Kya deLongchamps says large to mid-scale wallpapers and murals are suited to just about every space, but she advises checking out the look with generous swatches at home first before sticking to a design that could be visually intrusive.

The dusty old chestnut that large to mid-scale wall designs are for large rooms and that spriggy demure versions are best for downstairs loos and small bedrooms, has been formally debunked by interior designers and for very good reasons.

So let’s begin:

Design on the scales

Start by looking at the visual ingredients in the wallpaper — the dominant and secondary colours — its perceived movement (this can positively boogie with a modern geometric), and the amount of ground colour that may be holding up the design.

With a lot of white or pale ground on show, a lush Rococo designs even in black, preserves reflectivity and cranks opens the wall on which it’s placed. 

A closely knit weedy floral will equally shut an area down with too dense a pattern and saturated a ground colour.

Digital prints allow for a photo style imagery. Bespoke sizing is generally not a problem. Blackboard from the Mr Perswall collection, €38 a metre, www.mrperswall.co.uk
Digital prints allow for a photo style imagery. Bespoke sizing is generally not a problem. Blackboard from the Mr Perswall collection, €38 a metre, www.mrperswall.co.uk

Many of these prim, busy designs can also really only be seen in all their detail with a nose a few centimetres from the wall. 

Open up the pattern with a greater ratio of blank cream or white background. 

‘Woodland Chorus’ by Sanderson immerses you in the trees and birds of Ireland without tangling you in the undergrowth, €81 per roll.

The best of large scale wallpaper offers a wonderful view from afar and intricate detail close to. 

The vertical thrust of a big, bold image is exaggerated in its ability to push up the ceiling, and equally a horizontal can add perceived metres to squat walls. 

If the paper is to be the show-stopper, in say a bedroom, let it breathe, pulling back other patterns and fussy lines in furniture and the bed head.

Relish impermanence

With paste-the-wall papers, changing the paper on one or two walls of a moderately sized room is an easy job — an afternoon’s work if you don’t have 12’ high ceilings. 

Go to a mural in singles or sections, and you can rip off and rub up something spatially and aesthetically dramatic in less than an hour, if the paint hosting it is ready to go. 

The feature wall was always a nod to an oversized artwork, but today, panels are being used not on the entire wall but run up a couple of rolls wide, floor to ceiling or shorter, but balanced in columns of solid paint colour on the surrounding wall.

Super to a mid-scale cityscape paper will heighten the ceiling in any room. Marimekko II Ruutukaava 33’ x 27.6” Geometric Wallpaper, €102 per roll.
Super to a mid-scale cityscape paper will heighten the ceiling in any room. Marimekko II Ruutukaava 33’ x 27.6” Geometric Wallpaper, €102 per roll.

If you find dividing the wall up with a dado too prissy and yesterday, give this look a try, and it’s equally acceptable with white-wall-no-wallpaper fanatics. 

In an alcove or with low backed seating to the fore, this look really looks fantastic, is so neatly restrained and brings larger illustrative pieces like Ellie Chapman’s work into focus.

For an enclosing jewel box effect, take a luxurious mid-tone from the paper and use this for the remaining paintwork. 

You can buy ready-made dedicated panels to apply in certain papers including Marimekko of Finland (try Wallpaper Direct) around 300cm by 140 from around €200-€250.

Final finish

Soft, receding colours, textures, and gentle metallic designs can deliver a mid to vast repeat without the headache of a full on cartoon illustration. 

Just how much contrast, depth of colour and detail can you live with in that room?

In a bedroom, even a child’s room, being forced into focus with stark abstracts or literal images in any wallpaper can be exhausting. 

Try an inky watercolour in blots or ombre (denim blues over white are right on track for 2016/17) or any faded out print that’s easier on the eye and imagination.

Geological themes are new and fresh this season.Cole & Sons have just introduced a range of naturally inspired papers called Curio. €93-€103 per roll, www.cole-and-son.com
Geological themes are new and fresh this season. Cole & Sons have just introduced a range of naturally inspired papers called Curio. €93-€103 per roll, www.cole-and-son.com

A shiny paper will give more back when hit obliquely rather than directly by the light source, so try it on the walls at 45 degrees to the main window or use side lights and/or wall washers to enhance a mesmeric but soft shimmer.

Walls for any metallic should be perfectly level. Ardita in copper platinum from Arthouse in an undulating palm leaf is perfect for this relaxed but sophisticated look. €24.80 per roll, arthouse.com.

For something more determined and highly contemporary, but sufficiently laid back to not send you straight up the walls — Cole & Sons have just introduced a range of naturally inspired papers — vertical, crayon soft scribbles, geodes in mineral colours, sea fern fronds and subtle wood grains called Curio, €93-€103 per roll, www.cole-and-son.com 


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