Designer Minnie Kemp explains the secrets behind picking the perfect patterns for your walls

by HomeDecorBeauty

At the time of writing, the jury is still out on whether this will be a long, hot summer or the high point of grilling under an umbrella. Let’s hope it’s the former, but if not, then I know of a failsafe solution. Why not decorate the walls of your home with bright wallpaper? Give you a good vibe and the rest will follow.

I recently discovered Mind the Gap, a colorful fabric house in Transylvania. Fill your living room with sunlight by installing its Gypsy design in an ochre color scheme. This boho-inspired design is filled with folk flowers without being overcrowded—there’s space between the patterns, revealing a textured honeycomb backdrop that brings calm to the room. Bright reds, oranges and purples bloom with a mesmerizing glow, while green tones and natural, fresh silhouettes add color to the entire canvas.

Contrast pattern with plain

living room with striking wallpaper

(Image credit: Damian Russell)

I like to use bold patterns in my work. From traditional florals to smart stripes and modern graphic designs, I truly believe that the bolder you are, the better. But there are rules, and even I (usually) follow them. You don’t want too many patterns in the room.

One of the big wallpaper trends right now is theme-heavy repetition. However, if this is the look you want to dive into, make sure you use a simple-textured fabric in the room. A simple linen curtain and a block sofa will soothe the room. Be sure to bring back the pattern on the sofa cushions, but just remember to stay calm and balanced in the midst of crazy chaos any day!

add border

Blue living room door with red trim around the edges

(Image credit: Suzy Atkinson)

Alternatively, for a more tailored and modern feel, I think adding borders around door frames and under the cornice works great. I absolutely love Susie Atkinson’s new collection of wallpaper borders – they promise less than wallpaper cost and are a great way to elevate a room. Designs range from a funky checkerboard red to a yellow Edith floral design. Be creative – double them up for a unique look, and check out Susie’s website for more fabrics. She was really happy and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

climb to the ceiling

Bedroom with wallpapered walls and ceiling

(Image credit: Paul Redside)

Don’t be afraid to use geometric patterns with more pictorial designs. Opposites are absolutely appealing, and unexpected pattern combinations create a modern and fresh twist to any room.

Also, let’s not forget that the ceiling is just as important as any other surface. If the room is small, such as an attic, you can actually make the space feel larger and more spongy by applying wallpaper to the entire room.

Don’t be afraid of color. If the ceiling is high, add a happy blue or plaster to soothe the room. Edward Bulmer and Annie Sloan have the best colors for every taste. Who needs a rainy BBQ, eh?

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