How to use Wallpaper: 8 top tips

This week we welcomed fabulous Californian wallpaper brand Twigs to I think the Americans lead the way when it comes to wallpapers (something about their generous application of ink) and Twigs is up there with the very best. It was founded in 1973 by Arthur Athas and includes reproductions of beautiful 18th and 19th Century papers.  I have no problem with using wallpaper all over the place but I know that pattern, as with colour, is something people are sometimes nervous of. If you’ve been toying with the idea of using paper but paint feels like a safer option, I’ve rounded up my top wallpaper tips to hopefully persuade you to go for it!

  1. Patterned papers should be part of your decor rather than the main event in a room. Octogenarian wallpaper designer Marthe Armitage believes they should fade into the background and simply provide a canvas for pictures furniture and the general clatter of life. Don’t be afraid to hang pictures over patterned paper.
  2. However, if you are worried you’ll tire of a bold pattern, consider using it in a space you pass through rather than somewhere you spend lots of time in.
  3. Pattern can actually make a small space feel larger; your eye is drawn through it rather than halted as it is with a flat, painted wall.
  4. I love using wallpaper in a bathroom. It’s great to make a small bathroom stand out by using a really joyful paper (but probably best avoided if it’s a shower room too).
  5. It sounds obvious but make sure your paper’s hung the right way up. If there is any chance of ambiguity, ensure you talk to your wallpaper hanger first. You’d be surprised how often mistakes are made.
  6. Likewise if you have a pattern that is affected by where it’s cut at the top, make that clear too.
  7. Use small prints in the backs of bookcases or in small rooms. I love Pheasant by Twigs, a wallpaper that’s inspired by hand marbled book-end papers.
  8. Don’t pigeon hole florals for bedrooms – they can be fantastic in other spaces too. Our grandparents’  generation was much more confident with florals and pattern generally. Take a leaf from their book and be bold – free yourselves from shades of cement coloured paint!