Objects on Wallpaper

Wallpapers can serve as a background or foreground design element in a room.  If it weren't obvious already, I am personally most excited about graphic patterns that stretch the limits of traditional wallpaper patterns.  But the decision to hang pictures or other items on top of wallpaper is still a relevant one.  What can you hang on a wallpapered wall?  When should wallpaper stand alone?  Inspired by my favorite design book, here is my simple overview.

It's all about balance.  First, think color.  If your wallpaper is extremely colorful (more than four colors), then anything you hang should be very very simple: a mirror, a simple photograph.  On the other hand, if the wallpaper is simply one or two colors, you have more liberty to hang intricate, colorful objects.  Whatever the objects, make sure their colors match not only the wallpaper but the rest of your room.

Next consider size.  If the pattern is full of small elements, your hanging objects should be of medium to large size.  You should not have too many hanging pieces either.  If the wallpaper repeat is large-scale, you have much more freedom to hang smaller objects- and more of them.

Finally, choose your wall composition-- where to hang your objects.  Each wall and room is different, but overall, you will need fewer objects than you normally would hang.  Wallpaper attracts attention on its own; you don't want to over-do it with hanging objects.

The idea of nailing holes into your beautiful wallpaper is somewhat frightening -- but that's not a good reason to dismiss hanging objects!  When successful, the combination of wallpaper and objects can make the most sophisticated, impressive design choice in a room.


Better Homes and Gardens, helping home makers fifty years later.

The pattern is quite busy and there is lots of it.  This large scale picture (with only a few colors) works well.  Nicely balanced.

With the small pattern repeat, these medium/large sized objects look great.  Photo from Domino (RIP!)

With its large scale and dynamic composition, "Blackbird" is usually best on its own.