Miami Herald (Sunday)

How to wow with wallpaper

- BY SARAH LYON Special to The Washington Post BY CATHY HOBBS Tribune News Service

If television shows have you convinced that a magazine-ready home can be achieved in a snap, profession­al designers will quickly rid you of that idea. “There is this fantasy of an HGTV-style reveal, walking into a home that’s 100% done – either by you or a decorator – but in reality, that happens for very few,” says Colleen Simonds, a designer based in Pittsburgh.

And, really, who wants a space that looks as if it was assembled all at once, giving furniture showroom vibes? Simonds and other designers agree that thoughtful­ly curating a space over time yields more satisfying results. So don’t treat the process like an item you need to cross off your checklist. Resist the urge to have your home – or even a room – done. Instead, embrace the idea of letting the space evolve gradually, which may keep you from having regrets later.

Need help getting started? We spoke with several design profession­als about how to take your time when decorating, including key pitfalls to avoid. The experts also weighed in on whether impulse buys ever do make sense – and what to consider before taking that one-of-a-kind vintage find home.


Developing a design strategy is an essential part of preparing your space for purchases you may make later on, says Karen Rohr, an interior designer with Mackenzie Collier Interiors, which operates in Phoenix and Portland, Oregon. “Planning and not rushing your decisions is key to a successful aesthetic in your interiors,” Rohr says. “If you’re doing things on your own, you need to treat the project slowly and think about all the little things before starting to purchase, as you’re your own designer.”

This means keeping layout, color palettes and budget top of mind, she

In case you haven’t noticed, wallpaper is back – and it appears that it’s here to stay. A signature staple in the ‘70s, wallpaper later fell from favor. Labeled “dated,” those looking for bold color opted for painted accent walls instead of wallpaper.

These days, wallpaper can be used in a variety of ways from residentia­l to commercial settings, and for many designers it’s the go-to choice for bringing in graphics, prints and color.

Looking for ways to incorporat­e wallpaper into your home? Here are some top tips.


Do use wallpaper as an accent wall.

Do use wallpaper in spaces where you wish to incorporat­e graphics and color.

Do blend an inspiratio­nal wall color with wallpaper to create a cohesive look.

Do use wallpaper to

AAAAhelp add height or elongate a space.

Do use wallpaper such as grass cloth to add texture.


Don’t blend different patterns of wallpaper in the same space.

Don’t place big wallpaper prints in small spaces such as bathrooms.

Don’t overlook an opportunit­y to use wallpaper in creative ways such as on a ceiling.

Don’t assume that wallpaper has to bring in an element of color or pattern. Wallpaper can bring a sense of calm and neutrality to spaces as well.

Don’t be afraid to go bold and make an inspiratio­nal state or create a focal point using wallpaper.

AAAAAWhen it comes to selecting furniture, designers say to fill your home with pieces from multiple retailers rather than from one or two places. “Matching sets are not desirable,” Simonds says. “Rooms need mixed-up elements to feel alive.”

For example, purchase nightstand­s from a different retailer from where you bought your headboard, she says, and buy side chairs from a company other than the one that sold you your sofa. Also consider adding a storied piece to each space. “Every room should have at least one vintage piece, reworked or not,” Simonds says.

Plus, exploring various vendors – rather than filling up an online shopping cart and calling it a day – can be a financiall­y sound approach. “Taking the time to save up for quality purchases works when you have a plan and vision for your home,” says Maggie Stephens, a designer on Bainbridge Island in Washington state. “Better to invest in well-made pieces that you’ll have for decades than particlebo­ard that breaks next time you move.”


Designers are also deliberate about acquiring accessorie­s and other small items. New York designer Isabella Patrick picks up many of her smaller pieces while traveling. “Pillows, frames, trays, candles and smaller sculptures are so versatile, and the right assortment must be carefully curated over time,” she says. “I would say that 90% of our art and accessorie­s have a story behind them.”

Simonds agrees that accumulati­ng special objects is an ongoing process. “Most people aren’t born with instant collection­s,” she says. And it doesn’t have to be a costly process. Try displaying framed children’s artwork, books and magazines, she says. “Instead of rushing out to buy all new things, think about what you already have that can bring personalit­y to a space.”


As much as designers believe in decorating a home over time, they understand that it can be tempting to make an impulse purchase, whether you’re browsing an estate sale or visiting a favorite secondhand store. But limit yourself to pieces that are “somewhat practical,” Patrick says. A set of chairs may be perfect for a living room or office space. Artwork, on the other hand, is trickier, especially if it’s vibrant or large.

Before you purchase home items on a whim, Patrick says, visualize where the piece will fit in your space – the more possibilit­ies, the better – and determine why it appeals to you. “If it’s unusual and that drew you to it, is it too odd? Or is it unique, a conversati­on starter and something that will bring you joy?”

 ?? SCOTT GABRIEL MORRIS TNS ?? Developing a design strategy also means keeping layout, color palettes and budget top of mind. In this seating area, accent chairs and artwork add a sense of richness.
SCOTT GABRIEL MORRIS TNS Developing a design strategy also means keeping layout, color palettes and budget top of mind. In this seating area, accent chairs and artwork add a sense of richness.
 ?? SCOTT GABRIEL MORRIS TNS ?? Wallpaper adds interest and a graphic element in a small office space.
SCOTT GABRIEL MORRIS TNS Wallpaper adds interest and a graphic element in a small office space.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States