Wallpaper – Do As I Say, Not As I Do

December 8th, 2015 | By Carlene ...

For Open Colleges


I have always had a soft spot for wallpaper. I love how it transforms a space, I love the extensive range available, and more than anything, I love that it means no painting. Astoundingly (even to myself), I’ve never been able to commit it to my home.


I don’t consider myself a wimp but I do have design commitment issues when it comes to my own home. With wallpaper, I’m usually drawn to the whimsical, highly graphic variety and think how fun it would be in this room or that and then I think how illogical it would be of me to invest in a big statement wallcovering that I will most likely tire of in 6 months. In fact, that is wherein the problem lies, the most desirable wallpapers are not cheap, which means it’s an investment and it’s a costly one if you then only get sick of it a few months down the track. If I had an endless, free supply of wallpaper and a wallpaper hanger on tap, it would be everywhere and forever changing.


Before you embark on what can be a very long and gruelling wallpaper journey, consider the following points to help you get there with success and your sanity intact. I should listen to my own advice.


1.    What is your budget?

You will be shocked to discover just how much wallpaper can range in price and the reasons for this can be complex but in a nutshell, the disparity is due to levels of quality, the type of print and pattern, the designer, and where it is manufactured. Like most things, if you fall in love with unaffordable wallpaper outside your budget, you just might need to keep looking…..just saying.




Sarah Ellison, Cheetah wallpaper, Emily Ziz



1.    What is your objective?

Think really hard about what you want your wallpaper to do for your space. Do you want your wallpaper to act as a feature and hang on one, maybe two, walls or is it being used to substitute to paint? A very loud and graphic print should be restricted to a couple of walls (with some exceptions) to prevent overwhelming the space, however something more subtle that is aimed to create texture, such as grasscloth, can easily be hung on all four walls of a room.




Sarah Ellison, Leopard wallpaper, Emily Ziz



1.    Do you understand your own design aesthetic?

I call my design approach to my own home, noncommittal because it is forever changing and reflects a good mash up of styles. Because of this, I know that I could hang just about any type of wallpaper in my home and it would work (until I tired of it) but this isn’t the case for everyone. For example, a very clean-lined, minimalistic home is going to struggle to accommodate a feminine floral pattern without looking a little out of place. Sometimes, as a starting point, it is easier to work out what you don’t love and go from there.




Cracked Wall wallpaper, Emily Ziz



4.    Have you chosen colours that allow you flexibility?

Wallpaper is not one of those things that you can pick up and move when you are sick of looking at it so my advice is to choose colours in your wallpaper that can complement a good range of other colours. You never want to be restricted by your wall covering when you want to change up other items in your space.




Kirath Ghundoo wallpaper, Emily Ziz



1.    Have you compromised too much?

There is little worse than spending hours of confusion and self-doubt contemplating a design decision, only to then execute your choice and realise you have compromised too much and ended up with something that doesn’t make your heart sing. While you may have to compromise on the $550/10 metre roll paper but other but go with your gut.




Gum leaves wallpaper by Moore and Moore, Emily Ziz



Your wallpaper options seem endless so I feel a mix of pity and envy for anyone currently on the wallpaper hunt (especially when you can now design your own), but don’t do what I do and cop out. Your ideal paper is out there. Trust you’ll know it when you see it.




Walter G wallpaper, Emily Ziz



Carlene xx

No Comments

  • Renee Louise Bell

    February 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    You should try Graham & Brown wallpaper. It’s made and designed in the UK, and it is super easy to take down (I’m talking 10mins!) so you can change your look seasonally if you really wanted to.
    I love it so much as we rent so we can’t put up anything permanent. We got approval to put Graham and Brown (it is called paste the wall or super fresco) wallpaper on any wall we want though as it comes off so easy and doesn’t even damage the paint. I’m so hooked!
    P.s I love your blog so much!

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