How to Choose Wallpaper for Your Living Room

The Alumni House is getting closer and closer to the finish line every day. I just got out of a meeting with a wallpaper installer and it occurred to me that I haven’t talked much about choosing wallpaper for this project or frankly how to choose wallpaper for your living room, or the best wallpaper for a small room, which is definitely what we’re dealing with here in the Alumni House. I’m so excited to get some wallpaper up on the walls here! It adds a ton of personality. So let’s tackle some of the main questions I get about how to choose wallpaper for your living room and other rooms in your house. 

Can You Use Wallpaper in a Small Space?

Yes! A small space like a bedroom, small living room or powder bathroom is a great place to use wallpaper. A little bit of the right paper can turn your small space into a focal point and add a ton of depth, color and texture. I recently used some in the OC Ranch reno powder bath and that little spot just makes me smile every time I walk by. Here’s a little before and after so you can see what a difference it made. For years I had this pretty basic little space painted a dusty blue. I loved the color, but it didn’t do much for the overall look of the space.

how to choose wallpaper for your living room

After updating the room with a new vanity, flooring, fixtures and lighting, it was still missing something…so I decided to take the leap and call in my wallpaper guy to add a little something…

powder bathroom renovation ideas

I decided to go with a wallpaper that was a taupey beige/grey almost identical to the paint color in the hallway leading into the bathroom. It made for a nice transition into the room.

how to choose wallpaper for your living room

 Wallpaper | Towel | Faucet | Light

can you use wallpaper in a small space

Wallpaper | Faucet | Light 

What a  difference, right? If you’re afraid to start with wallpapering a whole room, think of a closet or open shelving space where you can try some wallpaper first and see if you like it. There are lots of great peel and stick wallpapers on the market too, which make the commitment a little less permanent. 

How to Choose Wallpaper for Your Living Room 

The first thing to consider when you are choosing the wallpaper for your living room or any room in your home is to look at what kind of light the room gets. Depending on the natural lighting in the room and the color of the wallpaper you choose, it can help make the room seem larger and brighter or smaller and more intimate. Light colored wallpaper will reflect light and dark wallpaper will absorb it.

how to choose wallpaper for your living room

In the Alumni House I am wallpapering the dining room space above which is adjacent to the living room. Both of these spaces get great natural light, but the dining room in particular is small, so I’m going to be working with a wallpaper with a slightly off-white base and a light colored pattern. Here’s the wallpaper I’m using:

how to choose wallpaper for your living room

Plaid Wallpaper

I want to keep it as bright as I can in there, especially because during the winter months it is very gray outside for long periods of time. Hopefully the natural light will bounce off of the light walls and keep it feeling airy and bigger in there. 

how to choose wallpaper for your living room

Pattern makes a difference when choosing a wallpaper too. In a smaller living room, a small scale pattern can help the room feel larger while a room with big walls and high ceilings can handle large and bold patterns. If you want to play with a bigger pattern in a small space, consider one with a lighter background so that it doesn’t get too overwhelming. In this bathroom above I wanted to add something bold, but it was a smaller, darker space.

how to choose wallpaper for your living room

Palm Wallpaper | Mirror | Faucet | Light | Plant | Towel

I opted for a large palm leaf pattern, but kept the colors of the paper light to keep from overpowering the room. With the dark floors in here no windows, I really needed something to keep it feeling light and bright. 

how to choose wallpaper for your living room

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 

If you are feeling timid when it comes to choosing the right paper or adding too much color or pattern, a solid colored textured wallpaper like grasscloth or linen might be right for you. Textured wallpapers are a great choice for a space where you want to add some visual interest without overwhelming your room.

how to choose wallpaper for your living room

Sometimes it’s fun to play with dark and moody colors in small spaces too, so it’s really about deciding what overall look and feel you are going for in the space you are wallpapering. In this entry way of the Alumni House, although it’s small, I’m using dark paint colors and this dark paper…

how to choose wallpaper for your living room


I might be breaking the traditional rules in here, but sometimes breaking the rules is what good design is all about. 😉

Choose Wallpaper Samples

Similar to choosing paint samples, once you have an idea of what you like and have things narrowed down to a few options, it’s smart to order wallpaper samples before you order several rolls of any particular pattern. Wallpaper can be expensive and you want to make sure that it’s the right one for your space before you jump in with both feet.

how to choose wallpaper for your living room

Testing the wallpaper samples in your living room allows you to see how they interact with the existing decor, lighting, and furniture. Take note of how the wallpaper looks during different times of the day to ensure that it meets your expectations. I appreciate being able to put my wallpaper choices together with tile, paint and other samples from pieces in my home or project so I can see how they will all work together.


I have several places where I like to purchase wallpaper. Samples are not always available at every place, but here are a few of my go-to wallpaper sources that usually always have samples available too.

Serena and Lily

McGee & Co



I hope that these tips for choosing wallpaper for your living room or home make decorating a bit easier for you.

If you’d like to see some fun remodel projects, be sure to check out these posts:

Midway Modern Farmhouse Guest Bedroom Remodel Before & After

1987 Kitchen Remodel Before & After

Midway Modern Farmhouse Library Remodel Before & After

1987 Fixer Upper Master Bedroom Remodel Before & After

Midway Modern Kitchen Remodel Before & After

Avendale Master Bathroom Remodel Before & After

A Light and Bright Kitchen Remodel

Midway Modern Master Bedroom Makeover

Midway Modern Farmhouse Dining Room Remodel

OC Ranch Reno

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Happy decorating!!





Creative Director at Pink Peppermint Design
Tammy Mitchell is the founder and creative director of lifestyle blog Along with being a homeschooling mom of two kiddos, she is also an in-demand prop and event stylist, photographer, interior and graphic designer. On Pink Peppermint Design, she shares creative DIY projects, easy entertaining and gift ideas, inspiring interiors and events. She lives in Southern California, with her husband and two children.

how to choose wallpaper for your living room

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