By Pippa Blenkinsop published
Choosing living room wallpaper ideas is a real pleasure as there are so many inspiring designs to choose from, allowing you to really stamp your personal style on a space. As well as being easy to apply, wallpaper is a brilliant way to bring color, pattern and character to a living room; elements which can instantly change the look and feel of the space.
While they offer a canvas for channelling your unique interior style, living rooms are also practical, multi-functional spaces – they provide a place to relax, entertain and even work in, too, so before you decide on a wallpaper for your space it is first important to understand exactly how your room will be used and the atmosphere you wish to create.
When it comes to living room ideas the looks are endless, so to help you get started we've rounded up a selection of our favorite wallpaper ideas for living rooms.
Living room wallpaper ideas
With so many living room wallpaper ideas to choose from there’s guaranteed to be a design to suit your space, the key to selecting the perfect print is to first examine how you plan to use the space and what look you want to create to help narrow down the selection.
If you want to make a statement consider a show-stopping landscape mural, large scale geometric design or bold botanicals, which are all popular wallpaper trends. Alternatively, if having a space to unwind and relax in is your priority, consider small-scale, repeat prints, textural neutrals and nature-inspired designs.
It’s also important to consider architecture as well as what already exists in your space, as Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene.
‘When beginning a project, first consider all the elements in the room that you’re not going to change. This might include living room furniture, flooring, curtains, architectural details and living room lighting ideas. These need to feature on your moodboard – and everything new you bring to the scheme needs to work with these elements.’
If you live in a period property you may want to think about choosing a wallpaper that complements the era of your property, too, adds Ruth Mottershead.
‘Pattern choices are very much a matter of personal taste, but as well as considering which designs you are drawn to, consider your architecture. For period properties, you may wish to choose a design that is in keeping with the original style of your house.’
1. Bring timeless calm with a serene landscape mural
Imbued with the nourishing properties of nature, landscape murals are have the power to turn our living room into restful restorative spaces that soothe the soul.
Depicting a hand-painted Indian landscape of delicate trees, meandering rivers and soft clouds printed onto textural grasscloth, this show-stopping Bandipur wall mural idea from Designers Guild brings soft color and texture to a living room.
To keep the look fresh and contemporary complement the mural with streamlined furniture in luxurious materials such as velvet and marble.
2. Create a pared-back look with a linear architectural design
For a lighter decorative touch consider teaming a subtle architectural mural such as the Nordiska Museet wallpaper by Sandberg with neutral muted furnishings that let the design take center stage.
Featuring strong horizontal lines the wallpaper makes a brilliant backdrop for hanging a wooden ledge for displaying ornaments. To soften the strong lines pair the wallpaper with furniture and accessories in textural fabrics such as a relaxed linen sofa, chunky woven cushions and rugs.
3. Bring the outside in with a leafy botanical wallpaper
Full of zest and life, ever-popular exotic leafy prints in verdant shades are guaranteed to make a living space feel uplifting and energizing.
'Vivid, lively greens work well in rooms that are made for entertaining, such as kitchens and living rooms, but you don’t have to commit to all four walls,' says Ruth Mottershead, creative director of Little Greene on decorating with green.
To tone down busy prints, consider papering above a dade and painting the wall below in a timeless botanical green.
4. Celebrate global cultures
Global influences continue to be a strong wallpaper trend within interior design with the traditional textures, patterns and colours of cultures from across the world providing designers with an endless source of inspiration for new wallpapers.
Depicting a Frida Kahlo character with large palms, and printed with a wicker-inspired textural effect, this La Passion de Diego wall mural from Élitis at Abbott & Boyd would really make a statement in a living room. To balance the striking design oft for upholstery and window treatments in bold shades such as a cheery sunshine-yellow.
5. Introduce bold wallpaper panels
If you love bold prints but prefer a scheme that is a little easier to live with then consider adding wallpaper panels. Placing a panel of your favorite wallpaper over a sofa can create a beautiful focal point in a living room without overpowering the space.
6. Channel an exotic feel with Persian-inspired design
As well as spaces to relax, living rooms are also where we entertain visitors, this makes them good spaces to showcase vibrant, head-turning designs. If you’re forever dreaming of distant lands consider bringing summer warmth whatever the weather with a hot pink wallpaper inspired by prints from the silk road – a historic trade route where merchants carried cloth from East to West. This Totty Lowther Interiors large-scale Pomegranate wallpaper in Persian Pink is guaranteed to lift spirits and transport guests to exotic climes.
7. Make a statement using large-scale geometrics
If you have a living room with high ceilings why not use the ample wall space to showcase a statement design wall-to-wall? Large rooms look particularly effective papered in over-sized prints, as they allow space for the designs to really shine.
'For larger areas of wallcovering use feature designs such as large scale florals, geometrics or damasks in order to create a statement whereas for small living room ideas, more subtle all over designs are ideal,’ advises Emily Mould, design director at The Romo Group.
8. Celebrate British heritage with an Arts & Crafts design
If you’re looking for traditional living room ideas then try papering the walls in a refreshed archive print – there’s a huge array available which are guaranteed to bring classic elegance to a living space.
During the latter half of the 19th-century William Morris’ company Morris & Co created a wealth of stylised flora and fauna prints for fabrics and wallpapers designed to celebrate the beauty of nature and British craftsmanship, and many of these wallpapers are still available today.
An ornate damask design of scrolling acanthus leaves, this Simply Severn wallpaper has been recently refreshed in a tranquil blue and white colorway making it into a perfect backdrop for a soothing 21st-century living room.
9. Co-ordinate wallpapers with painted woodwork
When choosing a wallpaper for a living room it’s important to also consider the treatment of the woodwork, too as this can really change the look and feel of the room. Painting the skirting and door frames in a similar shade to the wallpaper will help the paper blend with the woodwork and make rooms feel larger. Alternatively, you could try painting woodwork in a contrasting shade which will frame the paper and create a playful twist.
‘Consider your woodwork color carefully – rather than opting for traditional white, consider pairing with co-ordinating or contrasting colors to deliver a considered and inspiring interior,' says Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene.
‘We are seeing people embracing bolder, more colorful designs and pairing these with both co-ordinating highlight colors on walls and woodwork.’
10. Inject country charm with classic florals
Brimming with English country charm, traditional floral wallpapers in pink and green are a brilliant choice for rural homes and cottage living rooms. Celebrated for its timeless, elegant designs, Colefax & Fowler has a huge selection to choose from.
‘From pretty and romantic to classic or contemporary, floral designs vary as much as the blooms themselves, but all have an evocative charm,’ says Daniel Slowik, associate design director, Sibyl Colefax & John fowler.
‘Traditional florals imbue a room with a country-house feel, which has an associated romantic appeal. Balance them with simply styled furnishings to prevent the look from becoming overpowering. For example, a bold print on walls or as curtains could be offset by antique painted furniture so the room retains a calm air, or key colors in the pattern can be picked out and combined with other items in the room to create a harmonious, ordered feel.’
Can you put wallpaper in the living room?
Wallpaper is a brilliant way to decorate a living room as it allows you to inject color and pattern to your space which will bring instant life and personality.
‘Living rooms are a wonderful space to embrace pattern, wallpapering all four walls is one of the simplest ways to create a dramatic and impactful design change in a space. Wallpaper is simple to apply and can be easily updated, particularly our non-woven designs which can be removed from the wall in large pieces,’ says Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene.
How do I choose living room wallpaper?
To choose the right wallpaper for your living room you must first think about how the room is going to be used and how you want it to make you feel. Today our living rooms are multifunctional spaces, serving as areas to relax, entertain, work, create and even exercise – consider how you use yours carefully and choose a design which will be conducive to that purpose.
How our interiors are decorated can have a huge impact on how we think and feel, so factor this in when selecting a design, explains Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene.
'It’s key to consider how you use the space, how do you want your home to make you feel; calm and cocooned or cheerful and vibrant? Wallpapers are a fantastic way to inject atmosphere into your home, be it a whimsical charming touch such as ‘Burges Snail’ or a dramatic and elegant feel with a large-scale mural such as ‘Mandalay’.
It's also useful to consider the existing elements in a room to ensure the wallpaper you choose will work with the interior features and architecture. Similarly, don't forget to pay attention to the decor in adjoining rooms, as this too will play a part in how your home feels as a whole.
Lover of all things vintage, floral and country, Pippa has been working in interiors media for 10 years. A graduate of Art History, and Style Editor for Period Living magazine, she is a nostalgic soul who is passionate about historic architecture and traditional craftsmanship. When she's writing about homes and gardens you'll find her pottering on her Gloucestershire allotment, Pippa's Plot, where she grows flowers for styling her own home and interiors shoots.
Best bathroom scales: 7 brilliant scales to invest in this year
Invest in the best bathroom scales for a renewed outlook on your health
By Molly Cleary • Published
How to paint a house exterior
Discover how to paint a house exterior for a professional, authentic finish with long-lasting results
By Douglas Kent • Published