The Decorating Trend That Designers Are Doubling Down on for 2023

published Dec 27, 2022
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Credit: Courtesy of Chelsea Evans

Imagine you’re in a room full of interior designers (a dream!) and you ask each of them the same question: What’s the one thing, regardless of size, that has the biggest impact on a space? Chances are, most will have the same answer: paint. Even more so than lighting or rugs, paint functions as the ultimate make-or-break-it transformation factor in a room because it offers the best bang for your decorating buck. Not only that, but there’s so much you can do with paint in the first place, from a floor-to-ceiling color change to DIY murals or wall accents.

All that said, paint trends aren’t fading away any time soon, but results from our annual State of Home Design Survey actually spotlighted a surprising — and arguably somewhat controversial — stance. Our poll of 78 interior experts concluded with a “This or That” segment, in which designers had to take their pick of paint versus wallpaper. Believe it or not, a whopping 91 percent of designers chose… wallpaper.

Credit: August Black

While an unexpected finding, it does make sense: Printed wallcoverings leverage more opportunities for individuality (a key 2023 trend, per our survey results!) and turn any wall(s) into instant focal points, even with art or mirrors layered on top. Plus, thanks to the many peel-and-stick iterations out there, it’s a safer-on-your-walls decorating approach for both renters and homeowners alike. If wallpaper was once controversial before because the application process seemed messy, pricing sky-high, and the look considered “dated,” you really don’t have to worry about these things anymore.

That’s not to say that these designers want to totally ditch paint in favor of wallpaper — in fact, it’s very much possible for both wall accents to work (stylishly!) in tandem with each another. Take the space pictured above, for example. Designed by Charli Hantman, founder of New York-based firm August Black, this living room manages to marry a bold blue paint tone and a contrasting wallpapered statement ceiling. You can also consider kitchen appliance fronts, doors, and even mantels potential subjects of your next wallpaper DIYs.

Credit: Photo: Jon Friedrich; Design: Lucy O'Brien; Styling: Kate Turk

The creativity doesn’t stop there. You can also consider playing with uniquely-shaped wallpaper accents, whether it’s an arch framing your bed for a faux headboard effect, a kitchen backsplash hack, or a fun, all-over “stripe” look to contrast your current paint color. Just make sure you order enough panels or rolls to cut out whatever shape you want, and line up the seams c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y as you install. Don’t be afraid of pattern mixing, either, because, based on another question in our designer survey, 62 percent of designers agree that maximalism is here to stay in the upcoming year. Even if bold prints aren’t your thing, know that even a subtle neutral grasscloth wallpaper can add a dynamic, textured feel to any plain wall with minimal effort.

Basically, if you’ve been on the fence about adding wallpaper in your home, let this be your sign to take the plunge. Not sure where to start? Editor favorites like Chasing Paper, Rifle Paper Co., Tempaper, Hyyge & West, and WallPops all cater to a variety of price points with both peel-and-stick and traditional offerings. Even brands like Diptyque and LoveShackFancy have recently thrown their hats into the wallpaper retail ring, as well as paint company Backdrop. There’s really something out there for every style, and a little paper goes a long way in revamping a room, so you can fully maximize your decorating budget overall. Win-win!

This piece is part of Trend Month, our recap of the buzziest designs, decor, and more from 2022 — and what to expect in 2023. Head on over here to see it all!

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: This Is the Somewhat Controversial Decorating Trend That Designers Are Doubling Down on for 2023