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Old Wallpaper vs. New Wallpaper

Wallpaper has a reputation. Some of it is esteemed in it’s history and it’s influence by and in culture. Some of it’s reputation is marred, particularly in the last 60 years as a living generation of people were stuck with having to remove the very dated and very stubborn paper. Yet lately it’s making a real comeback. What’s different? What has changed? Has everyone simply forgotten those wallpaper horrors? Or is there something different about today’s wallpaper. Has the industry remedied it’s collective black-eye? In this article we’ll compare old wallpaper vs. new wallpaper and discuss the differences, the advances and what, if anything, is still holding it back.

When I mention the word “wallpaper” to my mother, I get a look. The cringed distorted twisting of her face reveals to me that her experience was less than pleasant. But I remember growing up through the 80’s and seeing wallpaper on the wall. And if memory serves me correctly, it was there until about the early 90’s. I vaguely remember the experience of removing the wallpaper and it was a bit like removing a price-sticker where the the sticky paper backing actually rips and stays stuck while only the glossy top layer is removed. Then you’re having to find a way to scrape off the rest. Since the mid-90’s, I don’t ever remember seeing wallpaper in the house again.

The last five years has brought a sea change. You won’t see young interior designers having the same revulsion to wallpaper. In fact, everything I see is hailing wallpaper like a hot new trend. And oddly enough, I’m not seeing complaints about the removal from anyone that has installed paper in the last few years either. So let’s see where wallpaper has changed when it comes to design, purpose, application and removal.


When you think of old wallpaper, you probably have a distinct idea of what that looks like. Now we can go way back centuries ago, but this isn’t a history lesson. If you want to learn a brief history of wallpaper, read this post called a A Short History Of Wallpaper. No, I’m talking about wallpaper from the 50’s through the 80’s. What does it looks like? It’s largely floral and sometimes features lots of pastel colours.

vintage bathroom with floral wallpaper around the top of the room.

New wallpaper, however, because of taste or technology is limitless.  Whether your tastes are floral, geometric or industrial, you’ll be able to pretty much find anything you’re looking for.  In the age of the internet, your personal taste is a few clicks away. Many places will even create custom murals that will fit your wall’s exact dimensions. However, another difference between Old Wallpaper vs. New Wallpaper is you can now find wallpaper that mimics other popular decor trends. Whether it’s the timber tones in shiplap, the bathroom tile look of herringbone or the appearance of a brick wall, new wallpapers offer such realistic looking designs that the appearance is identical to the actual thing.

Laundry room with faux brick wallpaper called Soft White Bricks from Milton & King

photo courtesy of @beesnburlap on Instagram


The purpose of Old Wallpaper was largely aesthetic.  Function wasn’t really a consideration a generation ago.  The last time function may have been considered was over a century ago when wallpaper served to help insulate a home.  Throughout the 20th century, wallpaper was about style.  The decorative purpose isn’t lost on new wallpaper, however.  It remains probably the number one reason people choose wallpaper.  However, there are other reasons people are choosing wallpaper now.

Because such great strides have been made in modern interior decor and wallpaper has been created to meet the needs of interior designers, wallpaper has been purposed to make narrow rooms feel wide, short rooms feel taller and shallow rooms feel deeper.  Focusing on accent walls, where one wall has wallpaper setting it apart from the rest of the room or cleverly using horizontal and vertical lines can change the feel of a room’s dimensions.  And now that new wallpaper boasts designs that give the impression of other materials like marble, metal, brick or timber, the purpose of wallpaper can change the entire aesthetic of a home.

Sitting room with grey loveseat and horizontal black and white striped wallpaper


Old wallpaper required the installer to soak the paper to activate the adhesive on the paper. This made wallpaper hanging a long, tedious process. There are a few different options available in new wallpaper that make it a much more pleasant experience to hang nowadays. The two most common methods of application for modern wallpapers is paste-the-wall and peel-and-stick. Peel-and-stick is commonly the method for applying a vinyl wallpaper. It is literally like putting up a giant sticker. Paste-the-wall is usually the application of choice for higher quality wallpapers with a non-woven backing.  This method requires the installer to apply the paste to the wall and then hang the dry wallpaper. This allows someone to hang and adjust the wallpaper, smoothing out any bumps and getting rid of any imperfections before the paste dries and the wallpaper sets. Both methods are much easier on the installer and save more time.

woman applying paste to the wall to hang Earth Grey Brick Wallpaper by Milton & King

photo courtesy of @thestagedlife on Instagram


Removal has probably been the biggest black eye to the wallpaper industry. It’s the memory of the tedious task and the aftermath of walls stuck with left over ripped pieces of paper that turned off nearly an entire generation. But those days are no more. If you get yourself a decent quality modern wallpaper, chances are removal is now a cinch.  Some wallpapers are even reusable. Wallpaper with a non-woven backing can be peeled off dry and the only clean up it leaves behind is perhaps some paste that can be cleaned with warm soapy water. The real key to removing modern wallpaper is in the application process. As long as any paint is dry and walls are cleaned and smoothed at the application stage, wallpaper removal won’t leave you with the headache it left your grandmother.

A before and after photo of a foyer showing a bare wall on the left and a wallpapered wall on the right with Abu Dhabi wallpaper in Babylon colourway by Milton & King

photo courtesy of @krissaleahdubois on Instagram

When discussing Old Wallpaper vs. New Wallpaper, the industry has made great advances in design and technology that will make for a better experience in the application and removal of the wallpaper. This has allowed consumers greater freedom to play and experiment with their interiors and allow them to change things up more frequently. Advances will continue to be made that make wallpaper an enjoyable product that provides people with satisfaction and a sense of individuality when decorating their homes and offices. As long as the industry progresses, it’s only obstacle will be proving to generations now and into the future that the dark ages of 20th century wallpaper will stay a thing of the past.

A History of Wallpaper


We wanted to hit rewind and take you back to where it all begun…for us anyway! We have a lot to thank for the roots of wallpaper, for they have given us the gift of ever growing art, design and creativity, all to be splashed on the walls that surround us. So, for those eager eyes wanting to get a little bit educated on how wallpaper was brought into our lives, keep on reading!

Wallpaper has been around for thousands of years, in all sorts of variations. There are many records of wall art or wall decorations being used as early as 13th Century England. Considering this, there isn’t an accurate date as to when wallpaper or wall art actually came about. The Chinese have been hanging decorated rice paper with delicate designs dating back to thousands of years ago, however it wasn’t until the Europeans adapted the wallpaper trend for it to be introduced to the western world, somewhere between early 15th and 16th Century England. At this time, wallpaper imitated fabric designs through block patterns and applying colour carefully by hand. A patient and time-consuming task, we can only imagine the magic they would have embodied with each brush stroke!

Upon its not-so-humble beginnings, wallpaper was exclusive for only the most affluent families, thanks to the high price mark.  Used to brighten up households with vibrant colour and design, it was evident once walking through the doors that the home meant serious business. By the mid 1600’s, wallpaper started to trickle down the hierarchy and became popular and available to less affluent families.

An element of wallpaper that is often forgotten from its origins is that wallpaper was designed with usually floral or architectural borders around the edges, almost to frame a room or the intricate design that spread between. However, this was purely to hide the tacks that held the wallpaper up in the desired position.  A sneaky tool with grand effect, right?

England and France took on the lead role for manufacturing and producing wallpapers, which serviced all of Europe. In 1785, French and German entrepreneur Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf changed the game by introducing a revolutionary machine, which could print coloured tints on sheets of paper. Snowballing off this idea, a gentleman names Louis-Nicolas Roberts birthed a machine in 1799, which could produce continuous sheets of paper (this machine became the basis of the Fourdrinier Machine!). And just like that, the first wallpaper machines were manufactured, making continuous sheets of coloured patterns available. By the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, wallpaper had become an export to countries all around the world, such as North America and China.

Fast forward to late 20th century, wallpaper was considered a necessity in households, and often boasted retro colours with bold floral patterns and prints. Designers and artists such as Andy Warhol saw it as an opportunity to create unique prints with a luxury stamp for consumers to drape throughout their home. The 20th century prints were all about contrasts and textures, not for the faint of heart.

Today, wallpaper is used to shape the entire feel of your home. It can mimic a material or texture, and create an environment in your space that is from thousands of miles away.  We use it to spice up a feature wall, or interactive and playful for our children. Wallpaper is a technology that is ever-changing through trends and textures, and we can’t wait to see what comes next!

A History of Wallpaper infographic

Interior Tips, Wallpaper

Monochrome Wallpapers To Use In Your Home

Black and white patterns, also referred to as monochrome, have been the ‘it’ style for as long as we can remember and this trend isn’t in any hurry to leave – which makes us so happy! Monochrome patterns add a sense of elegance to any space all while staying in touch with the minimalist vibes you’ve created throughout the rest of your home. We’ve picked 5 of the best monochrome wallpapers to put throughout your home to achieve this highly sought after look.



Taking inspiration from the canyons that live in the west of North America, Canyon is a rustic monochrome look with an earthy colour scheme. This wallpaper fits in effortlessly in any room of the house as its soft colours offer a sense of ‘grounding’ and pull the whole room together in a way you might have not expected.


Boom Box

What better way to add a splash of monochrome than with Boom Box? This retro print is the perfect addition to any kid or teenagers room, with it’s funky and minimalist design, you’ll easily be able to pair it with the rest of the room. Boom Box is a pattern that will never tire, constantly bringing its feel good, monochrome vibes.



Looking for a monochrome design that offers a sense of depth and intrigues everyone who sees it? Woodland is the wallpaper for you! An array of beautifully illustrated woodland creatures live peacefully together in this monochrome design that adds a texture and a little bit of fun to your walls. Perfect for a living room or a study, this design is perfect for achieving the monochrome look in an unusual, but perfect, way.



This texture has been the ‘it’ look in the monochrome world for a very long time, and for good reasons! Marble adds a cool, calm, and sophisticated edge to any wall in your house with its effortless design of grey veins weaving through the white background. If you’re looking to spice up your kitchen, bathroom or even your living room Marble is the perfect wallpaper to add a smooth and chic look in a heartbeat – something that will have all lovers of monochrome swooning over.

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Leo’s Spots

Playful, fun spirited and versatile – Jillian Harris has created the perfect little pattern that effortless compliments any and every decorating style. Leo’s Spots acts as a consistent backdrop while paying homage to the beauty of minimalist interior design, making it super easy to have Leo’s Spots along for the ride no matter how your style might change.

These are our 5 go-to designs to effortless achieve a monochrome look throughout your home. We can’t wait to see which one you pick up, let us know which wallpaper is your favourite!

Interior Tips, Wallpaper

You Won’t Be Able To Resist These Cute Wallpaper Designs

If you know you want to treat your walls to some new wallpaper but want to avoid something run-of-the-mill, we have the answer! Gaze your eyes over these 5 cute and irresistible wallpaper designs that suit any room, at any age for any house!


Polkadot Dreams

Brighten up any room in an instant with this super cute and fun design. Polkadot Dreams takes this classic design to a whole new level with dots covers in solid colours, floral, and tiny polkadots inside bigger ones! It’s the perfect print to put in a playroom or even a reading room for a cute look that brings a relaxing yet upbeat vibe.



It’s always a party when there’s confetti involved, and this print is no exception! Confetti adds a beautifully subtle texture to your walls with a pop of colour that is both vibrant and soft. Perfect for modern nurseries or a feature wall in your entertainment space, Confetti is sure to add that ‘little something extra’ you always felt was missing from your space.

Paula Coop_A Slice_1

A Slice

The perfect way to put a little summertime on your walls all year long is Paula Coop McCrory’s A Slice. This bright, bold and nostalgic design pours happy and fun vibes not only into the room you choose to treat; but your entire house! A Slice is an effortless way to relive all of your fondest summer memories while making your space feel as light-as-air.


Bear and Butterfly

Bear and Butterfly is the ultimate cute wallpaper to feature in your little one’s nursery. This gorgeous hand-illustrated design is cute, soft and full of warmth – leaving your little one to dream of grand adventures with this adorable duo during their fundamental years.


Hugs and Kisses

Give you walls the love they deserve with the irresistibly cute Hugs and Kisses design. This black and white pattern offers a sleek look while adding it’s own soft, fun twist with little hearts scattered throughout. This cute pattern is perfect for your teenager’s room or even as a feature room in your workplace office or break room to add a splash of cute and fun to your working environment.

While there are countless of patterns that are just as cute, these 5 take the top spots in our hearts and on our list! Let us know which one of these designs will you be splattering on your walls, we can’t wait to see what you pick!


5 Reasons to Choose Wallpaper over Paint

So you’ve decided to decorate or redecorate your room, how exciting! With so many interior options to choose from, it can be a little overwhelming – especially when it comes to choosing between painting or putting up wallpaper. To make the choice a little easier, we’ve come up with 5 reasons why to wallpaper or a mural instead of paint.

Super durable and easy to clean

Unlike paint, wallpaper is a very durable material. If you just moved in or have little ones running around the house, not to worry! Unlike paint, if you bump into wallpaper it won’t chip, dent or scratch. If you did happen to get a mark on the wallpaper then that too is not a problem as wallpaper is so easy to clean! All you’ll need is a sponge, some water and soap and you’re good as new. The Balloons wallpaper is the perfect wallpaper to paste up in your kids room for these reasons. Finished with two coats with a formulated glaze, wallpaper like Balloons is incredibly durable and fade resistant.

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Available in different designs and textures

Another great reason to choose wallpaper over paint is simply because of the vast availabilities of designs and textures they come in. To add depth of character to any room, choosing a wallpaper that features an ‘offbeat’ design and texture is the perfect way to do so. Wallpapers such as Recycled Timber and Bronze and Cooper are amazing examples of this. With their unique looks and textures, they add a rustic, homey feel to any room in an instant.

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Visual Appeal  

Building off of how wallpaper adds to the character of the room with their design and textures, wallpaper has an overall visual appeal that paint can sometimes lack. If you love vintage vibes but are looking to have a ‘feature’ vintage piece, vintage wallpaper is the perfect option. Chevallier and Lime Washed Bricks are so visually appealing and effortlessly add vintage vibes throughout the entire room.

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People can sometimes be deterred from choosing wallpaper with the fear of having to put it up themselves. But what a lot of people don’t know is that there are so many wallpapers that are perfect for the home handyman! Take Snow Drop wallpaper, for example, made with hardwearing, non-woven, paste-the-wall wallpaper this is the perfect choice for both domestic and commercial applications that can be done by you all while having a professional finish.

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Standout features 

Finally, wallpaper or mural is so great for standout features. If you’re a minimalist who still searches for that one standout feature, wallpaper and murals are your answer. You can choose from funky patterns or even an entire wall mural. It doesn’t have to be your token beach scene or New York skyline, while those are super dreamy, take it up a notch with Solar System or Ocean Meets Sky. These unique murals add a calming yet striking presence to any room, one that you couldn’t quite create with paint.


Retro Print Revival

If you love the 50’s retro, vintage era and want to splatter it all over your walls, we’ve picked 6 of the best retro wallpapers for you to swoon over!

Processed with VSCO with e1 presetHalcyon

Amp up the retro vibes with Halcyon; this relaxing tropical vacation transports you to easier times. A beige background accompanied by deep, rich colors brings retro to the entire room, perfect for the days you when find yourself wishing you were sitting beachside.

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Looking for a way to add depth, character and uniqueness in a retro way to your walls? Look no further than Picture This. This one of a kind wallpaper features picture frames of all different shapes, sizes and colors that any retro lover will swoon over. Picture This suits any room and causes for a second look every time you see it – and all for the right reasons!

Processed with VSCO with e1 presetVintage French Maps

What better way to add retro into your home or work than with Vintage French Maps? Aesthetically pleasing, educational and informative, what’s not to love about this contemporary twist on an old-school favourite. It’s also a perfect way to fuel that wanderlust as you grab your suitcase and set off on your very own retro-inspired journey.

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Mixed Tapes

Nothing is more retro than Mixed Tapes. This unique, edgy wallpaper is an ode to the days of making and remaking mix tapes, choosing the perfect order and the perfect artists for the mix tape vibes. It’s intriguing, characteristic and playful in a retro wallpaper just for you!

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Gosport St Milk Bar

The retro era is known for it’s bold, bright while unique, and Gosport St Milk Bar captures this perfectly. An array of old soda crates transports you to a 50’s Aussie summer in a cool and quirky way, all while having you wish you could delve deep into those retro vibes and join in on all the fun! Perfect for any room and any season, Gosport St Milk Bar is the wallpaper of your retro dreams.

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Tropical Flamingos

Okay okay, we’ve said it a lot so far but how retro can you be when it comes to Tropical Flamingos?! This bright, quirky and fresh wallpaper oozes retro from every corner of the room and will have you feeling deep in a funky jungle of pink flamingos, in no rush to leave whatsoever.

We love all of these retro inspired wallpapers perfect for the retro lover inside us all, we can’t wait to see which one you treat your wall too!



It’s A Boy: Perfect Wallpapers For Your Little Man’s First Nursery

Hooray, you just found out it’s a boy! Bringing home a little boy to join in all the family fun is such an amazing and exciting time but you may find piecing together the perfect boy nursery is a little trickier! With so many do’s and don’ts for nursery’s it’s easy to feel stuck in a world full of choices. You should create a fun and loving environment that reflects you as parents but also one that will entertain and calm your little one as he’ll be spending the first few years in this new little haven. We’ve chosen 6 of our favorite wallpapers for a playful boys nursery.

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Beach House

Turn your boy’s nursery into a relaxing underwater world with this whale inspired wallpaper. Fun drawings and soft blues make this the perfect wallpaper to accompany your little one’s growing curiosity and is perfect for when he gets a little older too.

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Hosts all of the cutest animals in the land on your nursery wall with this beautifully illustrated wallpaper. Not only will it be as if your boy always has his animal pals with him, but it’s a fun way for them to start learning animal names while they spend the majority of their fundamental years in the nursery.

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Planes and Helicopters  

What better way to kick-start your child’s imagination than with the Planes and Helicopter wallpaper? This soft design will have your little one dreaming of faraway adventures that he can take in his flying machine, oh the places he’ll go. The neutral blue tones make this wallpaper super easy to style with, leaving room for a number of statement pieces to be added to the nursery.

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Run Away and Join The Circus  

Come one, come all to the greatest show in town – your nursery! The Runaway and Join The Circus wallpaper is the perfect choice for parents looking for standout wallpaper; with pops of bright colors and lots of fun characters it’s a nifty addition to any boy’s nursery.

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What little boy (or girl even) wouldn’t want their nursery wall decked out in the cutest cars and trucks? Trucks is the go-to wallpaper for a fun, easy going look in your nursery and while the red and blue color scheme seems a bolder choice, it leaves so much room for you to fill the nursery with color neutral items, making the rest of your interior designing easy-peasy.

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This adorable wallpaper pattern shows these animal friends enjoying everything Paris has to offer. Paris is a design and color scheme you’ll love working with as it adds a little interest as you see what each pair of friends are up to while keeping the overall look simple and easy to match.

Let us know your favorites in the comments below!


It’s Only Unconventional Until You Put It Up

Let your wallpaper express who you are! Unconventional wallpapers have a special and dominant effect on a room, which is why adorning your walls with an eccentric pattern can often create magic. Whether you have chosen a bold print to emphasize a feature wall or you are creating a ‘dress to impress’ approach wall-to-wall, we have selected our boldest prints to satisfy your creative appetite…..and remember it’s only unconventional until you put it up!

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Wawani Birds is a wonderfully alive seamless wallpaper pattern, that is sure to breathe life into anywhere it is installed. Light, loose and relaxing this adorable wallpaper is perfect for any setting.

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This pattern is a collection of creatures from under the sea, created as part of a set of patterns. No scaly or slimy creatures here – these brightly patterned dudes are fancy free – enjoying a sea change. The pattern uses a coherent style, drawing on folk art patterning and graphic techniques across the character groups.

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Plus sign is a delightful print, which delivers a combination of cool and classic to the modern interior.

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Ooh la la! A stunning designer wallpaper that in turn is aesthetically pleasing, educational and informative. Vintage French Maps is a contemporary twist on those classrooms from bygone days where the walls were covered in maps.

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Watercolour Birds is a stimulating watercolour pattern that is truly a breath of fresh air. All colours of the rainbow scattered lovingly across this homage to our winged friends.

Let us know your favorites in the comments below!


Flower Power

Despite the perception that floral prints should belong solely in ‘grandma’s’ bedroom, florals have been all the rage this year, from time-honoured bouquets to bold leaf pattern’s they have been taking center stage on wallpapers and fabrics.

To inspire some ‘flower power’ in your home, we have selected some of our top picks, from ostentatious bouquets in strong colors to a delicate posy of field flowers, whatever your taste we have it covered, allowing you to create a special atmosphere in any room yearning for some floral invigoration.

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Sture is vivid and very much alive, watch it bloom and illuminate your wall. This is an evolution of a classic floral and is set to breathe life into the most mundane space.

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Friday Floral beautiful, bright and whimsical floral wallpaper that’s ideal for the warm colorful days of summer. Perfect for powder rooms or bedrooms this floral wallpaper will add a big dose of cheer to your space.

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As the name suggests Flower Bomb is an explosion and celebration of floral and colors. Look closer and you will not only discover flowers in all shapes, sizes, and colors but some very well hidden insects lured to investigate these impressive, vivid and lively bouquets.

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The Flora wallpaper design is a bold floral with unique illustrated line work. The colorway options available make it a versatile décor option. It is available in Original Black, Cocoa and Yellow Mist.

Let us know your favorites in the comments below!


5 Tips For Choosing The Right Wallpaper For Your Space

Wallpapers are a great way to add interest and colour to any room. However, choosing the right wallpaper for your space is equally as important as instaling it perfectly. Here is a list of 5 tips to consider before investing in a particular pattern to ensure you choose the right one for your space, style and project.

  • Look At A Lot Of Patterns
    When looking for the perfect wallpaper design, look at a large variety of designs and consider all of the options. Follow us on Pinterest and create a folder or board of images that you love and then imagine them in your own space. Don’t get too caught up on one particular pattern too soon and remember to keep a relatively open mind when it comes to choosing the right wallpaper for your space.
  • Get Samples
    As you would with a paint sample, you should always grab a sample of the wallpapers you are considering too. Temporarily attach it to the wall where you want it to be applied and quietly observe it over the next few days. This will help you notice how it looks at different times of the day as well as how it matches the furniture and other items in the space. You can order samples of any of our wallpapers, just add them to cart and select the sample size online.
  • Have A Theme
    If you have a room or home theme, try to stick with that when choosing your wallpaper design. This will ensure the space matches and flows with the rest of your home and doesn’t appear out of place or strange. This will also help in guaranteeing that the design matches perfectly with the décor items and your own personal style too.

Choosing The Right Wallpaper | Milton & King

  • Understand Colours
    If you have a smaller sized room, consider using a lighter shade of wallpaper like Flower Garden (Blues) to trick the mind into thinking the room is larger and the ceilings higher. Darker coloured wallpapers will tend to bring the walls in and make the room visually appear smaller in size. Additionally, colours also can make a big difference in your personal feelings. Cooler colours put across tranquillity whereas warm colours appear to make a space feel warmer. So, the purpose and mood of the room will have a big impact when you are choosing a wallpaper for your space.
  • Pattern Size
    The scale of the pattern of the wallpaper can completely change the room dynamics. A larger scale print tends to make a room feel more intimate whilst a smaller pattern gives the illusion of more space and light. Observe your room and understand what you want to achieve with the wallpaper.

Choosing the right wallpaper can be a hard task if you don’t know exactly know what you are looking for or what you want to accomplish in your room. If you need some assistance in knowing what to consider when purchasing a wallpaper, we hope these five tips give you some guidance in making a confident decision to select the perfect wallpaper.