Is Wallpaper Back in Style? A Deep Dive into Interior Design Trends

a dark botanical wallpapered bathroom with blue paint and white bathroom suite

I have always been a huge fan of pattern, color, and texture in the home and this is one of the reasons I love wallpaper so much. It provides a huge variety of decor choices for every room and I often choose wallpaper before I decide on paint, furniture, and soft furnishings. 

One of the questions I get asked over and over again is; is wallpaper back in style? And I get it. Wallpaper as a form of interior decoration really began in Europe in the 16th century. Early wallpapers were typically hand-painted or stenciled and were luxury items only the very wealthy could afford.

In the 1970s and 80s, wallpaper was used in almost every room with bright, bold patterns to more subdued textures and prints. Many of us grew up in homes with delicate floral wallpaper peeling away at the edges and getting steadily stained and worn out as the years went by.

Towards the end of the 20th century, wallpaper fell out of favor in many Western countries. Interior design moved towards minimalism, with many homeowners leaning towards simplicity and clean lines, favoring a more neutral color palette and often shunning the bold patterns and prints of wallpaper.

Wallpaper’s decline in popularity can be attributed to several factors, particularly in the late 20th and early 21st century.

  • Changing aesthetic preferences
  • Perceived difficulty with wallpapers reputation for being difficult to install and even more challenging to remove
  • Cost considerations with high-quality wallpaper being costly, whereas paint is generally less expensive and can be applied by the homeowners themselves. 
  • Outdated perceptions, with some still seeing wallpaper as old-fashioned or dated
  • Open-plan living spaces becoming increasingly popular, where a continuous color scheme works better

So, Is Wallpaper Back in Style? 

Yes :)

Although, I think, as with everything in interior design, it is all down to the eye of the beholder.

For minimalists, wallpaper perhaps will still be seen as outdated and overtly fussy, but social media would have you believe that it is everywhere (and maybe never really went out of style…)

wallpaper panel with dining table and pink velvet chairs
Wall paper design is being used in increasingly creative ways, like using floral wallpaper as a panel in a dining room

For me, wallpaper has once again become a popular choice for interior decoration, offering a unique combination of pattern, texture, and color that paint alone can’t provide. As we move further into the 21st century, it’s clear that our homes are not just a place to eat and sleep but an extension of our personality and style.

We’ve seen numerous shifts in home décor trends over the years, from stark minimalism to cozy rustic themes, from bold color blocking to softer pastels.

From the bold and colorful to the subtle and textured, wallpaper is popping up on Instagram feeds, design magazines, and chic interiors across the globe, revamping spaces with its unique aesthetic appeal. But the question arises, is this just a fleeting trend, or is wallpaper here to stay?

1. Personalized Spaces

As people spend more time at home, there’s a growing desire to create spaces that are unique and personalized. Wallpaper offers an easy way to add character and individuality to a room, with a vast range of designs, patterns, and textures to choose from.

The wallpaper industry today offers an extensive array of styles, allowing for a high degree of customization in interior design. Here are some popular wallpaper trends:

Vintage Wallpaper

a bold 70s print wallpaper with mustard and orange in a bedroom
Groovy, Baby Wallpaper in Sunset Pink and Sunrise Orange Image: no15_densden

Vintage or retro wallpaper draws inspiration from the past, often featuring styles reminiscent of specific decades like the 1920s’ art deco designs or the bold colors and patterns of the 60s and 70s. This type of wallpaper is perfect for creating a nostalgic and distinctive look in a room.

Bold colors work best in the bedroom or make a real feature in a small downstairs bathroom. 

Floral Wallpaper

floral patterned wallpaper in the bedroom with a vintage bedside table
Hollyhocks floral wallpaper – House of Hackney

Floral wallpaper designs are a timeless choice in wallpaper. From delicate, romantic blooms to bold, tropical prints, floral wallpapers can fit a wide range of design aesthetics and can add a touch of nature and a sense of serenity to your interiors.

The key is getting the right size of print for your room. The bigger the room, the bigger you can go with your print. However, if your room is slightly on the small side, keep the floral print ornate and detailed. 

I love floral wallpaper in the bedroom or a separate dining room, paired with vintage or mid-century furniture. 

Geometric Wallpaper

blue, white and mustard geometric wallpaper in a home office
1919 Wallpaper in Navy and Mustards – Lust Home

Geometric designs, with their clean lines and repetitive patterns, can add a sense of structure and modernity to a room. They come in a range of styles, from simple lines and circles to complex tessellations, and can be subtle or bold depending on the color and scale of the design.

These designs are perfect for small bathrooms and home offices

Mural-Style Wallpaper

a large print mural wallpaper with a bed and velvet cushions.

Mural-style wallpaper typically covers an entire wall with a single, large-scale design. This could be a landscape, cityscape, abstract art, or any large image. Mural wallpapers can make a dramatic statement and transform a room, with the wallpaper itself becoming the artwork.

a large botanical wall mural in the living room with industrial style furniture
I am a huge fan of mural-style wallpapers. Wallpaper – Photowall

Depending on the interior style of your room, it is quite easy to choose a wall mural to go with it. If your style is minimalist, opt for a textured print like a weathered concrete wall or cracked plaster. If you are more of a maximalist, choose an eclectic style with lots of color and pattern. 

You can’t go wrong with an oversized mural floral wallpaper in the bedroom with a velvet headboard!

Textured Wallpaper

a brick wall in a kitchen with shelving
If you don’t want to leave a wall exposed, use textured wallpaper to add depth to your kitchen

Textured wallpapers are designed to feel as good as they look. They have a tactile surface that can add depth and warmth to a room.

This category includes everything from grasscloth wallpaper, which has a natural and eco-friendly appeal, to faux brick or wood designs, to embossed or flock wallpapers that have a three-dimensional feel. Textured wallpaper such as faux brick or wood can work beautifully in a rustic kitchen or dining room. 

Abstract Wallpaper

abstract wallpaper with blue walls and skirting board and orange leather dining room chairs
Go for a colorful abstract wallpaper and pick out the colors to use in your furniture and paint

Abstract wallpapers feature designs that don’t necessarily represent anything specific but instead focus on colors, shapes, and forms. This type of wallpaper can give a contemporary, artistic flair to a space and help add color. 

I love abstract wallpapers in bedrooms and dining spaces. Pick out the colors from the wallpaper and add these shades with bed linen, cushions or seat pads

Minimalist Wallpaper

minimalist wallpaper in a neutral room with white sofa and grey cushions
Wallpaper doesn’t have to be all singing and dancing. It can still be minimalist but add texture and depth to a room

For those who prefer a less-is-more approach, minimalist textured wallpapers offer subtle patterns and muted colors, with monochrome designs, pastels, or earthy, natural tones being popular choices. This style is perfect for creating a serene and uncluttered look. The overall goal of minimalist wallpaper is to create a backdrop that doesn’t demand attention or overwhelm the senses.

This wallpaper works in all rooms, especially if you are a minimalist! Although, they tend to work best in the living room and bathrooms to help create a calm and serene space. 

2. Statement Walls

a bold pink mural wallpaper in a bedroom
Go bold! Although, if you’re a bit nervous about such a statement, just do it one wall

The trend of creating a “statement” or “feature” wall is increasingly popular. By using wallpaper on one wall, homeowners can create a focal point and add depth and interest without overwhelming the space.

There has been a lot of discussion about feature walls and how they are a big no-no in interior design. A lot of interior designers say if you are going to use wallpaper, be bold and use it on all walls. Again, I think it is subjective and you do what is best for you in your own home.

a dark teal room with blue velvet furniture and a large feature wall with art deco wallpaper

Personally, I am a fan of feature walls as they can help people decorate outside of their comfort zone and inject a bit of color and pattern onto what would have been a plain wall.

Think outside the box and use wallpaper in a playful way by adding it as geometric shapes or as a paneled wall. 

3. Advancements in Wallpaper Technology

a dark blue and botanical bathroom with blue vanity sink
With advancements in wallpaper technology, it is now commonplace to use wallpaper in the bathroom

Modern wallpapers are far superior to their predecessors. One of the biggest advances in wallpaper technology is the use of digital printing.

This has allowed for a much wider range of colors and detail in the design, enabling incredibly lifelike images and patterns. Designers can create custom designs quickly and affordably, and it’s even possible for consumers to have their own photographs turned into wallpaper.

Technological advances have allowed for more sustainable and eco-friendly wallpaper options. Some wallpapers are made from responsibly sourced paper or use water-based inks. There’s also vinyl-free wallpaper, and some brands even offer wallpaper made from recycled materials.

Wallpaper can now be easier to install and remove, and there are many more options available. Peel-and-stick wallpaper allows for easy installation and removal, making it a great option for those who like to change their decor frequently or for renters who can’t make permanent changes.

It’s usually made from vinyl and comes with an adhesive back that can be repositioned as necessary.

4. Variety in Patterns and Styles

From bold, large-scale patterns and mural-style floral wallpapers to more subtle, textured options, the variety in wallpaper patterns and styles today is far greater than it has ever been in the past, thanks largely to advances in technology and shifts in consumer preferences.

This diversity allows wallpaper to fit into a range of design styles, from maximalist to minimalist.

The rise of customizable wallpaper trends has been a significant game-changer. With digital technology, it’s now possible for individuals to create bespoke wallpapers with their own designs or photographs, allowing for a level of personalization that wasn’t feasible in the past.

Today’s interconnected world means that design influences quickly spread across the globe. This cross-pollination of ideas has resulted in a broader range of styles in wallpaper designs. You can now find wallpapers featuring Scandinavian minimalism, Japanese motifs, Indian paisley designs, or African tribal patterns.

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5. Sustainable Options

With a growing emphasis on sustainability, many wallpaper manufacturers now offer environmentally-friendly options, made from recycled materials or using sustainable practices.

Companies are also looking at their production processes to see where they can reduce their environmental impact. This could involve using water-based inks instead of oil-based ones, using energy-efficient manufacturing processes, or implementing waste reduction measures.

Traditional vinyl wallpapers can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air, which can be harmful to indoor air quality. Many companies now offer vinyl-free wallpaper options, which are better for indoor air quality and can be more easily recycled.

6. Emphasis on Textured Wallpaper and Material

a floral wallpaper in a dining room with marble table and orange velvet chairs

Wallpaper can provide a tactile quality that paint simply can’t match. With improvements in technology, manufacturers have been able to produce wallpapers with more intricate textures and high-quality materials than were previously possible.

Digital printing technology, for instance, allows for the creation of highly detailed and realistic designs, while other technologies can be used to emboss or otherwise alter the texture of the wallpaper for a more tactile experience.

Current wallpaper trends have placed a strong emphasis on texture and material as a way to create depth and visual interest in a space. Textured wallpapers, from subtle linen effects to bold 3D designs, can add warmth, dimension, and a tactile element that flat-painted walls or traditional wallpapers simply can’t.

7. Celebrity and Designer Endorsements

Many well-known interior designers and celebrities have embraced wallpaper trends in their designs and homes, further driving its popularity.

Many celebrities have launched their own lines of wallpaper or collaborated with existing brands, bringing their unique style to the market. These collections often receive a lot of media attention and can influence design trends.

Renowned interior designers are also fans of using trending wallpaper in their projects. When these projects are featured in design magazines or on popular design websites and television shows, it can inspire viewers to use wallpaper in their own homes.

Popular reality TV and home makeover shows often showcase wallpaper, showing users how easy it is to transform a space using wallpaper trends. 

8. Social Media Influence

framed green wallpaper above a white sofa
If the wallpaper is that beautiful – frame it! Chinoiserie Chic, Jade – Rebel Walls

Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest have played a role in the revival of wallpaper, with beautifully styled photos showcasing wallpaper’s potential to transform a space. Users can browse endless pictures and videos of beautifully decorated rooms, many featuring wallpaper.

When people see an image they love, they’re more likely to want to recreate the look in their own homes.

Many social media platforms now allow users to tag products directly in their photos, or provide direct shopping links. This means that if a user sees a wallpaper they like in a photo, they can often click straight through to buy it.

With social media now being the no. 1 way to influence homes and designs, wallpaper brands are increasingly looking at ways to expand their reach, making their designs more accessible and sought after. 

Tips for Integrating Wallpaper into Your Home

red velvet headboard and floral wallpaper in the bedroom
Floral wallpaper works perfectly with velvet

Choosing the right wallpaper for your space can be an exciting but daunting task, given the myriad of options available. I love choosing wallpaper for my home and finding complementary paint to go with it.

Here are some tips to guide you through the process:

  1. Consider the Room: Each room in your home serves a different purpose and, therefore, might call for a different style or type of wallpaper. In a bedroom, you might want something soothing and tranquil, whereas, in a living area, you might want something more vibrant and lively. Additionally, for bathrooms or kitchens, consider water-resistant wallpapers due to high humidity levels.
  2. Think About Scale: The scale of the pattern should complement the size of your room. As a general rule, large-scale patterns can make a room feel smaller and are therefore better suited to large rooms, while small-scale patterns work well in smaller spaces. However, rules are meant to be broken, and a large-scale pattern in a small bathroom, for example, can make a bold and stylish statement.
  3. Color Choice: Consider the mood you want to create. Soft, cool colors and neutrals can create a calming effect, while bold and warm colors can make a space feel more energetic. If you have existing furniture and decor, make sure the wallpaper complements those colors. If you are starting from scratch, I always choose the wallpaper first, then pick out colors from the design and match it in paint, furniture, and soft furnishings, creating a cohesive look. 
  4. Use of Patterns: If you’re using a patterned wallpaper, be careful when introducing other patterns in the room. Too many patterns can make a room feel chaotic. A good rule of thumb is to pair a large-scale pattern with a smaller one, or a bold pattern with a more subtle one.
  5. Test Samples: Before making your final decision, order samples of your top choices and test them out in your space. Look at them in different lighting conditions, as colors and patterns can look different under natural and artificial light.
  6. Style Consistency: Your wallpaper should be in harmony with the overall style of your home. If you have a modern minimalist home, a traditional floral pattern might look out of place. However, don’t be afraid to mix styles in a way that works for you.
  7. Textured Wallpaper: Consider textured wallpaper if you want to add depth and interest to a room without introducing too much color or pattern.
  8. Installation and Removal: Consider how easy the wallpaper is to install and remove. Some types, like peel-and-stick, are much easier to work with than traditional wallpapers, especially if you plan to DIY.
  9. Trust Your Instincts: Trust your instincts and taste! While design principles can guide you, ultimately, your home should reflect your personal style and be a space that you love.
  10. Budget: Finally, keep your budget in mind. Wallpaper prices can vary greatly depending on the brand, material, and design.

Predictions for the Future of Wallpaper

As environmental consciousness continues to grow, expect to see even more emphasis on sustainable and eco-friendly wallpaper options.

This could include wallpapers made from recycled or biodegradable materials, produced using low-energy processes, and those that are free from harmful chemicals. With this emphasis on nature, botanical, woodland, and animal print will continue to be popular. 

With the advancement in printing technology, we might see more intricate and realistic 3D and textured wallpapers which can add depth and a tactile element to walls.

Personalization is a significant trend across many industries, and wallpaper is no exception. Customizable wallpaper where consumers can choose their patterns, and colors, or even upload their designs could become more popular.

Finally, AR and VR technology could revolutionize the wallpaper-buying process. For example, you could use AR to see how a wallpaper design would look in your home before buying it, making the selection process easier and more accurate.

a botanical print in a stairwell with period property staircase and lots of plants
Botanical and floral wallpaper is growing from strength to strength

Is wallpaper back in style? From a variety of trends, advancements in technology, and rising sustainability consciousness, it’s evident that wallpaper is indeed back in style. Over the past few years, wallpaper has made a significant comeback in the world of interior design.

With an increased variety in patterns and styles, advancements in material quality, ease of application, and endorsement by celebrities and influencers, wallpaper has once again become a favored choice for those seeking to make a stylish statement in their homes.

Modern wallpapers offer an incredible range of designs, from minimalist styles to bold, maximalist patterns. Innovations in wallpaper technology have resulted in options that are not only visually appealing but also easier to install and remove.

The growing popularity of sustainable interior design options also bodes well for wallpaper trends, with a push for eco-friendly materials and manufacturing processes.

Is wallpaper out of style? NO! It’s been reimagined for modern living and offers an excellent way to express personal style, experiment with trends, and transform spaces with texture, color, and pattern.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a very small commission if you click through and make a purchase. These links help to pay the editorial costs of writing a blog. For more information, read my full affiliate disclosure here.

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