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Breaking decorating rules with wallpaper and paint effects

One of the things I love about modern decorating is the ability to break the rules. That’s not to say there aren’t some guidelines that are worth following but more that there’s greater freedom as to how and where we use decoration, such as wallpaper and paint at home. Along with tactile textures, trompe-l’oeil effects and every colour from neutral to vibrant and in-between, decorating differently has never been more achievable and exciting.

Need some inspiration to get started? Try some of these wow-factor ideas.

Stencil some style

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Image source: Crown

Colour isn’t the only way to give a painted wall some punch, so if you’re feeling adventurous, try stencilling a pattern with a contrasting shade. Simply wait for the main wall to dry thoroughly, map out where your stencilled patterns will go, use spray adhesive to attach them while you’re painting, then stencil the pattern with a small roller or stencilling brush. You could try stencilling a frame around a favourite picture, making a ‘headboard’ for a bed or adding a painted picture rail. Try overlapping the pattern and using different colours or more than one stencil to create a patchwork effect that adds a strong focal point to a room, like in the ethnic-inspired wall above. Fancy only doing the fun bit? Ask a local decorator to paint your walls, then all that’s left for you to do is get stencilling.

Use paint effects

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Image source: Dulux

If the idea of stencilling has your creative juices flowing, it’s time to experiment with some hand-painted decorative effects. Ombre walls burst onto the decorative scene a few years ago but for a fresh take on the look, try a subtler graduation of colour with a slightly deeper shade at the base of a wall merging softly into a lighter one at the top. Simply paint the whole wall in the light shade (this wall is in Denim Drift by Dulux), measure and work out where you want them to start blending (it doesn’t have to be halfway) then start painting up with a darker shade. When you’re near the merging point, use a small amount of the darker colour to blend upwards, then some of the lighter colour blended downwards. Not only does this technique bring interest to a wall but it can help add a sense of depth.

Learn how to dispose of leftover paint the right way after you’ve finished a décor job.

Be playful with pattern

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Image source: Little Greene

Wallpaper’s great for more than just covering up a wall’s lumps and bumps. As well as using it to help add visual height to a room or make it feel wider, wallpaper can be used in less conventional places to give it a designer feel. For example, you could paper the inside of a dresser or cabinet to give a pop of colour when it’s opened, use multiple patterns in the same or complementary shades to add personality to your stair risers or continue a paper across the ceiling for a cosy, wraparound effect, such as with this Colonial Stripe wallpaper. If you lack the time or confidence to hang wallpaper, find an professional decorator to create your perfect scheme.

Discover the 5 things a decorator can do for you.

Get to know faux

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Image source: Elli Popp, photographed by Katja Behre

For those who like to take the hard work out of decorating but still want walls with wow, opt for wallpapers with graphic effects built in. Brick and book-effect wallpapers started the trend but now there’s a whole range of ideas, from peeling paint and sawn timbers for an industrial luxe look, to framed decorative panels, such as this eye-catching pearlescent mural, Baudelaire’s Dream. These papers are especially suitable for rooms with no or few architectural features and are great for setting the tone for the rest of the scheme.

Looking for more tips? Find out how to put together a colour scheme to get your home décor project started.

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