Selecting The Right Wallpaper2017-03-28T11:32:04+00:00

Wallpaper Changes Rooms

Our perception of a room is still unconsciously influenced by the archaic natural experiences of humankind. The sky above us is light, and the ground below us dark. In spacious, light-filled rooms, we feel insecure, lost, and yet also free. Dark rooms surrounding us like caves make us feel constrained, yet also protected and sheltered.

The order in which a room is observed also originates from a primal instinct. When we enter a room, we first glance at the floor. We check the floor under our feet, sensing its stability and walkability. Then we look around and take in the environment, collect information and seek visual contact. Only afterwards, when our orienteering has turned into “boredom”, do the walls enter our field of vision. The room’s design can influence this visual process of experiencing a room from floor, to wall to ceiling. For instance, if a wall is papered with strong colours or a flashy pattern that will be what visitors will primarily notice. This is known as a view or accent wall. A guide wall also attracts glances however, it then guides the eye to a specific goal. In addition to controlling glances and movement, the design of a room can influence its entire expression. Discrepancies in the architectural equilibrium can thus be compensated and defects covered up.

Ceiling & Floor

If the floor is dark, it creates a foundation that lends the room stability and security. If the walls are kept in light colours, the room appears generously-sized and open. On the other hand, if the floor and walls are darker than the ceiling, the room looks higher, creating an optical “nest effect”. A dark ceiling gives the room a sheltering roof, and makes high rooms appear lower. If the ceiling colour also appears somewhere else on other elements, e.g. on furniture, a balance is created, and the ceiling seems less solitary.


Large patterns in dark tones make the wall surface smaller and shift proportions. Small patterns in light colours, on the other hand, make a room optically larger.

Accent Walls

A darkly accented wall shortens a room. The accent wall forms the optical centre of the room. In front of such a wall, furniture in contrasting colours has an especially striking effect.If the accent wall and floor surface are designed similarly, they create an optical connection that shortens the room and generates a sense of cosiness.


Vertical stripes make a room narrower while adding height. In contrast, horizontal stripes make a room look lower and wider.  A discreet, horizontal accent in the lower third of the wall surface, on the other hand, lends tranquillity and breadth.

Wallpaper Lends Atmosphere

No matter what wallpaper we choose, it will only produce the desired atmosphere in a room if its tone is right. Colours influence our feelings and establish mood. They are possibly the most emotional element in room design. Knowing what effects colours have and how they determine our moods can assist us in the skilful employment of wallpaper.

Colours based on nature are also generally colours that we perceive as familiar. Colours that create feelings of familiarity and that we associate with expressions such as country, nature, and home, are important when decorating a room. on our part of the world, with fertile earth and a sufficient water supply, nature greets us in variations of greens and browns. Brown, in all of its nuances, is a stabilising colour that, in a wallpaper, lends a room tranquillity. Dark green tones, too, such as pine or moss green in combination with brown have a safe and stabilising effect. Green tones on the whole generally have a calming influence on inhabitants of a room. However, rooms done in such natural colours do not generate feelings of comfort in everyone. Their darker variants sometimes have an oppressive and confining effect.

When the desired effect is to create a feeling of space, blue tones with lots of white are essential. Especially turquoise and light blue open up a room. They have a clean, fresh and cool feeling. The way the temperature of a room is perceived can definitely be influenced by colour. Blue is the coolest, and red is the warmest colour in the spectrum. The various shades of red can generate very ambivalent moods. Pure red has a strong, masculine and passionate expression. Pink, however, is soft, airy, light and emotional. Pastel tones, that is, lightened shades of a hue, always tend toward lightness and stillness. The combination of light green with yellow or pink, for instance, creates a spring-like, gentle and feminine atmosphere. Greyed, broken tones, on the other hand, are hardly suitable to stimulate feelings. They appear impersonal and lacking in significance.

We see colours that resemble human skin as being especially comfortable and maternal, especially the nuances of orange: Apricot, terracotta, light ochre, sand, etc., are colours that emanate a feeling of cosiness. In addition, orange is the colour of indulgence. Thus is not just a coincidence that dining rooms and restaurants are often done with colours in that range. on all cultures, the sun is of enormous significance. on many religions, a golden colour embodies the power of the divine. Yellow tones always possess a positive and energetic mood. This radiating effect is translated to the room itself. Using light yellow, even rooms facing north that hardly get any direct sunlight can be made bright and inviting.

Wallpaper Patterns

Wallpaper is much more than just decoration. It is a design element with which rooms can be altered and style created. The nature of a wallpaper is its pattern. Once we understand how patterns can change rooms and what powers of expression they possess, our design options expand. If you more closely examine the type of wallpaper pattern, you will see that it is either objective, abstract or organic in structure. In the case of objective motifs, the visual message stands in the foreground. Astract wallpaper patterns thrive on their geometrical expression. Textured wallpaper, on the other hand, possesses its own materiality and substance. Depending on how strictly, relaxed or rhythmical a pattern is arranged, the character and expression of the wallpaper is changed accordingly. Strongly geometrical patterns, for instance, have a stabilising effect. Motifs with motion are challenging and lively in the room. In contrast, unsystematic, randomly scattered structures create a natural atmosphere. In the examination of patterns and ornament, colour also plays an important role. If the pattern expresses a message and style, it is the colour which evokes emotion. An especially convincing solution can be had when the wallpaper pattern and colour complement each other.

Wallpaper Colours

Why do we need a colour system? The untrained eye can differentiate between 100,000 shades. It is hard to describe them. Even the wealth of colour names in our language is hardly enough to name each individual colour. In order to nevertheless be able to communicate, a colour system or colour collection is required. Only then can planners, craftsmen and customers speak about and plan colours, even at long distances.

Today, several colour systems are in competition for users attention. Whether spatial models are used in the shape of double cones, spheres, cubes or cylinders, the goal is always to put colours in a logical order with equal intervals. The basis of all systems are the pure hues as we know them from the rainbow: red – orange – yellow – green – blue – violet. Beginning with these intense hues, shades are created that are lighter, darker and subdued. When red is lightened, it becomes pink, when darkened, burgundy, and when greyed, becomes auburn. Yellow becomes light yellow and olive. From orange, we get apricot and terracotta. Within the colour system, a colour is clearly defined by its hue, saturation and brightness. “Hue” refers to the colour spectrum, that is, red, yellow, blue, etc. The term “saturation” describes the purity and luminosity of the colour.

Pure hues are seldom found in interior decorating. Instead, pastel colours and subdued nuances of hues dominate practical design. As a result, the collections of wallpaper manufacturers show few strongly-coloured tones. in contrast, pastels and subdued colours are always present.

Designing With Wallpaper

The design of a room is always perceived as being attractive and successful when its compositions are harmonious and the design elements match one’s personal living style. By “composition”, we mean creating a complete balance of the elements and their relationship to one another. Thus, design means giving things a compositional order. The goal is to create a balance between order, harmony and excitement.

In most households, people strive toward a feeling of comfort, relaxation and harmony. But what exactly is harmony? In terms of interior design, to simply equate the term harmony with similarity would be a grave misconception. A living room with a carpet and wallpaper in one colour and similarly arranged furniture is anything but harmonic; it is boring and lifeless. A design that is to be interesting and appealing requires elements that generate excitement.

Similarly, the term “excitement” should not be confused with contrast, that is, opposites. On the other hand, too much order is just as erroneous as a completely chaotic combination of things. Design is like music, in the sense that a musician first studies harmony, develops rhythms and uses tones to form sounds and chords. Only then does he or she begin to compose.

In addition to theoretical knowledge, experience is the prime trait that characterises a good designer. This is one reason why interior design is so difficult to the inexperienced. However, have no fear: With every project, with every new challenge, your own sensibility and knowledge about the rules of design will grow.

Simple colour design rules are often used to decorate a room: colours having the same hue, poly and monochromatic colours, complementary and qualitative contrast. The easiest alternative is to use tone-on-tone colours. Colours of a single hue can be altered to create pastels or grey-browns by lightening or darkening them. In tone-on-tone design, all colours have the same hue. It is a simple concept, yet it can be risky, because too much similarity can lead to monotony.

It is more stimulating to use a colour composition based on opposites, such as a complementary contrast. In Itten’s 12-part colour wheel, the complementary colours are always opposite each other: red — green, orange — blue, yellow — violet. Such complements have an energetic and exciting effect. Many architects value monochrome colour design. Here, a single colour is combined with achromatic colours such as grey, white and black. The tone is emphasised against the neutral environment and sets an accent. Using monochromes is especially suitable for representative design, such as at trade shows or for sales rooms. In a colour wheel, the colours most similar to each other are next to each other; these are analogous colours. If they are combined with each other, a visual suspense is created. The combination of related hues creates a lively and spirited colour tone. If they are enhanced by light nuances, a bright and animated atmosphere results.

Complementary Colours

Complementary colours have an exciting and interesting effect. One combines colours whose hues contrast most strongly with one another. In colour circles that are only based on the three primary colours yellow, red and blue, such as that of Johannes Itten, complementary colours are situated exactly across from each other in the colour circle.

Non-Colours (Light-Dark Contrast)

Designs with non-colours – grey, black, and white are straightforward to implement. The avoidance of colour combined with a strong light-dark contrast conveys a clear, graphic impression. This establishes orderliness and gives the room a rather businesslike character.

Monochromatic – that is, one-colour – combinations also speak a distinct language, but are more emotive

Related Hues, Neighbouring Colours

An effortless way of creating harmony is by combining neighbouring colours. Such a colour family establishes a distinct mood in a room.

Quality Contrast (chromatic – achromatic)

Monochromatic colour design made from one chromatic and several achromatic colours is especially suit- able for representation purposes. The element emphasised by colour is brought to the forefront and accented.

Colour Effect

Many colours have symbolic meanings, such as red, which stands for blood, or they conjure up certain associations, such as blue, which makes us think of the sky, and water. Colours possess optical expressive qualities, have a heavy or light effect, make things seem large or small, close or far. In combination with each other, they generate psychological impulses that shape the colour experience.

In psychology, colours are said to have a special effect. For example, blue is considered a cool colour, red as warm and yellow as a luminous colour. Of course, this is a very simplified view and cannot be translated par for par to decorating a room with wallpaper. For instance, a cherry-red carpet combined with black furniture before a white wall obviously has quite a different effect than the same carpet with white furniture and ochre wallpaper.

Metallic colours possess their own colour material language. Their unique colour effect is superimposed with implications such as valuable, precious, rare and expensive. For instance, grey, derived from silver has a static, neutral character superimposed with elegance. Gold radiates like yellow, but has an additional extravagant and precious effect.

Images & text courtesy of AS Creations, Wallpaper 1×1 – A Textbook For Craftsmen and Those Who Wish To Be