Wallpapers taken from the archives are historic but far from old-fashioned. Follow our tips to make a traditional archive-print wallpaper work beautifully in your home.
You don’t have to live in an old house for these wallpapers to work, but, for best effect, choose a design that suits the scale of your home. For example, the small florals typical of the 1930s can look lost in a high-ceilinged room, while heavily patterned Victorian prints can overwhelm a small or low-ceilinged space.
To make a beautiful wallcovering the focus of the room, pick out key colours from the design and repeat them in plain fabrics and painted woodwork.
To mix in other prints without outshining the wallpaper, stick to a limited colour palette. Alternatively, choose another print from the same collection – they’re grouped to co-ordinate, so the hard work’s been done for you.
If you like an eclectic look, you can team an archive wallpaper with modern furniture, but echo the design – for example, a pattern with gentle curves will look better with furniture in curved shapes.
If you want to find a paint that matches the tones used in an archive wallpaper, look at heritage and period paint collections
Love geometric wallpaper? Use it to create a fabulous look with these simple rules.
Large-scale graphic prints work particularly well in a contemporary scheme or a post-1960s home, while smaller, more subtle patterns are a good choice if you have more traditional furnishings or live in a period house.
Take into account scale when you are decorating. A big print used on all the walls in a small room or one with low ceilings is too much, so use it sparingly or consider using a smaller scale or simpler graphic design.
Geometrics have come a long way since they were first popular in the 1960s and 1970s. To recreate that look, go for wallpapers in browns, oranges and greens. For a less retro scheme, choose colours that are fashionable now, such as chocolate with pink.
Avoid having furniture and furnishings that fight with the print. You don’t have to restrict yourself to ultra-modern styles, but sticking to pieces in one kind of wood or one plain colour – such as white or black – will help avoid an over-cluttered look.
Tape a large sample of the geometric paper you like to the wall and leave it for a few days to make sure you can live with it.
Follow these steps to make this pretty floral-trail paper work perfectly in any room.
Oriental print wallpapers have traditionally been used in bedrooms and are considered quite feminine, but they won’t be overpoweringly so if you choose designs that are in more masculine colours. Look out for wallpaper in darker blues, red, black and neutrals.
If you’re using an oriental wallpaper in a bedroom, you can put it on all four walls. If, however, you’re decorating downstairs, take a more restrained approach and limit it to a feature wall or at most two walls.
The busier, more intricate wallpapers featuring birds, figures and lots of foliage tend to look at their best in rooms that aren’t crammed full of accessories.
You don’t have to go all out for an oriental theme and team an opulent print wallpaper with Eastern-inspired furniture and furnishings. However, a few accessories with an oriental feel – such as a ginger jar lamp base, a bone mirror or a dark-wood bowl – can help tie the room scheme together.
A blossom print looks as good teamed with French-style furniture as Eastern pieces – picking out a colour from the wallpaper creates a sense of harmony.
Worried about how to make big, blowsy floral prints work in your room? Simply follow these steps to get it right.
The latest oversized prints can look fabulous in both small and large rooms. The secret is to stick to a subtle design or one in soft colours if your room is compact, as this will stop the wallpaper from being overpowering.
As an update on traditional flowered wallpapers, bold florals are not only for country cottages. They’re certainly not shy and retiring, but they are surprisingly versatile. It’s how you use them in a scheme that sets the tone – for example, for a contemporary look, team them with furniture in simple modern shapes.
Balance a strong floral print with lots of plain surfaces. Having large pieces of furniture – such as a sofa or cabinet – in one of the colours from your wallpaper will help create a more balanced room.
Try wallpapering unexpected areas, such as the inside of your under-stair cupboard for a big pattern hit every time you open the door, or behind open shelving for a hint of print behind books and ornaments.
This design gives traditional blooms a contemporary twist and works well teamed with modern furniture with a white or cream painted finish.
Whether you use it in the bedroom, living room or even the dining room, this is how to make metallic prints work.
Designs with a pale background and a subtly metallic motif can be used to great effect to make a small room seem larger and brighter, as the reflective surface throws light back into the room.
Wallpapers printed on foil backing tend to be a little more expensive than other metallic designs. However, they look fabulous and the investment is worth it – especially in rooms that don’t get much natural daylight – for the extra reflectiveness of the finish.
Large prints and designs with a dark background create a more opulent look. They are ideal for adding interest to larger rooms but are best used sparingly in small rooms – for example, around a fireplace.