The Little Detail You’re Forgetting to Wallpaper, But Absolutely Should
A British creative’s tips for going big with pattern.
Updated Oct 12, 2018 10:28 AM
We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.
2020 was the first year in decades when designers predicted a move away from open layouts. But Laura Hunter was ahead of the curve. When she and her husband, David, purchased their 1930s cottage in Oxfordshire, England, in August 2019, she reveled in the closed-off floor plan. “I loved that there were quite a few rooms where I could use different wallpapers,” says the mom of two, whose Instagram account seems dedicated to dainty floral prints.
In fact Hunter loves pattern so much that she ran out of walls in her own home to cover—so she started using her study as a laboratory of sorts: “I just repaper a wall and take a picture,” she explains. “It takes no time at all and I love doing them.” Here, she gave Domino her best tips on how to nail the allover print look in your own house.
Turn to Your Closet
“Choose a pattern that means something to you and is similar to things that you wear,” says Hunter. She looked at her wardrobe (full of romantic florals) before making wallpaper choices in her own house. “Do you wear a lot of leopard print or Ankara African designs? Use that as a base,” she recommends. She balanced out the botanical vibe with darker, moodier paint colors, like navy and moss.
Scale Down in Busy Rooms
“We use the main bedroom all the time, so I wanted a pattern that was small in scale, easy on the eye, and a little melancholic,” she explains. It now features Morris & Co.’s Blackthorn print, which Hunter paired with Valspar’s Wood Pigeon, a muddy green, on the closet doors. “I love the fact that the flowers are upside down. I wanted the type of bedroom that you read about in novels, where you come in from a bracing woodland walk, throw yourself on the bed, and ponder life,” she adds.
The wallpaper came first, so Hunter made sure every other textile referenced the dominant motif. “Both the quilt and headboard are vintage fabrics, and I used the greens and pinks as the color theme to guide me,” she explains.
Cover More Than Just the Walls
Hunter went even bolder in the guest bedroom, a space she uses less often (though it’s become an office in quarantine; she runs an education agency and her husband is a director at a housing developer). She landed on Morris & Co.’s larger-scale Strawberry Thief print. “I covered the light switches with wallpaper, too, which makes me so happy, because the pattern is completely unbroken,” she notes.
Hunter swaps accessories in here with abandon. “Sometimes I use linen bedding, which lightens the room, or I switch it for a dark Liberty print spread, which I like in the winter. It’s a nice room to play around with,” she explains.
Treat a Small Space as Testing Ground
Though the family bathroom upstairs is very much in line with the botanical theme—Hunter renovated it with hand-painted floral tile made bespoke by a local company—she departed from her comfort zone in the downstairs powder room, opting for a black and white print called Victorians Farting. “It’s funny and lighthearted; I think that’s what you want in a downstairs bathroom,” she says.
Balance It Out With Solids
Not every surface is fair game. “I don’t have wallpaper in the kitchen, halls, landing, bathrooms, or living room,” Hunter points out. The latter, the larger space in the house, is painted a navy blue to give the eye a break, though Hunter is planning a makeover in the new year. “I have no idea what color it will be yet, but I am reupholstering the sofa in a very heavily patterned floral, so I may do something softer. It has clean lines and wouldn’t traditionally be my style at all, but to cover it in a bold print feels like two decor worlds colliding,” she says.
Our Winter Renovation issue is here! Subscribe now to step inside Leanne Ford’s latest project—her own historic Pennsylvania home. Plus discover our new rules of reno.