Candice Olson dishes out seven ways to transform your home by adding the right wallpaper treatment

Many of my clients ask for rooms that reflect glamour and sophistication. But they also stress that they want those spaces to be casual, carefree and livable. 

This design concept that I call “everyday elegance” isn’t a matter of expensive furnishings and high-end luxury. Rather it’s the selective design of a space using beautiful finishes partnered with practical function. The end result reflects a style that appears to have evolved effortlessly over time.

It’s no secret that I love to create that look of “everyday elegance” with wallpaper. Wall coverings have the power to transform a room and can fit any design esthetic. 

So whether you’re looking for a subtle accent or a bold design statement, here are some of my favourite ways to use wallpaper to achieve your desired look.

Bold feature wall
Make one wall in the room a statement by selecting a bold and beautiful wallpaper colour that contrasts with your wall colour. Then position ceiling lights to rake across its surface. This will enhance pearlized inks and textures and make it look like a work of art.

Subtle backdrop
If you’re in search of a bit of quiet drama, a wall of tonal wallpaper will do the trick. Using your wall colour as the launching off point for colour, select a wallpaper pattern that offers tonal textures or light-catching inks for soft drama.

Modern nature
Get the look of stone blocks without the expense and commitment. Wallpaper pattern onyx offers a soft tonal marbling effect that looks great in any room. I’ve even seen it applied to the walls of a walk-in closet … spectacular!

I like to include something unexpected in my designs and wallpaper has the power to do it.  When the wallpaper my clients adore is beyond their budget, that doesn’t stop me from using it in smaller quantities. Use the desired wallpaper as a feature wall or inset it into wall panels to minimize the cost but maximize the textural appeal.

The inspiration
Sometimes it’s the wallpaper that is the jumping-off point for an entire room design, and I want to surround the space with that featured wallpaper. However, for a little visual relief, paint an accent wall in a solid colour to complement the wallpaper and provide a bit of visual relief.

Instant focus
Open concept is all the rage these days when it comes to home design, but these large open spaces can often lack focus. An accent wall in a rich saturated colour or pattern creates instant focus in an open plan project. It draws the eye through the space and visually connects the space.

Warm it up
The quickest way to warm up a chilly space is with colour and texture. Natural fibre wall covering offers loads of texture and is available in so many exciting applications like metallic backgrounds and over-prints. You can even get a grass-cloth wall covering for the ultimate outdoorsy feel. Here’s a pro tip: When applying the grass-cloth wall covering, you can’t really hide the seams, so the best approach is to overlap the panels a bit and make a double cut through both.

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