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At the risk of sounding dramatic, a small space is the design equivalent to a house of cards. Its beauty relies on strategic thinking — one false move and the entire room will come tumbling down. (Metaphorically speaking, of course.)
You can spend a lot of time thinking about clever storage, space-efficient furniture, and paint colors that can create an optical illusion, but as it turns out, the right wallpaper can do wonders for a pint-sized pad. You just have to narrow in on the right repeats.
“With a small space, it’s so important to be very intentional and thoughtful when choosing a print and color, since it will be something you live with more consistently and spaces will typically serve as more than one use,” explains Elizabeth Rees, founder of Chasing Paper. “Think [about] a NYC apartment where the living room is also your kitchen, dining room, and so on.”
Rees says it’s important to find wallpaper that makes you feel joyful, calm, serene, and grounded. But, just every other design decision, beauty truly lies in the eye of the beholder. To help make your home shine — and match your personal taste — check out the best wallpaper for smaller spaces.
1. Chasing Paper Semi Wallpaper
“Don’t let the size of the space intimidate your choice,” says Rees. “There’s no reason to not make a bold design choice, if that’s what you want — as long as you balance it with the other elements in the room! For instance, a bold wallpaper in a small bathroom can be like a surprising jewel in your home.”
2. Mlags Dark Moody Floral Jumbo Wallpaper
For a daintier take on the bold pattern trend, opt for oversized flowers. Thanks to the larger scale, this go-to pattern will take on an almost abstract look. With a moody backdrop and subtle pops of color, this option from Spoonflower is whimsical, not overwhelming.
Buy: Mlags Dark Moody Floral Jumbo, from $6 to $199 from Spoonflower
3. Chasing Paper Stripes Wallpaper
Want to create the illusion of high ceilings? The only way to go is up. “Choosing the right bold pattern or color tricks the eye into focusing on the design aesthetic and impact, rather than the square footage,” says Rees. “For example, you can create an illusion of a larger space using a pattern with a vertical line that naturally draws the eye up and creates a loftier, taller space.”
Buy: Stripes Wallpaper, from $6 to $120 per panel from Chasing Paper
4. Serena & Lily Acadia Stripe Wallpaper
5. Carrie Shryock x Chasing Paper Crossing Lines Wallpaper
Regardless of your home’s size, it’s important to consider the ambiance you’d like to create. Before adding a roll of wallpaper to your cart, think about the room’s overall purpose.
“Design for the space and how it will be used,” Rees explains. “Think about what type of impact you might want in the space — whether you just need to add texture or color.”
6. Serena & Lily Feather Wallpaper
If you’d rather turn your small bedroom into a light, airy oasis, Serena & Lily’s minimalist repeat will have you feeling like you’re on cloud nine. The wispy pattern and neutral palette is a considerable upgrade to your bare walls, but won’t make your space feel claustrophobic.
Buy: Serena & Lily Feather Wallpaper, $98 per roll from Serena & Lily
7. Annie Selke Samoa Periwinkle Grasscloth Wallpaper
8. Kassa Large Chalkboard Contact Paper Roll
Anyone working with a small space knows how important it is to make the most of the limited square footage. Kassa’s chalkboard contact paper is perfect for both home offices and children’s bedrooms. (Yes, you can actually give your kiddos permission to draw on the walls.) Since there’s only so much doodling you can do, we don’t expect this to cover all four walls. Still, it makes a great accent for a small space.
9. Moonlight Print Mid Century Modern Sun & Rainbow Wall Mural
Another accent wall idea that’s perfect for your small space? A funky mural, like this trendy option from Moonlight Print. (You know we’re totally here for the arch trend.) Not only does this style create the illusion of a larger space, but the white backdrop will also make your space feel light and airy. Oh, and did we mention it’ll double as artwork?
Buy: Moonlight Print Mid Century Modern Sun & Rainbow Wall Mural, $299.99 from Society6
10. Flavor Paper Bay Area Toile
At the end of the day, your wallpaper should be a reflection of you. This eclectic toile from Flavor Paper is packed with personality, plus the blue and white color palette offers a happy balance between subtle and statement. It’s the perfect combination for your itty, bitty space.
Buy: Flavor Paper Bay Area Toile, $200 per roll from Flavor Paper