Published on March 27, 2020

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Courtesy of ChromaSF

Sure, wallpaper looks great on its own, but when it’s surrounded by bland white ceilings and moldings, it’s not exactly reaching its full potential. Experts know this all too well. “Framing wallpaper with colorful millwork is like the cherry on top of a design sundae,” says New York City–based designer Ariel Okin, who loves to match architectural details with vivid prints and colors.

She isn’t the only one to use the time-tested combination. Decorators have been mixing and matching paints and fabrics for decades. And with the return of maximalism, this trend is once again seeing its moment in the spotlight. “We typically see trim as a way to elevate the overall space,” says designer Zoe Feldman. “It should absolutely frame the paper, much like a piece of art.” Convinced? Make your wall coverings shine with these powerful combos from some of our favorite pros. 

For a French Retro Vibe

I am crazy for this pattern! It’s the perfect mix of all things French and ’70s. It’s a traditional style, but the colors feel very retro to me. I would pair it with a pale pink trim to freshen it up. Farrow & Ball’s Pink Ground is always a good idea. —Summer Thornton, principal at Summer Thornton Design

 For a Groovy Statement

Our print is inspired by the swirling marbleized motifs that became popular in Europe during the 17th century, when they were used to line books and furniture. I’d match this vibrant pattern with something simple and more modern, like Farrow & Ball’s Strong White paint—one of our perennial favorites. —Beata Heuman, founder of Beata Heuman

For an Alice in Wonderland Moment

Maison C’s Natura Morte is a beautiful, quirky pattern inspired by Surrealism. I have it on my entry wall. The pink roses look like they’re out of an old-school chintz, and the china plates are almost identical to some of my grandmother’s tableware. The fallen chess pieces and penciled busts all just feel as if they belong together in the most random way. Right now, I’m installing a client’s bathroom in the Forest colorway, and the ceiling will match the green background, so it will be a magical oasis. —Chiara de Rege, cofounder of Maison C

For an Enchanted Forest Feel

De Gournay’s L’Eden hand-painted wallpaper is made to order and customizable. By balancing the landscape with ample negative space, you can create a zen secret garden space. I’d mix it with Benjamin Moore’s Castle Peak Gray for a modern moment. —Alexis Tompkins, cofounder of Chroma  

For a Fire Truck Effect

This Sister Parish print is a classic, and I love it with a chili red ceiling or trim, like Blazer by Farrow & Ball. I would also love it on window casings in a playroom—how fun would that be!? —Ariel Okin 

For a Classic Twist

I love how this Divine Savages design juxtaposes classicism and irreverence. To play up the paper’s more whimsical side, I like Farrow & Ball’s Pelt, which picks up the subtle rosy undertones while adding contrast and drama. —Zoe Feldman

For an Aviary Theme

I adore Maison C’s Tancho in Goldwyn Pink. It’s in my dining room. I love walking in every morning and feeling like the cranes are dancing. Everyone thinks it’s hand-painted, and the walls just draw you in, so you don’t want to leave. It’s very mural-like. For the trim, I’d use Farrow & Ball’s Pointing. Or I’d have my painter match the background hue. —de Rege

For a Garden Party Look

I absolutely love Lulie Wallace’s gorgeous patterns. Produced locally in the Carolinas, each design is carefully crafted from Lulie’s original sketches and paintings. This print reminds me of Portuguese tiles, and it would look so nice with Farrow & Ball’s Green Ground. —Okin 

For Two Takes on One Sweet Print

This is a sweet little pattern that makes me feel very nostalgic. I’m obsessed with mini prints, and cherries make it even better! I like the idea of mixing it with an earthy terracotta and using it in a pretty powder room or a charming nursery. —Thornton

Antoinette Poisson’s wallpapers have a wonderful nostalgic quality about them, which I find pretty irresistible. They’re created with an 18th-century ‘domino’ technique that uses engraved plates. I love this berries print with Farrow & Ball’s India Yellow. The shade adds an unexpected element, which makes it slightly wild and exciting! —Heuman

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