The complete guide to wallpaper

Barneby Gates Chevron grey curtains

The complete guide to wallpaper

Why wallpaper?

  • It keeps its looks for far longer than paint and won’t flake or chip.
  • It is the easiest, least expensive way to give a room a distinctive look, from classic to contemporary.
  • It makes small rooms seem bigger.
  • It disguises uneven walls.
  • It ‘finishes’ a room with very little effort; a room decorated with a bold pattern won’t need much else.

Things to consider:

  • Most wallpaper is sold by a 10m roll.  10m can go a long way.  If you are on a budget, having a smaller repeat (the length of the pattern) will mean less wastage.
  • Lots of doors, windows and beams will mean more cutting in and more wastage.   Some rooms are very simple to paper and produce very little wastage.  Others are more complicated.
  • A good quality paper, not one that is too flimsy, will give a far better result.  Always ask for a sample before ordering and feel the quality of the paper as well as looking at the colour and design.
  • A good quality paper should not wrinkle or stretch and can even over small flaws.
  • Think about the mood you wish to create when selecting a design.  Formal or relaxed? Quirky or traditional?  Simple repeating patterns can work well in places you need to feel relaxed or spend a lot of time, whereas bold designs can be well suited to spaces you spend less time or want to make an impact.
  • A matt paper gives a very different effect to a paper with a sheen or metallic print.  Consider the look you want.
  • Think about the colours you are using in adjacent rooms. Picture yourself walking from room to room and how the change in backdrop will feel.
  • Trailing designs that run vertically from floor to ceiling can make walls look taller and ceilings higher.
  • Do you want to hang pictures? A simpler design or small repeating pattern is sometimes easier to use as a backdrop for pictures.
  • Follow your instincts and choose a design you love.  Then stick a sample on the wall and live with it for a week to see how it feels at different times of day and in different lights.
  • Consider how it has been printed.  Surface printed wallpapers give a great depth of colour, detail and texture.
  • Don’t be afraid of contrast.  A contemporary wallpaper with antique furniture can look stunning.  Don’t be afraid to mix old and new.

Ones to watch:


For contemporary style, Barneby Gates is a natural choice.  Founded, designed and produced by artist and print designer Alice Gates and former Vogue Living editor Vanessa Barneby, they have fused their creative skills to make the ultimate in chic interiors.    Each of their original and diverse designs are quintessentially British, ranging from tongue in cheek takes on British tradition to quirky to just plain pretty.

Chevron wallpaper, for details click here

Barneby Gates Chevron grey curtains

Pheasant wallpaper, for details click here

Barneby Gates Pheasant Camo Green wallpaper

Pineapple wallpaper, for details click here

Barneby Gates Pineapple wallpaper red pink


For relaxed chic, Molly Mahon is a natural choice.   Founded by printmaker Molly Mahon, who produces beautiful and original fabrics and wallpapers designed to create a warm welcoming atmosphere through block print repeat designs.  Molly describes her house as perfectly imperfect with children, dogs, various pets and other gatherings and wouldn’t want it any other way.  She believes there is something special about block printing that has stood the test of time and reflects the perfectly imperfect way we live our lives.

Spot and star wallpaper, for details click here

Girls bedroom pink wallpaper

Marwari horse wallpaper, for details click here

Molly Mahon Horses wallpaper blue

Fern wallpaper, for details click here

Molly Mahon Fern Mustard hand blocked wallpaper

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