By Megan Slack
Martin Waller is an interior designer and founder of the successful global design house Andrew Martin. His label is celebrated for its joyous use of color and fun-filled furnishings that have turned his London showroom into an Aladdin’s cave of kaleidoscopic collections. Among these is a wide spectrum of wallpapers – from his bold animal prints to his ornate murals, made in collaboration with Kit Kemp and the National Gallery.
See: Wallpaper ideas – gorgeous decor for every room
Here, the daring designer gives H&G a wallpaper masterclass – including which print to use in a small room and whether we should hold back on a gallery wall.
‘Wallpaper is such an easy route to an instant effect – every room has more wall than anything else. I often think that people don’t pay nearly enough attention to their wall, spending months researching fabric but only minutes choosing paint,’ says Martin who has been at the forefront of interior design since Andrew Martin opened in 1978.
‘With digital printing, there is so much opportunity to do incredible things with wallpaper – we have a licence with the National Gallery which means we can fit a wall with a Titian, a Monet or a Michelangelo perfectly tailored to fit,’ he adds.
Here, he shares his five top tips for bringing wallpaper into our homes in an impactful way.
1. Choose a striking wallpaper in a small room
See: Living room ideas – clever ways to decorate living spaces
It’s the question on everybody’s lips – which wallpaper will look best in a small room? According to Martin, we should opt for ‘dramatic papers.’
‘Many people think a small space should be painted in a pale, plain finish, but I think a small space needs more, not less emphasis,’ he explains.
2. Create a gallery wall – Kit Kemp agrees
‘Just because a wall is papered doesn’t mean you can’t hang art all over it. Kit Kemp, who we collaborated with for her eponymous collection, demonstrates this exuberantly in her schemes. Wallpaper and art combine to add such interesting layers to a room,’ Martin shares.
3. Don’t rush the design process
While we’ve all found a little more time to renovate over the previous year, Martin encourages us not to rush into choosing the paper, especially when in isolation.
‘I’m a great believer in getting the whole scheme in your hand before you shop. Consider it all simultaneously,’ he adds.
4. Dare to experiment with textures
‘I love texture on walls – it truly does add a whole other dimension to any room,’ the designer says. This bold aesthetic is not for the faint-hearted, but it certainly is for Martin: ‘In my London home I have a raffia wallpaper in my sitting room; in my hall, I have used fabric on the walls,’ he says.
5. When it comes to furniture, follow the lead of Renaissance painters…
See more: Living room wallpaper ideas – ways to decorate your walls
‘Don’t worry about furniture obstructing parts of a large design – it doesn’t matter if you can’t see it all. The Renaissance painters discovered that they didn’t have to show figures in their entirety; they understood that the brain intuitively fills in the gaps,’ Martin suggests.
Armed with Martin’s advice, we’re ready to get playful with our walls – slowly and steadily, of course.
12 master bathroom ideas – modern twists on classic statement washrooms
From dreamy freestanding tubs to unconventional color schemes, experts share tips for creating a standout sanctuary
By Ailis Brennan •
These bathroom features add value to your home – and none of them is a bathtub
If you're looking to maximize your home's resale value, these are the features worth investing in, according to real estate professionals
By Anna Cottrell •
Walk-in closet ideas – 17 designer looks for dressing areas
More than simply a smart storage solution, walk-in closets are rising fast on dream home wish lists
By Kerryn Harper-Cuss •
Bohemian living room ideas – 10 expert ways to embrace a modern Boho look
Slavishly recreate the aesthetic of the Seventies with these modern Boho living rooms
By Jennifer Ebert •
Broken plan living room ideas – semi-divided, flexible spaces
From internal glazing to screens, these smart broken plan layouts are a masterclass in versatile modern living
By Thea Babington-Stitt •
8 tricks interior designers use to brighten a dark bedroom
Yearning for a light and airy bedroom? These are the easiest ways to make even the darkest of spaces feel brighter
By Sophie Warren-Smith •
How to style a display cabinet – 10 tips from design experts
We've gleaned advice from the experts on how to style a display cabinet or dresser for a neat but stylish look
By Jo Bailey •
This Farrow & Ball paint color is set to be this season's most on-trend shade
This summer, we're set to drench our walls in a color that pays homage to the southern English coastline
By Megan Slack •
30 country decorating ideas – stunning rustic style for your home
These country decorating ideas take inspiration from the natural world to bring color, pattern and texture to room schemes
By Andrea Childs •
Homes & Gardens Flower of the Month: June – Misty Mauve Delphiniums
These indulgent spires are perfect for a graceful display – that subtly celebrates early summer days
By Megan Slack •