Who doesn't love a fun, bold wallpaper design? But it can feel intimidating to find ways to incorporate the design into a room. If the wallpaper is taking center stage, you might be wondering things like...
Which colors do I use with the wallpaper? Do I have to buy all new pieces?!
How do I mix other patterns with the wallpaper? Because I don't want it to be the ONLY pattern in the room!
Will the bold design be TOO bold? Will it look too busy?
And on and on. So today I'm designing an office from scratch based on one of our new wallpaper designs, Blue Trellis, part of the Simplified® by Emily Ley collection. I'll take you step-by-step through the basics of how all the pieces work together to, hopefully, give you a little confidence in designing your own room and finding ways to make the pieces you already have work with your dream wallpaper.
Here we go...
Step 1: The Blank Room
Yes, a totally blank slate. The white plank flooring is kind of cool, but otherwise the room is completely bland. I know I want to start with our wallpaper selection, so let's add it in....
Step 2: Add the Wallpaper
Well that's better already! So much more cheerful and interesting. However all that pattern feels a little much. And what else do we do...? Now the real fun begins. We need to balance things out with additional pieces. So after the wallpaper we're going to pick out a rug.
Ack! We're about to mix patterns and colors! Help! I'm not good at this stuff.
No, no...don't panic. I have a few guidelines for mixing patterns that will help you feel less panicky and more empowered. Here they are:
- Keep pattern colors similar, with at least one matching (or almost matching) color between the two patterns.
- Different TYPES of patterns are preferred, like buffalo plaid + floral.
- Different pattern SCALES or SIZES are preferred, like a tiny and busy dot pattern with an oversized geometric pattern.
With that in mind, let's evaluate this wallpaper pattern based on these guidelines:
- The colors we're working with are white and light blue. So we want at least one of those colors in our rug. Easy.
- This is a geometric pattern, so we're looking for a rug that's NOT geometric.
- I'd say the wallpaper pattern is pretty "tight" or on the medium-small side, scale-wise. For the rug let's go with something much bigger in scale for contrast.
Step 3: Choose a Rug
So, what do you think?? This rug checks all the boxes:
- It has light blue in it, plus other complementary colors. Score.
- It's a floral pattern, contrasting nicely with the geometric wallpaper.
- It's a super large-scale design, which is a departure from the more tightly knit pattern we have on the wall.
This rug is from Ruggable, which I highly recommend because...hello washable rugs. Now things are really on a roll...
Step 4: Add a Desk
To keep things airy and light I'm going with a white desk. Alternatively, you could make the room more earthy with a natural wood desk. Here's what I chose...
The rug and wallpaper are fun and colorful, so a super simple desk is just right for the looks I'm going for. Onward!
Step 5: Add More Storage
The trick to a tidy desk is sufficient storage for all the papers and supplies you work with. For me, that means a filing cabinet. I'll go with a modern looking one...
Step 6: Pull Up a Chair
Now let's find a nice chair for the desk. I like to use a non-office type chair in the office because office chairs feel so...officey. And a pop of color would be fun. So let's go with...
This. The yellow is so cheery, and is a perfect compliment to the blue wallpaper. It also highlights the yellow in the rug. I love it! Let's build on that...
Step 7: Art It Up
Now we need some wall art. While I LOVE this wallpaper, seeing it on the wall like this without anywhere for the eye to rest is tiring. In real life you'd likely have this wallpaper on just one wall so it wouldn't be an issue. The other walls would be pattern-free with plenty of blank space for some breathing room. But for this example I need a little calm for my peepers, and a mirror or some simple wall art will do the trick.
Since this is a Simplified® by Emily Ley wallpaper, I thought I'd throw in some art prints from Emily Ley, which you can find here.
Ahh, that's better! The white space around those prints is so nice. Let's see...what else...
Step 8: Add a Plant
We need a little life in here, and plants are the perfect way to give a fresh feeling. Go with silk if you're not into regularly watering...
Step 9: Add Lighting
A lamp referencing the darker parts of the rug would be nice. Maybe something like...
...this! It's a navy with some crackle, so there's great texture happening (smaller scale than the wallpaper) and it helps to balance out the room.
Now the big thing left to add is a guest chair. Let's try a new texture...
Step 9: Add a Guest Chair
The rattan adds a new and interesting material to the room. I'd love to see a white throw blanket or faux fur pillow on the chair, too.
What do you think? This room now has SO MUCH personality. If this feel a little much for you, just swap out the rug for a more subtle option like this. But I love how the wallpaper and rug play off of each other here. And the yellow from the rug, chair, and wall prints are so playful against the light blue wall pattern. This is a room I want to be in. :)
I'll finish with a few parting thoughts on incorporating a wallpaper into your space...
- Colors don't have to match perfectly. In fact, it's best if they don't. Layers of similar colors add interest and texture to your space. Try for similar colors in the same family.
- Mixing patterns is the key to elevating your look, so don't be afraid to try it!
- Use accessories to make the look gel. If you have a couple pieces that don't seem to be working well together, bridge the gap by adding accessories that incorporate both colors, patterns, or materials.
I hope this little walk through a room was helpful. For more wallpaper inspo give us a follow on Instagram @musewallstudio and see real-life projects from people just like you. Happy decorating!
- Emily from MUSE Wall Studio