Published on January 28, 2020

speckled blue wallpaper and stovetop with cookware on itPin It
PHOTOGRAPHY BY GENEVIEVE GARRUPPO

We’ll put wallpaper just about anywhere—powder rooms, ceilings, even on the tops of bar carts—but, for some reason, the kitchen has seemed off-limits. Why? Some will argue that it won’t last in a place that’s prone to moisture and food splatter. But as we learned from designer Kate Hamilton Gray, who covered her rental walls with Rebecca Atwood’s Dotted Leaves print, mildew is a non-issue if you give your paper a coat of water-resistant varnish and you’re quick with a dish towel. “I have the same attitude toward wallpaper as I do marble: Even though it’s this pristine thing, it should be a part of your life,” says Hamilton Gray. 

Florals reign supreme in Hamilton Gray’s space, but any kind of pattern can flatter even the saddest of kitchen areas. We found just the right spaces—seven, if you’re counting Hamilton Gray’s breezy blue room—to inspire you to grab a roll and some paste. No more excuses: You can absolutely wallpaper your kitchen. 

The Wildflower Wonder 

rustic wood cabinets and dark counters and black and green wallppaerPin It
Photography by Mariko Reed

When Joanne Duong Bartels and Luke Bartels left San Francisco’s Outer Sunset neighborhood for the Windy City, they brought California’s free-spirited vibes with them. The couple’s newly renovated Chicago kitchen features a scene of tulips, crocuses, dandelions, and forget-me-nots—a design courtesy of the king of botanical illustrations, Josef Frank. 

The Sneak Peek of Spring

open shelves with wallpaper floral design and mint and pink platesPin It
Photography by Ezz Wilson

Can’t commit to all the walls? The inside of your cupboards is a great place to start. Inspired by rom-com kitchens from the 1990s (think Sleepless in Seattle), Ezz Wilson opted for this pastel floral covering, which is—wait for it!—totally temporary. And though you could carefully remove your cabinet doors during installation and then screw them back in, keeping the gap open offers a refreshing peekaboo moment. 

The Citrus Statement

white galley kitchen with lemon wallpaperPin It
Photography by Melo Drama

If you’re hoping to capture the essence of summer (and then hold onto it year-round), look no further than a zesty citrus print. Not only is it decidedly fitting for the kitchen, but it’s not super overwhelming on a large scale, as stylist Krys Melo proved. She took lemons…and made some seriously sweet lemonade.

The Cabinet Compromise

bar stools overlooking kitchen with pink and blue wallpaper wallPin It
Photography by Robert Peterson

You might not think you have enough surface area to justify wallpaper, but one basic demolition can take care of that. The only real renovation actress Lauren Cohan and designer Brian Patrick Flynn made to her Atlanta apartment was removing the upper cabinets, and it instantly made the room feel more open—it also allowed the blossoms to take center stage. 

The One-Off Accent

tangerine wallpaper with open shelves and small counter nookPin It
Photography by Katherine Holland

A white wall behind plain open shelves is a blank slate begging to be transformed. Look closely at this space that blogger Autumn Hachey designed for a friend, and you’ll notice that the tangerine wallpaper isn’t one big panel but rather a bunch of individual decals, which she scored for $75 per pack. 

The Refined Graffiti 

large kitchen island with half the wall in subway tile and the other in orange wallpaperPin It
Photography courtesy of Black Lacquer Design

In this Black Lacquer–designed space, Kelly Wearstler’s trademark pattern brings real attitude to the subway tile. The tall height of the backsplash is definitely crucial in this case, as Wearstler’s wall covering is made of grass cloth. Still, it proves that even a little bit of a bright pattern can make a major impact.

See more stories like this: 
The Wallpaper You’re About to See Everywhere
Yes, You Can Wallpaper Your Rental
Bright and Unexpected Wallpaper Ideas for the Hallway

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