How to release your inner interior designer with wallpaper

  • 18/03/2022
  • Sponsored by - Resene
How to release your inner interior designer with wallpaper
Photo credit: Supplied

The writing's on the wall (pun intended) - wallpaper is back in a blaze of ultra-stylish designs, eye-catching textures, dimensional treatments, new materials and digital printing techniques. 

For those who remember wallpapers from their childhood - forget them - those dull, old-fashioned and overpowering styles have been swapped out for 2022 with wallpapers that are full of character, charm, style and interest. 

Today's wallpapers deliver the opportunity to create interiors as rich in personality or as low-key luxe as you like. It's a look that marries with the move towards more layered interiors with clusters of collectables, or can make for an impactful standalone statement if you're more of a minimalist. Whatever way you roll (again, pun intended), wallpaper has become a contemporary decorator's secret weapon.

Not just paint experts

Those in the know are already all over the fact that Resene not only do paint - they also offer a wide selection of wallpapers to suit all tastes and requirements - as anyone who has stood in front of the extensive selection of wallpaper sample books at a Resene ColorShop can confirm.

"We stock a variety of wallpapers to suit every style of home, from sleek and modern right through to classic and decorative," explains Resene colour expert Rebecca Long. 

"Resene supplies a huge section of wallpaper from the likes of Aspiring Walls, Farrow & Ball, Florence Broadhurst and Khroma as well as our own Resene Habitat Wallpaper Collection."

"We've also brought back the artistry of traditional handcrafted wallpaper with the Mason Handcrafted wallpaper collection. The classic patterns are screen printed locally right here in New Zealand and can be customised to suit your desired colour using Resene paint."

How to release your inner interior designer with wallpaper
Photo credit: Supplied

Test it good

So how do you choose? Firstly, get down to your Resene ColorShop and see exactly what's available and possible. Not least because seeing wallpaper design in a photo or on a computer screen won't reveal its full impact or beauty. 

Many have sometimes subtle visual and tactile elements that have to be experienced in person – textural finishes, a variety of sheen levels, embossing, velvet, even grit and beading. You have to see and feel today's wallpapers to get the full effect.

Just like you would test a paint with a Resene testpot, you should also test a wallpaper. Order a sample through your Resene ColorShop, take it home and pin it to the wall. View it during the day and after dark to see how the lighting changes the way it looks. If you plan to use it on multiple walls, move the sample to each wall to check it suits. Or borrow a wallpaper book and try a few options.

Wallpaper with larger patterns can be tricky to visualise from a smaller sample but you can request larger samples of most wallpapers at your Resene ColorShop, to help you see how a bigger piece of the design will look. 

How to pick your paper

When it comes to choosing wallpapers, there are two key questions to ask yourself: 

1. What colour and style?

The colour of your wallpaper will affect the mood of the room. Those with dark cool-coloured backgrounds such as deep blue or charcoal will make a room feel larger, especially when married with a smaller tonal pattern. Soft pastel colours will add tranquillity, while warm colours and busy patterns will add drama, warmth and vibrancy. 

Is your style classic, retro, playful, global, contemporary or industrial? Damasks and stripes feel quite formal, florals are casual and whimsical, geometrics are architectural and bold, while faux styles are industrial and fun. 

Will the wallpaper be added to an existing scheme, and how many elements will be staying – carpet, curtains, the sofa? Find a wallpaper that fits with these. If you're starting with a relatively clean slate, wallpaper is a great way to kick-start a scheme. You can draw colours from the design and find Resene paint colours to coordinate, or echo the style of the paper in other elements.

How to release your inner interior designer with wallpaper
Photo credit: Supplied

2. What room and how much?

The use of the room may affect what design and colour you choose. Are you after a dramatic backdrop to a dining area or a fun feature for a hallway or child's room?

The same wallpaper design could make a living room energising or calming depending on how much or how little you use it. 

Small patterns make a room look larger, while large patterns make a space feel smaller and more intimate. Stripes and vertical patterns make walls appear taller, whereas horizontal patterns make a wall appear longer. Layered patterns and trellis-like designs give flat walls more depth.

Tip: Remember to check the suitability of wallpapers you want to use in areas where there is moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Bold wallpapers are perfect for feature walls, where they can be seen in all their glory without overpowering a space – and they'll look especially great with complementary Resene colours on the other walls. Or try using a wallpaper to create a picture rail or dado effect with Resene paint colours above or below. Wallpaper is also good for smaller areas, like behind a glass splashback, or on a chimney breast. 

Mix n' match 

Want to mix and match multiple papers? Many Resene Wallpaper Collections come with a range of plainer styles and patterns in a variety of colourways that are designed to go together. You might use plain wallpaper in the hallway, with a pattern from the same collection in the living room.

Another interior design trick is combining wallpapers with paint finishes. Rebecca suggests selecting your desired wallpaper first and pairing it with a Resene paint colour to suit. 

"The easiest way to a cohesive scheme is to draw inspiration from the colours in your wallpaper," she says. 

How to release your inner interior designer with wallpaper
Photo credit: Supplied

"Match a Resene paint colour to a colour from your wallpaper, find a colour to contrast or select a neutral with a similar tone to the wallpaper. This can easily be done at your local Resene ColorShop by using our extensive range of colour sampling and expert advice from our team."

Just for you

If you're looking for something personal and one-of-a-kind, check out the Resene WallPrint service where you can create your own wallpaper from a photo or favourite print. Simply upload a photo, put in the dimensions of your wall and you'll receive numbered wallpaper strips cut to size.

This article was created for Resene.