Wallpaper may be flat, but it's far from one-dimensional -- especially when you think outside the floor-to-ceiling box. From chair rails to headboards, these cut-and-paste creations -- some half-an-hour easy, some more involved -- add a layer of character to even the simplest spaces.
Illusion of Grandeur
Transform a humble room into a high-style statement with this easy visual trick: Cover the upper three-quarters of a room with an open, botanical wallpaper, and overlay the lower portion with a more linear pattern that simulates the effect of an elegant chair rail. For the latter, we chose a subtly sexy gray-lace design and applied it horizontally rather than vertically. Trimming along the top of the design with a utility knife created a sophisticated scalloped edge. For more pattern-pairing ideas and how-to instructions, click below.
Neisha Crosland "Clematis Flower" wallpaper (top), $186 per roll, and Louise Body "Marneys Lace" wallpaper (bottom), $208 per roll, both by Stark Wallcoverings, Pacific Design Services, 310-360-6418. "Morrow" settee, $1,725, Jonathan Adler, 877-287-1910. (Note: Many wallpaper companies quote prices per single roll, about 15 feet, but require a double-roll purchase.)
Hook High and Low
Home should be a place to hang your hat, but coatracks eat up precious floor space. This idea helps your entryway function better and creates a playful display at the same time. Pick a wallpaper with a repetitive pattern and let it dictate where you put the hooks, says Blueprint senior home editor Shane Powers.
A Bright Idea
Steal a cool, modern motif from a piece of wallpaper and cut it out to make easy backing plates for your sconces. They don't have to be exactly the same shape, but they should be the same scale, says Shane, who loves the amorphousness of the designs we chose but notes that patterns with diamonds or squares also work well. Just remove the sconce (be sure to turn off the power first), apply the design, let it dry, and reinstall the sconce. Or use this approach for a chandelier or other ceiling fixture.
"Serious BoKay" wallpaper, $98 per sheet, namarococo.com. "Drink" wall sconces, $220 each, ylighting.com. Porcelain candlestick, $159; porcelain apple, $68; and porcelain logs, $450 for four, all kleinreid.com
An Open and Shut Case
Liven up a door's wooden personality with colorful insets. "If you have commitment fears when it comes to bold patterns, this is a fun way to give one a try," says Shane. For flat-surfaced doors like those shown, cut wallpaper squares or rectangles and glue in place. Paint pieces of 1-inch lattice wood (sold at home centers) and nail them to the door around the panels. The doors we used are 30 inches wide by 84 inches high. We left 8 inches of space at the bottom of each door and 6 inches at the top, but feel free to think outside these boxes.
"Kenzan" wallpaper by Romo, $68 per roll, Walnut Wallpaper, 323-932-9166. "Augustine" prepasted wallpaper, $45 per double roll, thibautdesign.com for stores. "Hick's Hexagon" wallpaper by Cole & Son, $110 per double roll, Boston Design Center, 617-449-5506. "Parquetry" wallpaper by Quadrille, $175 per double roll, Design Professionals, firstname.lastname@example.org
Need to pull together your living room or dining room? Wrap a ribbon of pretty paper around it. A chair rail grounds your furniture so it's not floating in an empty expanse, says home market editor Meryl Levin. A horizontal strip will also make a narrow room seem wider. Although it is more understated than the two-pattern chair rail we discussed earlier (and yes, easier to pull off), this idea still fills a space with personality -- the white borders of the floral wallpaper (hung sideways, about a quarter of the way up the wall) add instant refinement.
"Neo" wallpaper, $50 per double roll, Hausen. Hand-carved settee, $899, brocadehome.com.
A Girl Can Dream
Buy all the fancy linens you want, but nothing completes your boudoir like a headboard. "It provides a focal point and makes the whole room more inviting," Meryl says. The store-bought kind can be expensive and bulky, so try this shortcut: Using the lines in a graphic wallpaper as your guide, cut out a silhouette that serves as a virtual headboard. Shoot for about 4 inches wider than your mattress, to accommodate the extra width the bedding will add.
Studio Printworks "Grille Modern Grande" wallpaper by Hinson & Company, $170 per roll, Pacific Design Services, 310-360-6418.
For July/August cover headboard idea, use the following template shape: Cover Headboard Template
Hip To Be Square
Let's say you're not lucky enough to own a Victorian-style row house with decorative molded panels in the dining room. This tactic lets you create your own grandiose architecture. Grid wallpaper gives depth to a lush floral panel on top of it, which Shane and Meryl cut to mirror the size of the table. You can treat the panel like a mural or as an irreverent base on which to hang smaller pieces, like a bird print (Shane cut it from a piece of wallpaper and spray-mounted it to a piece of wood he bought at art-boards.com).
Neisha Crosland "Gridlock" wallpaper by Stark Wallcoverings, $116 per roll, Pacific Design Services, 310-360-6418. "McGegan Rose" and "Pheasant" wallpapers by Timorous Beasties, $250 per double roll, the Future Perfect, 718-599-6278.