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Tips For Using Wallpaper From Interior Designer Summer Thornton

Exclusive! Summer Thornton Shares Her Wallpaper Secrets

Whether using bold florals that become the focal point of a room or subtle grasscloths that blend in discreetly, Chicago-based interior designer Summer Thornton, featured as a Designer Spotlight two years ago, is an ace at decorating with wallpaper. So I asked Summer if she'd be willing to share some of her tricks of the trade with you. You're in for a treat!

Wallpaper is back with a vengeance! It's probably the most impactful way to make a statement in a room. We all remember those horrific ceiling borders from the '80s, but wallpapers have really evolved in the last few years. You can get modern prints, vintage prints, metallic prints, graphic prints, and in every color imaginable. You can even get hand painted silk wallpapers if you're so inclined.

One of the best things about wallpapers is that they can introduce a bold color but temper it with other mild colors. With wall paint you're usually forced into just one wall color, with wallpaper you can find unique color patterns that add depth and boldness without being overwhelming. For example, if you're wanting to introduce a bold blue through the walls it might look childish in paint, but with wallpaper it can look sophisticated and chic.

A few tips:

  • When you add pattern to a wall, be prepared to layer patterns throughout the room. The patterns don't have to match (and they definitely shouldn't be identical), but they have to work together. It's something that wallpaper newbies sometimes aren't prepared for. Personally, I love layering patterns on top of patterns, but it can take some practice.
  • Wallpapers are available to make a statement. Go for something exciting — if you choose a wallpaper to go with everything, it won't go with anything. Wallpaper is not for the timid. Go big or go home!

Continue reading to see more of Summer's tips!

  • Use moldings, chair rails, and other architectural elements to break up pattern. Depending on the room, you may not want to cover every wall from floor to ceiling with a pattern. By stopping at a chair rail or by including or excluding wall moldings you can provide some visual relief from a busy pattern.
  • If your budget is tight, use wallpaper on an accent wall. Match either the background or an accent color for the remaining walls in the room. And since the wallpaper is on the "accent wall," let that wall be the standout with the most color.
  • If you can, hire a pro to hang it. I've hung wallpaper myself and I've hired someone else to do it. The hired pro always does a much better job, the sheets line up perfectly, the patterns match perfectly, and they get it done so much faster. Don't let anyone tell you that it is easy or fun. There is nothing less fun than hanging wallpaper!

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Thank you Summer for your wonderful tips! Be sure to check out Summer's portfolio to see more of her work and her wallpaper magic!

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