Living room wallpaper ideas – to completely transform your space

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Want to give your living room an instant update? A new wallpaper is a great way to add colour, pattern and texture

Looking for living room wallpaper ideas? Over the last few years, we have been led to believe that painted walls are the only way to go. A plain and neutral base can indeed be a good starting point from which to build a decorating scheme, but if you ignore the spectrum of colours and patterns available in paint and wallpaper, you could be missing out.

Living room wallpaper ideas

Many brands now produce both wallpaper and paint, so tricky decisions are often already made for you when it comes to creating perfectly coordinated combinations. Be brave and find colours and looks that work for you. Here are our pick of the best living room wallpaper ideas.

If you’re new to hanging wallpaper, have a go at putting it up yourself. You might find it easy to begin with a small area, such as a chimney breast, to build up your confidence before you tackle a whole room.

How to choose a living room wallpaper

There are many factors to take into consideration, aside form personal taste. Firstly consider how you use the room and whereabouts in the property it resides. In small living rooms a large scale patterned wallpaper might overpower the space. If the room is devoid of daylight for most of the day, busy patterns might also make it feel smaller.

Do you have a Chimney breast or alcoves that would welcome wallpaper to make a characterful feature wall?

If the space is an open-plan living room adjoined to the garden, a nature-inspired wallpaper might feel more at home – perfectly welcoming the outdoors in. If the room is more of a formal sitting room only used on occasions, the space might benefit more from a gentle print to create a calming, serene feel.

1. Frame the fireplace

Wallpapering either side of a fireplace helps to cement it as the focal point for the room. Choose a wallpaper that works tonally with the paint shade on the chimney breast to help perfect the scheme. Keeping a coordinating colour scheme here stops even a busy Art Deco-style print from over powering the room. the neutral linen upholstery and the washed wooden furniture help to anchor the look.

2. Create a decorative backdrop

An open-back shelving unit can be backed beautifully by a decorative wallpaper. It’s a great way to add layers to the look, creating even more of statement. To stop the busy wall from toppling the rest of the room keep furniture neutral for balance – a bright white helps to create a striking contrast.

3. Tie the room together

Use an eye-catching wallpaper to unify different living zones in an open-plan space. Here, two separate seating areas are visually drawn together by a whimsical botanical print running around the entire circumference of the room. Paper from the dado rail upwards to prevent the scheme from becoming too busy – it’s a sneaky way to save money on your scheme, too.

4. Smarten up with pinstripes

Create a tailored, designerly look in your living room with pinstripes – they look just as smart on your walls as they do on suits. Choose soft greys so the scheme doesn’t feel overly masculine, and add a luxe touch with accents of gold in your accessories and soft furnishings. Keep window treatments plain and simple, making the walls the star feature.

5. Clad a chimney breast in wallpaper

Embrace architectural details that lend a sense of charm to the space. The beautiful of decorating a small area with wallpaper means you save on costs because only one roll is required

6. Play with mid-century patterns

Add a sense of retro fun to your living room scheme with mid-century colours and patterns. When it comes to 1950s prints, it’s a case of the bolder the better, so be brave and create a striking feature wall in a daring shade or design. Balance your wallpaper with a streamlined period-style sofa in a complementary colour.

7. Pick a theme and stick to it

If you know you are going for a strong theme or trend in your living room, then pick out wallpaper that will complement and emphasise your theme. A botanical patterned wallpaper will instantly conjure up thoughts of the great outdoors. Carry the theme through to the rest of your scheme with natural wood furniture, soft pebble tones and rustic woodland accessories.

8. Make a statement with monochrome

After an effortlessly contemporary look? You can’t go wrong with monochrome. Create a dramatic backdrop to your scheme with a bold black and white wallpaper, such as this striking cityscape. Paint woodwork black to frame your feature wall and turn it into a work of art. To soften the scheme, add a smattering of furniture and accessories in natural wood tones.

9. Go totally tropical with vibrant hues

Transform a plain white room into a tropical paradise with a wallpaper teeming with exotic plants. Continue the colonial jungle feel in the rest of your scheme, with cane furniture, plantation shutters and a cocktail trolley for those early evening gin and tonics. Choose a wallpaper with a white backdrop and your scheme will still feel light and airy, despite the vibrancy of the pattern.

10. Try a tonal scheme

Pick a wallpaper featuring different shades of the same colour to create a subtle but striking feature wall rather than overwhelming the space. Opting for a simple design instead of a hectic pattern will also help to soothe the scheme. To break up a papered wall, place your furniture and artwork in strategic positions around the edge of the room.

11. Bring zing with bright colours

If you want to introduce bright shades into your living room, balance a neutral scheme with a colourful wallpaper. Pick out tones from the wallpaper and echo them in your soft furnishings – these sunshine yellow scatter cushions help to draw the room together. Use a neutral colour like white to break up strong blocks of colour.

12. Add a touch of flower power

Bring a country living room to life with a floral wallpaper. Balance a large botanical print with a plain painted wall – here, the wallpaper has only been used on the chimney breast, helping to make a real feature of the space. Stick to plain or simple patterns in your soft furnishings, leaving the wallpaper to take centre stage.

13. Create a sense of drama

Add a theatrical touch to a neutral scheme with a bold printed wallpaper. This rich midnight blue and gold pattern creates a focal point out of the modern chimney breast and immediately draws the eye. Touches of gold add a sense of luxury to the space and tie in with the metallic elements around the rest of the room.

14. Update an old classic

Create a cutting-edge vibe in your living room with a wallpaper that puts a new spin on a classic print. A pixelated design transforms this floral pattern from traditional country to contemporary cool. For a strong, unified scheme, pick out colours and patterns from your wallpaper and reiterate them in your soft furnishings and accessories.

15. Introduce fresh florals

Bring elements from the garden indoors with a classic wallpaper showcasing country flora and fauna. This spring-inspired living room features gentle blooms, birds at play and leafy greens. Wirework pots and antiquities complete the potager look. Spring greens, soft lilacs and pretty pinks on white backgrounds give this classic style a modern twist.

16. Take a leaf from nature’s book

Embrace the great outdoors and cover your wall in graphite-hue forestry. This pictorial mural depicts towering trees and cloud-lined skies in a soothing palette of blues and greys. Positioning a powder-soft velvet chaise in front of an exquisite etched backdrop creates a serene corner for reading. The dark tones of the upholstery treatments and rug chime nicely with the feature wallpaper for a cohesive feel.

17. Nod to the past

Use a striking retro wallpaper in a mix of classic 1970s colours, such as browns and oranges, to create a feature wall that is loud and proud. A wallpaper is a surefire way to help your distinguish a zone or theme in your space. Here, an assortment of modern and traditional furniture, such as the gentlemen’s leather armchair and mid-century sofa, sit well with the vintage display cabinet, while a greyscale Bowie artwork completes this 1970s scheme.

18. Personalise your walls

Work a world map into your décor for a cool artwork with international appeal. Maps come in myriad styles and scales, and they make great wall art, as this scheme proves. For a vintage vibe, go for a multi-map design like the one shown here. For country-house grandeur, try a blown-up oil-painting mural. Or why not try a photo print of trees and bring the outdoors into a city flat?

19. Proceed with painterly pattern

Introduce brushstroke-style patterns in bold colours. Drawing on the work of French painters Bonnard, Monet and Seurat, this painterly wallpaper pays homage to artistic spirit. This Impressionist-style wallpaper effortlessly showcases the graduated, ombre-effect that we have all come to know and love. Position a mirror on a wall opposite a patterned wallpaper and it will reflect the design at different angles as you move around the room.

20. Get in touch with texture

Mimic the look of stacked stone with realistic-looking faux wallpaper. Great for modern, urban spaces as well as country dwellings, this brick-style wallpaper effectively depicts a traditional, weathered brick wall. Faux wallpapers look all the more striking if kept to just one feature wall, with neutral furnishings and accessories. Less is more, so don’t use them in more than one or two rooms or the effect will be diminished.

21. Wallpaper furniture

Who says wallpaper needs to go on your walls? Make a striking statement in your living room by wallpapering a key piece of furniture, such as a sideboard. This is also a fantastic way to upcycle an old item that might otherwise end up at the tip. Go for wood or brick-effect wallpaper for an on-trend trompe l’oeil look.

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