small room with large floral print wallpaper to help make it appear larger

How to Make a Room Look Bigger With Wallpaper

If you have a small space and want to jazz up your walls a bit, you might be wondering how to make a room look bigger with wallpaper.

And that’s what we’re here to talk about today!

Wallpaper is once again becoming a popular home design option in modern homes. And depending on your paper choice, it can help to achieve various decor goals.

While the wallpaper you choose can help communicate your taste and style, it can also help make the room feel bigger. BUT… Oftentimes, homeowners don’t know how to utilize it in that way.

If you’re planning on rolling some wallpaper in a small room, you’ll want to consider how to make it look bigger OR, at the very least, avoid making it look smaller (and cluttered).

Today, I’m answering some of the most common questions homeowners ask about wallpaper and its visual effects in small rooms.

small bedroom with floral wallpaper and text that reads: wallpaper tips for small rooms

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Firstly, Should I Wallpaper A Small Room?

Absolutely! Wallpaper is a fun option for any size room, even the smallest spaces. Although you want to pay attention to your choice of wallpaper color and pattern, wallpaper offers several advantages over painting. 

1. Wallpaper is available in a multitude of styles. Modern wallpaper gives you the liberty to choose from different patterns and colors that match your taste and existing decor. 

2. Wallpaper lasts longer than paint. Modern wallpaper options are water-resistant and can withstand scrubbing without compromising look and texture.

3. It’s easy to install AND remove. Truly, today’s papers are much easier to deal with than those of the past!

So if you’re looking for a solution to hide cracks, blemishes, and chipped paintwork, installing some wallpaper could be a great decision, even in small, narrow rooms. 

Related: How to Choose Wallpaper for a Small Living Room (+ Our Top 7 Picks)

How to Make a Room Look Bigger With Wallpaper

Your wallpaper pattern choice will greatly determine the “feel” of your space. Here are five major key factors to consider when choosing wallpaper to make your space appear bigger.

1. Choose a Lighter Color

bedroom with white wallpaper that has small light green cactus print

Color is the first consideration when it comes to making your room feel bigger with wallpaper.. While wallpaper color contributes to the overall ambiance, it also greatly impacts how big or small the room appears. 

The general rule of thumb is to choose lighter colors if your goal is to make the room look bigger. While you can absolutely choose a darker wallpaper color for a small room, they can be tricky to work with. 

And if you don’t know what you’re doing, darker colors could enclose the room and make it look smaller than it is. 

The good news is that you still have lots of options to choose from! We’ll discuss colors more in-depth shortly.

2. Choose a Larger Pattern

small living room with wide vertical stripes behind the sofa

Because wallpaper designs create such a large visual impact on a room, you’ll definitely want to be mindful of the type of pattern you choose.

Typically, larger patterns like florals and geometric shapes are best for smaller rooms, since they are less busy-looking and are easier on the eye. A small, intricate pattern could add to the visual clutter and make the room appear even smaller.

One common trick to visually expanding a space is choosing a wallpaper with stripes.

For example, installing wallpaper with horizontal stripes makes the walls appear farther apart, helping to make the room look wider, while vertical-stripe wallpaper (or this pretty vertical herringbone paper) makes the ceiling appear higher. 

3. Choose a “Solid Color Look” Paper

bedroom with textured, solid color look wallpaper behind the bed

Although I recommended avoiding small-and-intricate patterns in the last section, there is one exception – when the pattern creates a solid-color look. 

What exactly do I mean by that? Let me explain.

You can create the look of a solid color with textured wallpaper or a pattern that, on first glance, appears to be one color. Textured wallpapers provide the perfect opportunity for consistency throughout the room while creating a bit more visual interest. 

Now, I’m not talking about embossed paper, although that’s fine if you like it. By texture, I’m referring to wallpaper with a natural fiber look (grasscloth, for example).

You might also find a printed pattern that doesn’t actually have a textured feel but has a “textured look” and that’s totally fine, too. It can still create the appearance of a solid color while bringing dimension to the room.

4. Use the Same Wallpaper Throughout

small living room with large patterned geometric wallpaper on two walls

It’s totally fine to wallpaper your entire room, and it’s also fine to wallpaper an accent wall. 

What you DON’T want to do? Mix different wallpapers!

Be sure to use the same design throughout the space. Using the same wallpaper throughout helps to create a sense of more space, where using multiple patterns could leave it feeling disjointed and even smaller than it is.

It takes a lot of skill and an impeccable eye to correctly mix patterns, and this is not something you want to attempt in a small room. Stick with just one wallpaper. If you only want to paper a wall or two, that’s fine – simply paint any remaining walls with a coordinating paint color.

Note: An exception would be if you mix it up with a patterned wallpaper and a coordinating “solid look” paper. (There are exceptions to every rule, after all!)

5. Consider a Mural 

small kitchen with tree mural on one wall

Okay, so this one is a little trickier to pull off (if you don’t want to end up with 80’s inspired walls!). But murals are coming back into popularity, and they can help to visually expand a room by drawing the eye outward. 

This forest mural would really add dimension to a wall!

Pro Designer Tip: Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper is easy to install, and it’s easy to remove when you decide it’s time for a change.

What Color Wallpaper Makes a Room Look Bigger?

Don’t worry, you have plenty of different color choices to make a room feel bigger! And don’t be afraid to embrace color in a small room. The key here is to keep it consistent by using the same wallpaper throughout the space.

Lighter, cooler colors (blue, green, purple) often help to visually expand a space, while warm colors (red, orange, yellow) typically make it feel smaller and cozier. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re limited to just those colors!

A few wallpaper colors to consider:

  • White
  • Off-White
  • Gray
  • Greige
  • Sage Green
  • Lavender
  • Light Blue
  • Pink
  • Soft Yellow

Also, wallpapers that mimic the look and texture of marble, wood, and brick are great options if you like a contemporary look. 

Of course, you’ll want to consider any other materials in your room, too, especially those that aren’t easily changed. Since you don’t want to create a color conflict in your room while trying to make it look bigger, choose colors that best complement your furniture, lighting, and accessories. 

Ideally, you’ll want to get a sample of each of your favorite wallpaper choices before committing to one.

Should I Wallpaper the Whole Wall?

In a small room, your best bet is to wallpaper the whole wall – and you’ll also want to consider papering more than one wall for consistency.

You might want to wallpaper the top half of the walls and install board-and-batten on the lower half to add visual interest, which is totally fine! I would, however, avoid doing that if you have lower ceilings, or you could end up making your walls look even shorter.

And since you’re trying to make the room look bigger, I’d say that in most cases, you’ll want to keep the walls uniform by wallpapering from top to bottom, regardless of how many walls you plan to cover. 

On the other hand, you can absolutely install wallpaper on just one focal wall and paint the rest of the walls in a coordinating color. This is a trick that is often used to make a room look smaller, though, so use your best judgment when deciding whether or not to do so in your space.

How to Make a Narrow Room Look Wider With Wallpaper

One of the easiest, most common ways to make a narrow room look wider is to add stripes. Choose a wallpaper with wider, horizontal stripes to make your room look bigger and wider – on the other hand, vertical stripes will help your room appear taller.

Final Thoughts

Making a room feel bigger with wallpaper can be challenging, but it’s definitely not impossible!

Choose wallpaper with brighter, lighter colors to visually expand the room and make it look more spacious. Also, choose the color that best complements your existing decor. And, most importantly, have fun with it!

Read More:

How to Choose an Accent Wall in an Open Floor Plan

7 Stunning Bathroom Accent Wall Ideas That You’ll Love

13 Stylish Ideas for Decorating the Wall Behind Your Headboard

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