“Wallpaper has been guilty of little white lies.” When I read these words by Jude Philips, I thought, perfect. The designer captures the enigmatic, alluring, and deceptive quality of this historical décor staple. Wallpaper intrigues. It expands a room beyond its size and scope. It swells a space’s potential to envelop you in a mood that transcends time and place. And for the room where we dream, wallpaper transports to a realm of reverie, as these bedroom wallpaper ideas illustrate.
Some of the earliest wallpaper designs celebrated ancestral scenes, religious images, and escapist vibes of tropical paradises. People loved wallpaper for its ability to conceal imperfections and imbue instant color. The same goes for today. Wallpaper varieties cover every aesthetic.
Kelli Menendez, the designer and founder of the hand-drawn wallpaper collection Half Full, believes wallpaper to be a means of positivity. “When people look at our patterns, they should feel lush and luxurious but also delight and joy,” says Menendez, who believes botanical and earthy patterns are a way to honor nature. “It is important to remind ourselves that everything we use and touch comes from the world around us and nature is that in the truest form.”
Featured image by Jacob Snavely, courtesy of Curated Nest.
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I checked in with Menendez, as well as with designers Bethany Adams of Bethany Adams Interiors, Erin Coren of Curated Nest, and Jessica Nelson of Etch Design Group to see how we can feel “lush and luxurious” in our bedrooms.
Given that there are endless options and types of wallpaper, I asked these experts for their take on the best bedroom wallpaper ideas. Let their following insight transport.
What wallpaper is best for the bedroom?
There is a sea of patterns, colors, textures, and finishes. This all begs the question: Which are the best wallpaper options for the bedroom? Menendez implores us to go with our aesthetic guts. Think about what you want your bedroom to feel like and consider what you want to wake up to, she suggests.
In her collection, Menendez says NorCal, Holly, and Franz are some of the most popular picks for the bedroom—all of which boast an ethereal, natural vibe. As she adds, “nature is always nice to see and can feel neutral.” But when in doubt, opt for something in neutral tones and patterns, Menendez suggests. From there, “add bits of color where it feels natural.”
Craving a little more punch? Adams’ love of chinoiserie prints for the bedroom might be the ticket. “It makes a bedroom feel special,” she adds. “I also love a simple graphic print for spaces that warrant a little more pep, like a kids’ room or a more modern primary bedroom.”
Should you wallpaper the entire bedroom or just an accent wall?
Both work well, say the experts. Adams is usually against feature walls, but she believes highlighting just one bedroom wall with a print makes sense in this room. “You could choose an exciting pattern and just put it behind the headboard. That way you enjoy it when you’re out of bed, but at night when you’re reading in bed or drifting off to sleep, the pattern is behind you so it’s totally invisible and you can focus on your other three walls.”
Menendez has gone both ways, but she says if you’re considering covering every wall, it’s worth it. “There is something so beautiful and complete about a room with continuous pattern throughout,” she tells us. “It makes the room feel larger and makes the paper more of a textural element no matter how strong the pattern.”
15 Bedroom Wallpaper Ideas That Elevate
Idea #1: Incorporate layers
Mix in accessories over your patterns. “Hang a mirror or your favorite artwork piece over a patterned wall to make it more dimensional,” suggests Menendez.
Idea # 2: Lean into nature
Choose prints with a botanical, landscape, or animal theme. Bringing nature into the bedroom can offer a soothing look and feel, says Menendez.
Idea # 3: Mix simple with eclectic
“I mentioned loving a chinoiserie wallpaper in a bedroom, but this really only works if you have a simple room with lots of wall space,” says Adams. Keep furniture and accessories simple to allow a bold print to shine.
Idea # 4: Choose a complementary headboard
If the back of your bed is patterned, this might compete with your wallpaper, warns Adams. To avoid this, choose a headboard in the same color as one found in the wallpaper print.
Idea # 5: Frame a square
If you love a wallpaper print but don’t want to commit an entire room to it, frame a portion of it to hang. It’s instant artwork without any major commitment.
Idea # 6: Match print size to room size
“I try to scale the print to the size of the room,” says Adams. Go for smaller prints for smaller rooms, and larger prints for larger rooms. “This will keep the pattern from overwhelming the space.”
Idea # 7: Look to neutrals
Prints in creams, beiges, and grays can make a huge impact. As Adams says, “even a busy print can be subdued by choosing a neutral or pale colorway.”
Idea # 8: Listen to the animals
Birds on the wall? This may be the key to creating a look that is relaxing and poetic.
Idea # 9: Consider an accent wall
As mentioned, wallpapering an entire bedroom or just one both get designers’ approval. But if you’re hesitant to commit, Coren says go for the latter. “We feel that the way to make a bedroom stand out is to have one unexpected item that gives a pop of interest—and that can be done with adding a focal wall of wallpaper,” she says.
Idea # 10: Go bold
Nelson believes that even after furniture and accessories, a bedroom can feel incomplete. To add life to an otherwise simple space, choose wallpaper with bright colors.
Idea # 11: Celebrate black and white
When these two merge, there’s always a huge impact. Especially when it comes to a bold, graphic, show-stopping black-and-white wallpaper.
Idea # 12: Honor the lines
Horizontal, vertical, even diagonal. Lined wallpaper brings the eye up or around, which stretches the appearance of a room. More stripes = more visual space.
Idea # 13: Create a canvas
If you live in a rental apartment, don’t despair, says Menendez. Instead of wallpapering the walls you soon may part from, you can add it to a large canvas “for a removable artwork feel.”
Idea # 14: Marry prints
Sometimes the best matches are those that don’t match at all. Don’t be afraid: Mix graphic with ethereal. Stripes with botanicals. Even traditional with historical. It’s all your oyster, and the options are the sea.
Idea # 15: Follow your own rules
“Be free to have fun and don’t worry about perfection,” says Menendez. “You can always add and edit over time. If it feels good to you, then it is good!”