Here’s the best thing about interior design: it’s an art and profoundly utilitarian. Okay, that’s two things but they’re inextricably tied. Because in the spaces you live and work, feeling and function go hand in hand.
The great news is there are — literally — wall-to-wall opportunities to create feeling and function through design. So we’re going to seize those opportunities at their most literal. Let’s talk about wallpaper.
It’s been tricky parsing out how to tackle this topic because there’s a bit of the old “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” conundrum. Or, in our case, the wallpaper or the upholstery fabric? Maybe you’re adding wallpaper and worried about how your existing upholstery plays into what you should choose. Or maybe you’re adding furniture (or reupholstering) and want ideas for how to factor in your existing wallpaper as you choose fabrics.
Since upholstery is our area of expertise, we’ll solve both problems by focussing on helpful fabric ideas and offering you insights from around the web for more in-depth wallpaper tips, too. For simplicity, we’ll break this up into three general categories we’re calling matchy-matchy (traditional), resize surprise (function focussed), and same-same (bold).
Matchy-Matchy: Help Your Wallpaper And Upholstery Complement Each Other
Wallpaper, as it turns out, is one of those things that can quickly make you want to give up and go back to bed. There are so many options and things to consider. But it can be simpler than you think. Remember, great design is about feeling and function. And you are the world’s leading authority on both of those subjects when it comes to your home.
More “traditional” or matchy-matchy design styles create spaces where wallpaper and upholstery complement each other. That’s a process of deciding what colors or patterns you want to draw the eye to.
Perhaps you have wallpaper with a busy pattern in a multitude of pale pastel colors. Pick two or three of those colors and bring them — or shades of them — into your furniture. Try a sofa in a neutral snow-white performance-grade chenille. And dress armchairs in raspberry pink tweed. Add natural textures to your accent decor to continue the theme.
Wallpaper that’s largely solid or subtly patterned is a great time to add pattern and pop to your upholstery. For instance, in a dining room with wallpaper in various deep gold tones, look for colors and patterns that harmoniously stand out against that color. Dining chairs in rich, eco-friendly plum purple velvet will do it. And frame windows in sheer gold leaf curtains to enhance the effect of the wallpaper.
The idea here is for upholstery and wallpaper to complement without overwhelming. Pick the colors and textures you most want to notice and sprinkle them around.
Resize Surprise: Time To Let Your Wallpaper Show You How To Live Large
The goal of design is, fundamentally, to make your space work, right? To help it feel and function in a way that lets you feel and function the way you want to. And just like the furniture you choose, wallpaper can help you get there. Because wallpaper has a superpower: it creates optical illusions.
Need a small space to feel bigger? Lezli at Square Inch Home offers a fantastic walkthrough of how you can do just that with wallpaper. Believe it or not, her bottom line is offering a bold pattern or print actually expands a space visually. Wide horizontal stripes add length just as vertical stripes add height. So suddenly that gorgeous mineral gray sofa with the left arm chaise that’s been feeling comfy but cramped looks just right in your space.
Your dining room chairs upholstered in white recycled leather seemed like a good idea, but in your small space, they’ve felt cluttered and out of place. Have them looking right at home even as you create a feeling of getting away with an accent wall with a full-on scenic overlook print adding depth to your room.
Now flip the script. Wrestling with a large space that just feels cold? You’ve got a stylish sofa decked out in cactus green chenille with a pair of small-scale diamond patterned birch gray chairs. But all that mid-century modern mystique is being swallowed by the size of the room.
Shrink your space with dark-toned wallpaper throughout. Or even just a dark accent wall behind the seating area. A little intention can go a long way to letting the full potential of your space and your upholstery really shine.
Same-Same: You Can Take Your Style To Bold New Heights With Wallpaper
Now things get really interesting. Wallpaper and upholstery work great together in all the ways we’ve explored so far, for sure. But for the truly bold, there’s a whole other level.
What if your upholstery and your wallpaper really matched? Like, exactly? Check out this article from Domino Magazine’s Kate McGregor, and prepare to have your mind blown. And, fear not, you live in an age where custom wallpaper has never been more accessible.
Fall in love with a floral heirloom burgundy fabric for your furniture and carry it through to your wallpaper. Not only does the feel of your space instantly transform, but also now furniture steps aside from center stage letting artwork and other treasures be the focus.
This can be a bit intimidating at first, at least that’s what Grace from A Storied Style thought. She’ll show you how she found her way and how you can too. Imagine taking a lagoon teal mandala patterned fabric into the bedroom and upholstering top to bottom in calming, uplifting tones. *Insert contented sigh*
One last bold idea for you. Look up. Yep, wallpaper the ceiling. Zahiri Curry at D.Signers offers some stunning examples in this video (plus her deep-dive take on choosing wallpaper). We particularly love how the dining room she shares with a blue patterned ceiling makes the dining chairs, loveseat, and throw pillows pop. Try a similar look yourself with chairs and a table runner in imperial blue faux silk, a loveseat in beige and gold chenille, and throw pillows in regal blue microsuede.
Wallpaper And Upholstery Are Your Interior Design Style’s New BFF
Like so many design trends, wallpaper has slipped in and out of vogue so many times that it’s finally found its way to being never out of style. (Funny how that seems to happen.) And it’s become a powerful tool to help create just the kind of design style that best serves your style.
Whether you’re updating your upholstery, wallpaper, or other home or office decor, you can bring your unique style together by trusting your instincts about what feel and function you’re after.
From there, take it traditional and simply tie it all together, combine the superpowers of wallpaper and upholstery to overcome structural challenges in your space, or go bold and really revel in a color or pattern to create a vibe or to let other accents shine — or all of the above.
As ever, we’ve got you covered for all your upholstery needs. And we’re happily standing by ready to help. Give us a call today.