“Pattern Dipping” is the best way to use wallpaper now

Do you remember a time not too long ago when the only really acceptable way to decorate with wallpaper was with a single feature wall? Well, times have certainly changed…

In recent years, wallpaper has been used much more liberally in interior designs. While it was once considered only an accent wallcovering, current interior design trends see it more likely to be used on all walls in a room. This gave rise to a discussion in the Liveetc offices to find out if the return of the accent wall was near, a reaction to the maximalist approach to pattern, texture and color that came from this new way of using wallpaper. However, rather than returning to the idea of ​​the feature wall, this design aesthetic seems to have evolved to become even more maximalist.

The most exciting way to use wallpaper right now? Dipping pattern. It’s a step up from the color trend we’ve seen in paint finishes, and sees room schemes designed with the same prints used in abundance.

It’s become a staple of maximalist design brands, such as House of Hackney. “Interiors have the power to transport us to a dream world, and there is nothing more moving than being surrounded and enveloped in prints and colors.” says Steve Corcoran, decorating consultant for the brand. “For a truly immersive experience, an organic print works beautifully on any surface as it grows around you just as it would in nature.”

Still need to be convinced to go all out with the pattern? We’ve found a few of our favorite spaces that have largely embraced the pattern trend.

Hugh Metcalf

Hugh is associate editor of Livingetc.com. He has worked for various design magazines during his career, spending his time interviewing top interior designers and architects. He also has a passion for finding the latest interior trends and researched his favorite examples of this new idea for this feature.

What is Pattern Dipping?

You may already know the idea of ​​coloring in interior design, but you may not. It’s the idea of ​​using the same shade of paint to “sprinkle” the walls, the ceiling and the woodwork. It’s a trick that can be used to make a room feel bigger as the ceiling moves away, but also to make a space more comfortable and intimate. It also makes delicate details like baseboards and moldings disappear, meaning your layout still benefits from their decorative flair, but they don’t demand attention in the same way.

Pattern dipping is the same idea, but applied to the print and the pattern. This tends to mean much of the same wallpaper, used at least on walls and ceilings, but pattern dipping can also incorporate textiles, whether it’s a sofa, a headboard bed or curtains, matching the walls. It tends to be a more maximalist style, but as you’ll see with some of these examples, it can be a slightly more streamlined, yet adventurous way to use the pattern in your home.

Here are 5 pieces that have mastered pattern dipping in different ways.

1. Try it in a small space

a carpeted home office

(Image credit: Thomas Kuoh. Design: Studio Munroe)

You might think that a small room could easily be overwhelmed when adopting a dipping pattern, but think more about how you’ll have even more impact in a more compact space.

“Paping the ceiling is one of our favorite tricks in small spaces like powder rooms, closets and study nooks,” interior designer Emilie Munroe of Munroe Studio tells us. “Fifth wall (also known as ceiling) wallpaper is unexpected and bold, and often feels more bespoke and intentional than the standard walls-only approach.”

In this small home office, Emilie used bold monochrome wallpaper to create a statement in what might otherwise be a featureless space. “There’s a whimsy about papered ceilings that brings fun to a room – and who can argue against embracing that feeling in a space?” she asks.

2. Extend it to your textiles

a bedroom with house of hackney wallpaper

(Image credit: House of Hackney)

In addition to your walls, applying the same pattern to textiles can set the mood for the dipped pattern trend, especially when used on vertical elements, like curtains or a headboard.

This design, which features a new imagination of House of Hackney (opens in a new tab)Phantasia’s classic print, reinvented by American designers Pierce & Ward with a West Coast twist, is the perfect example of how this can work in a maximalist way.

“A print like this works just as well on wallpaper as it does on upholstery, so it can be used on walls – even ceilings – as well as draped over windows and upholstered over furniture” , says Steve Corcoran of House of Hackney.

3. Try a cleaner approach

a room with papered walls and ceilings

(Image credit: Sandberg wallpaper)

While many of these pattern-drenched pieces seem inherently maximalist, if you create a more casual design scheme using patterns, the basics of this interior trend can elevate your design even further.

Take this home office design using Sandberg wallpaper as an example. This delicate print of the brand’s Huset i solen may seem pedestrian used only on the walls, but by also covering the ceiling with the same wallpaper, the space takes on a bolder energy, while still remaining restful.

4. Design pattern breaks

a pattern flooded bedroom with pink wallpaper

(Image credit: Helen Cathcart c/o 1st Dibs. Design: Bryan O’Sullivan Studio)

When designing a space with an excess of busy patterns, creating visual breaks will tidy up and help your eye find a place to rest in the design. Think about solid elements to include in your bedroom as a resting piece, whether it’s a larger piece of furniture like a sofa or a paneling idea like this scheme created by interior designer Bryan O’ Sullivan by Bryan O’Sullivan Studio (opens in a new tab).

With this House of Hackney motif used on the walls and ceilings of the cinema room, the dark gray panels help structure the space.

5. Combine different colors

a bedroom with wallpaper on the walls and ceiling

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Another way to try the pattern dipping trend is to use the same wallpaper or textile pattern, but in a different colorway.

In this space, wallpaper by Little Greene was used in two different shades above and below the chair rail molding and on the ceiling. This ceiling decor idea unites the space with a pattern, but provides a more traditional contrast if you are unsure of the uniformity of the pattern-soaked look.

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