7 Unexpected Wallpaper Ideas That Make a Big Difference in Any Home

Interiors & Decor

Photo by Wing Ho

Originally published in May 2021

As someone who enjoys updating the design of my abode (and works for a meticulous, talented designer to boot), wallpaper is right up my alley. But as someone who lives in a rental? Wallpaper isn’t exactly in the cards.

And yet, despite the cold hard truths set forth in my lease agreement, I still find myself longing to install wallpaper of my own. A bold patterned version to infuse life into my bathroom walls? I dream of it. Wallpaper in the entry hallway to greet anyone who walks through the front door? Pure magic. Wallpaper in the bedroom? I’d do it in a heartbeat.

I scrounged the internet—and the corners of my imagination—for unexpected ways to add the beauty of wallpaper to a home.

For any other wallpaper-loving souls out there, whether you have the option of installing it on your walls or not, below I’m sharing the fruits of my search. Come along for the ride.

1. Add wallpaper to a frame.

6 Unexpected Ways to Add Wallpaper to Your Home | Wit & Delight
Photo by Ngoc Minh Ngo for House Beautiful

I love the way this use of wallpaper packs a punch, without needing to worry about the dreaded removal phase. Get yourself the wallpaper of your choice OR simply purchase a sample, place it in a frame, and BAM—you’ve got a fresh, eye-catching work of art for your home.

2. Add it to your medicine cabinet.

6 Unexpected Ways to Add Wallpaper to Your Home | Wit & Delight
Photo by Alpha Smoot for A Cup of Jo

Caroline Donofrio from Cup of Jo installed removable wallpaper in the back of her medicine cabinet, writing, “I lined the medicine cabinet with removable panther wallpaper, which serves the dual purpose of hiding unsightly rust stains and bringing me joy whenever I’m washing my face.” Now that’s a functional, stylish hack we can get behind.

3. Wallpaper the ceiling.

If you do have the option to add wallpaper to your walls, consider extending it to the ceiling as well. Envelope the entire room in wallpaper and you’ll create a space that feels supremely intimate and cozy. Kate did this in their home’s blue office space and the result is a delight.

4. Place wallpaper inside a bookshelf.

Photo by Michael J. Lee on Elements of Style

Adding wallpaper to your nearest shelving unit can infuse some extra life into your shelf styling game and make for a true transformation.

5. Get creative with your installation.

6 Unexpected Ways to Add Wallpaper to Your Home | Wit & Delight
Photo by Kasia Fiszer for @grillodesigns

We’ve said it time and time again, but when it comes to your personal design style, there are, ultimately, no rules. That’s one of the reasons we love London-based blogger Medina Grillo of Grillo Designs—her ingenuity and curiosity when it comes to transforming her home with unique DIY projects. Medina installed the wallpaper in the photo above halfway up the wall, creating a visual effect that’s similar to a chair rail, while also saving hundreds of dollars in the process by opting out of installing it across the entire wall.

6. Install wallpaper inside your drawers.

Photo by Raymond Hom for Martha Stewart

Want a little breath of fresh air every time you reach for a t-shirt or a pair of socks? Go ahead, line those dresser drawers right on up with your pattern of choice.

7. Create your own DIY version.

Photo by Maggie LaMaack for Wit & Delight

Wit & Delight contributing writer Maggie LaMaack blew us away with her creative DIY. While this likely wouldn’t be the best option for most renters, for those who do have a little more flexibility with their decor choices, this is an excellent, budget-friendly way to add personality to your walls.

BY Jackie Saffert - February 17, 2023

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February 20, 2023 6:15 am

I really like the idea of wallpaper being used inside a bookshelf and drawers, etc as I think that really does add a bit of a surprise decor look. Great ideas!

February 24, 2023 8:29 am

Thank you for reading! I’m happy to hear a few of these ideas stuck out to you.

February 21, 2023 4:50 am

I particularly like the idea of using wallpaper within a bookshelf and drawers, etc., since I believe it adds a bit of a surprising décor element. Great ideas!

March 14, 2023 8:44 pm

I’ve done both put wallpaper behind my bookcase, and take it out, Also under shelves in cabinet with glass doors, inside my pantry, in the doors (insert) of the laundry cabinet doors, inside a tray…Love it!!!…JMO

March 27, 2023 10:04 am
Reply to  Gradeliana

So many ways to use it!

March 15, 2023 10:39 pm

The use of wallpaper inside of a bookshelf, drawers, etc., is an idea I really appreciate because I think it gives a pleasant surprise to the overall aesthetic. Fantastic suggestions!

March 27, 2023 10:01 am
Reply to  retro bowl


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