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Remember the subtle pastel colors and floral-printed wallpaper of yesteryear? Decades ago, wallpaper was an understatement—a way to add soft background color to a room. Today, decorating with wallpaper is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, yet playing a much more prominent role in the visual impact of a room.

“The trend today is toward a more graphic and chic look in wall-coverings.”

Denise Glenn, an interior designer based in Salt Lake City, Utah, says that “the day of grandma wallpaper is gone. The trend today is toward a more graphic and chic look in wallcoverings. Now they sport bold colors with architectural designs, such as trellis designs, diagonals, and straight lines. Today’s wallpaper says ‘look at me!’

She says there are many innovative ways to incorporate wallpaper into your home décor. The myriad patterns and colors available today will suit any taste. And wallpaper isn’t just for walls any more. Following are ideas that will help energize your space or items within a room itself.

Add wallpaper to a small space, such as a powder room or bathroom.

This can add dramatic flair, yet it won’t feel overwhelming.

Paper the wall behind a headboard as an impressive backdrop.
Or create a wallpaper headboard to save space and money.

Add wallpaper to the ceiling to punch up a room.
You can only do this if the ceiling is smooth, not textured.
(Of course, this endeavor will require a tall ladder or scaffolding.)

Use wallpaper above paneling or as a contrast along crown molding.
People will usually hang art above paneled wall areas. However, Denise says that using wall-covering instead can give these areas a more finished and sophisticated look through texture, pattern, and color.

Wallpaper the inside of closets for a decorator look.
This can give an elegant touch to an otherwise overlooked area.

Put wallpaper inside door panels.
Dressing up a door can an add interest and distinction.

Give small objects a new life.
Wallcoverings can be used to dress up wastebaskets, pencil holders, and even books.

Frame wallpaper and use it as art.
There are so many beautiful and striking patterns that one or more pieces can work as an attractive focal point on a wall.

Put wallpaper in the back of cupboard shelves.
This adds contrast and an extra splash of color.

Guide to Selecting Wallpaper

• Choose a more durable and “scrubbable” wallpaper in a children’s room or any place that will receive lots of wear.

• Wallpaper comes in a variety of prices and can range anywhere from $12 to $200 per roll.

• To estimate how much wallpaper you will need, measure the height and width of the area to be covered and then purchase extra, just in case you need it.

• Paste the wallpaper yourself. Prepasted wallcovering tends to be more labor-intensive. You have to soak it in a tub of water and then carry the heavy wet load over to the wall. It also can run a greater risk of tearing or wrinkling.

Use your imagination and creativity to decide how you will use wallpaper in your home. Evaluate each room to distinguish how you can incorporate more color, patterns, and texture through your favorite selection of contemporary designs. You also might want to investigate the variety of choices in complementary modern flooring.

Before you know it, you’ll have acquired a new twist on your interior surroundings. It might be the next best thing to moving into your dream home. In fact, updating and re-energizing with today’s chic wallpaper might just turn your house into your dream home!

Denise Glenn is an interior designer based in Salt Lake City, Utah. For information about her creative work, please visit

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