A beginner’s guide to wallpapering: spruce up your home with these top tips

PUBLISHED: 14:46 15 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:29 10 August 2020

'When choosing wallpaper, measure well, order swatches and choose colours and designs that complement your furnishings.' Picture: Fiona Howard

'When choosing wallpaper, measure well, order swatches and choose colours and designs that complement your furnishings.' Picture: Fiona Howard

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We spoke to Fiona Howard, company director and highly regarded British textile designer, to discover her top tips for wallpapering and how you can creatively use your leftover paper.

'Just two rolls of wallpaper elevated this small area to a dining space and it only took a couple of hours.' Picture: Fiona Howard'Just two rolls of wallpaper elevated this small area to a dining space and it only took a couple of hours.' Picture: Fiona Howard

Start small

“If you’ve never wallpapered before, why not start with a small area?” Fiona says.

You can create a stunning bookcase by wallpapering the back – this really enhances the books and ornaments. Measure each space carefully; don’t assume every space is the same size!

Wallpapering an alcove, behind a bed, or a dining area can have a stunning effect.

Choose wisely

“When choosing wallpaper, measure well, order swatches and choose colours and designs that complement your furnishings,” Fiona says.

“Wallpaper can bring a room to life and give it character.”

Large or small patterns and colours can impact a room in different ways:

- Yellow wallpapers make a dark room sunnier.

- Bring nature inside with a green wallpaper and enhance with indoor plants.

- A dark wallpaper can create a very sophisticated effect, especially in an alcove with spotlighting.

- A small pattern can make a room seem larger.

Preparation is key

“Once you are well prepared and get into a rhythm you will find you are covering the wall more quickly than you could with two coats of paint,” Fiona adds.

There are top tips and the basic equipment you will need on Fiona’s Journal Page.

Choose a pattern that complements the colours and items you’re displaying on your bookcase for a simple but eye-catching upgrade. Picture: Fiona HowardChoose a pattern that complements the colours and items you’re displaying on your bookcase for a simple but eye-catching upgrade. Picture: Fiona Howard

“All my wallpapers are ‘paste the wall’ which means you don’t have to struggle with acres of glued paper. You simply apply the glue to the wall and then take the wallpaper to it. With two of you to hold the paper, matching the design is much easier.”

What should I do with my leftover wallpaper?

You can add wallpaper to almost anything to breathe new life into your home. Here are a few of Fiona’s ideas to get you started:

1) Wallpaper the back of a bookcase

Choose a pattern that complements the colours and items you’re displaying for a simple but eye-catching upgrade.

2) Line your drawers

Add wallpaper to your drawers for a pretty pop of colour when you open them and to protect your clothes.

3) Cover old books

Covering books with worn covers or old cookbooks will improve your bookshelf.

4) Cover shoe boxes

Covering old shoe boxes will make them look so pretty you’ll want to keep them on display. They’re great for storing anything from shoes to Lego.

Fiona Howard wallpaper collection

Fiona has over 30 years’ experience in textile design and boasts clients such as Sandersons, John Lewis, Colefax & Fowler, Laura Ashley and many other companies worldwide.

View Fiona’s beautiful wallpaper collection based on the British coast and countryside at fionahoward.com. Contact Fiona on 07900 302351 or fiona@fionahoward.com.

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