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 white 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.
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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.
1. Wallpaper your furniture
Image credit: Dominic Blackmore
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.
2. Smarten up with pinstripes
Image credit: Simon Bevan
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.
3. Tie the room together
Image credit: Mark Bolton
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. Go totally tropical
Image credit: Simon Bevan
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.
5. Try a tonal scheme
Image credit: David Brittain
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.
6. Bring zing with bright colours
Image credit: Rowland Roques-O’Neil
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.
7. Add a bit of flower power
Image credit: Simon Whitmore
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.
8. Create a sense of drama
Image credit: Richard Powers
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.
9. Update an old classic
Image credit: Simon Bevan
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.
10. Play with mid-century patterns
Image credit: Claire Davies
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.
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.
12. Make a statement with monochrome
Image credit: Lisa Cohen
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.
13. Introduce fresh florals
Image credit: Spike Powell
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.
14. Take a leaf from nature’s book
Image credit: Katya De Grunwald
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 treaments and rug chime nicely with the feature wallpaper for a cohesive feel.
15. Nod to the past
Image credit: Lizzie Orme
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.
16. Personalise your walls
Image credit: Dominic Blackmore
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?
17. Proceed with painterly pattern
Image credit: Adrian Briscoe
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.
18. Get in touch with texture
Image credit: Jamie Mason
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.
Loved this living room wallpaper ideas? We have plenty more wallpaper inspiration for you!