Whether in big or small spaces, there’s a wallpaper with the perfect patterns, textures and colors to give any room a grandiose look

Anywhere you look these days, whether in a magazine or on a design show, you’ll see wallpaper. This hot design element has come a long way — and it’s certainly not your grandmother’s wallpaper! Here are tips on incorporating it into your home in ways that will make you want to dive into the craze yourself.

An obvious place for wallpaper is in powder rooms and small bathrooms. These spaces do not have to tie in with the d├ęcor themes of the rest of your house, and with the right touches, can become the jewel boxes of your home.

With small spaces, going big is a good idea. Lots of small items or small patterns can make a small space feel smaller. So have fun — think larger prints like florals, geometrics or fantasy prints.


If you want to be a little more on trend and make your space feel brighter, opt for a metallic choice that will reflect light. These can have patterns that are subtle or dramatic. Pair metallics with glam elements or natural wood, like I did here for a photo shoot, to give off an interesting vibe.

Another small space that’s often overlooked is your closet. To create an amazing dressing room, instead of a typical wood backing, why not paper with a larger, interesting print or a metallic one, and then put your shelving in front of that? Talk about creating a statement backdrop for your handbags or shoes!

Next, your living room. Whether it’s a larger space or a smaller one, you can incorporate wallpaper to create the effect you want.

But remember, expansive spaces look better with larger patterns — unless you’re using wallpaper to create just a sense of texture on the walls. Mix and match the scale of your patterns, so those on your pillows and area rug complement your wallpaper.

We want our bedrooms to be soothing, so I don’t recommend large prints here. Opt for smaller, subtle patterns, maybe just behind your headboard. Then paint the other walls in a soothing complementary color.

With kids’ rooms, there really are no rules. Wallpaper can let kids’ imaginations run wild and is great for creating a theme.


If you want your youngster to learn geography and become a world traveler, decorate an entire wall with a map. If your kids are into sports, use playing field wallpaper and add clings of sports heroes.

If they love the ocean, why not bring it in on an entire wall? And for little girls’ rooms, there are butterflies, crystals and bright flocked damask — almost anything she can dream of.

When it comes to installation, you can hire a professional or tackle it yourself.

There’s lots of info online.

Just be sure to measure your space appropriately, buy the appropriate kind of wallpaper and hang it the right way. Choices for kitchens and bathrooms, for instance, need to be resistant to moisture and easy to clean.


So remember, wallpaper can go way beyond what any accent paint can do. It can give your walls texture, movement and definitely lots of personality!

Cathy Lee is a home style expert, speaker, president and designer of Cathy Lee Style. Her redesigns of residential and business spaces have been featured in local and national publications and on HGTV. reStyle Hawaii, her new-concept furniture and home accents store, is open daily at 420 Keawe St. in Kakaako. For more info and inspiring photos of design projects, visit www.cathyleestyle.com.