
‘However, do take into account other elements such as ventilation and steam from cooking and err on the side of caution if you’re thinking about applying a wallpaper behind your cooker – this is an area better suited to a tough paint finish such as a Modern Emulsion or a tile,’ he adds.
Is kitchen wallpaper in style? What country designs are on trend?
With so many colour and pattern choices available, wallpaper is a great way to add a splash of personality to your kitchen.
Country-style designs will always be a classic choice, and with many of us spending more time at home these days, the idea of creating a warm and welcoming kitchen is more prevalent than ever. Look out for traditional patterns in alternative or bold colourways for a modern twist on a classic design.
What are the best color schemes for country kitchen wallpaper?
Natural, earthy tones tend to lend themselves well to traditional country style kitchens, so bear this in mind when choosing a wallpaper design. Make sure at least one colour in the pattern matches or complements the tones in the rest of your kitchen to ensure it won’t end up clashing with your scheme.