How To Choose Wallpaper Color

How Will Wallpaper Colors Affect My Room?

A good general guideline for choosing the color scheme of a room is to look at what you already have. We call these your "givens." What is in the room now that must stay? You may have a piece of artwork, a prominent piece of furniture, or flooring that guides the color scheme. If you’re decorating a room without any givens, you have a blank canvas! We are here to help you choose the colors that will define your new room.


Explore the color scheme of favorite clothes in your closet to see which colors you personally prefer!

detail example of beautiful wallpaper pattern
detail example of beautiful wallpaper pattern

How To Use Color Theory to Choose Wallpaper

Successful interior design almost always starts with intention use of color. Certain color combinations are more pleasing to the eye. You have probably experienced the effect color can have on your emotions or mood. If you are intentional with your color choices, it will make a huge difference in how much you enjoy your new room. With the help of color theory, it’s easy to find colors you’ll love. Let’s look at your options!

Warm Colors

example of warm toned wallpaper
yellow patterned wallpaper
warm red wallpaper

Reds, yellows, oranges, and peaches are warm colors. Intense warm colors create exciting spaces, while subdued warm colors set the stage for pleasant social gatherings. Warm colors are often used in eating areas like breakfast or dining rooms to encourage a pleasurable experience.

Warm colors help make north rooms more inviting. They advance toward the viewer. Research has shown that people actually feel warmer in a room painted with yellows, reds or oranges than they do in a white or blue room. In colder climates, warm colors are a popular choice.

Some characteristics of warm colors

  • Masculine
  • Informal
  • Cozy
  • Intimate
  • Inviting

Cool Colors

cool blue wallpaper
green pattern wallpaper
cool colored wallpaper pattern

Blues, greens, lavenders, and grays are cool colors. They appear to recede or appear farther away, helping to enlarge a room. Intense cool colors are fresh and dramatic, while subdued cool grays are tranquil. Cool colors make rooms feel less confining. They are often used in bathrooms and other small rooms.

Use cool colors in west-facing kitchens, porches and other areas where afternoon heat is a problem. In very warm climates, using white and cool colors exclusively can make an entire house seem more comfortable.

Some characteristics of cool colors

  • Feminine
  • Formal
  • Health
  • Calming
  • Tranquil

Light Colors

light teal green wallpaper pattern
light colored floral pattern
light blue wallpaper pattern with bird cages

Light colors create bright, spacious rooms. To the eye, light colors seem to recede, making rooms appear larger and ceilings higher.

Since light colors reflect the most light, they can brighten a north-facing room, a closet or dark hallway. White walls form a neutral background that does not compete with furnishings - a great opportunity for white wallpaper or other light tones.

Wall roughness and paint sheen can affect the lightness of any color. Smooth surfaces and gloss paints reflect maximum light to make a color seem lighter. Rough-textured walls and flat sheen paints hold more shadow and minimize the lightness of a color.

Some characteristics of light colors

  • Expansive
  • Open
  • Spacious

Dark Colors

example of dark blue wallpaper
dark green damask wallpaper
dark color wallpaper

Use dark colors to create an intimate room. Because dark colors absorb light, walls appear closer to make the room seem smaller.

Darker colors can be used to disguise problem areas such as uneven walls, or to make a high ceiling seem lower. In heavy-use areas, dark colors can help hide wear. Rough surfaces and flat paint finishes make colors seem darker because they absorb more light.

Dark walls tend to dominate, so you may choose to use lighter-colored accents to add balance to a room. When the walls are dark, it is a good idea to tint the ceiling paint slightly with the wall color to make the room blend and work together.

Some characteristics of light colors

  • Intimate
  • Heavy
  • Quiet

Bright Colors

bright blue wallpaper
bright red wallcovering example
blue wallpaper

Bright colors are highly saturated with pigment. They are not diluted by white or darkened by black. Bright colors work well in active spaces like recreation rooms, sun porches and children's rooms. Because bright colors draw attention, they are often used as accents in rooms with neutral or subdued color schemes.

Some characteristics of bright colors

  • Exciting
  • Active
  • Alive

Subdued Colors

neutral subdued color
neutral calm wallpaper
wallpaper with subdued color

Subdued colors are less saturated with pigment than bright colors. They are blended to include mixtures of white, black or gray. Subdued colors are relaxing and restful, and are frequently used in studies and bedrooms, and form a soft background in bathrooms and dressing rooms. You can increase visual interest in a subdued room by adding a few brightly-colored accents.

Some characteristics of subdued colors

  • Restful
  • Tranquil
  • Quiet

You Can Do This!

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