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Walls of Wonder

Tips on Pairing Wallpaper and Original Art by Missy Steffens

Lately we’ve been fielding a lot of questions from friends with wallpaper on their minds…it could be extended time at home eyeing painted walls, dreams of investing in décor decisions, or in most cases a combination of both! When we came across a photo Missy Steffens, of M. Steffens Interiors in Memphis, shared of a Lindsay Porter mixed media collage hung against a playful Schumacher wallpaper, we knew she would have a helpful perspective on what to consider when choosing wallpaper with the intent to hang original art…take it away Missy!!

Wallpaper sets the tone in a room as it will be your biggest pattern or impact of color in the space. Whether your paper is floral or geometric, art can be hung and will complete the room. To start layering in art, play with scale, saturation, and a contrasting yet complementing color. My interiors lean more traditional in furniture yet I prefer contemporary art to grab that mix in my spaces. 

Let’s look at some examples...

Striped Wallpaper creates a neutral background no matter the color and almost all art can play off it. I am a sucker for a stripe and could use it anywhere from wallpaper to sofas. Many wallpapers form a stylized stripe which also creates an easy backdrop for art. 

With saturated patterns and brightly colored wallpapers, you have two main directions that allow the art to create a punch. You either need a pop of white to separate the wallpaper from the art or a bold contrasting color to set them apart. 

(photo by Ross Creative Group)

The negative space of white in a line drawing or sketch help break up the wallpaper. Or frame your piece in a wider, white mat to give some visual space from the wallpaper. The wider mat allows your eye to rest on the art - so think drawings or something like Lindsey Porter’s collage would work well (below). 

A bold and contrasting color in your art also grabs your eye and draws you into the piece whether a landscape or portrait. For example, if you have a wallpaper with a rich blue background a citrus or pastel color will pull the art away from the pattern of the wallpaper. 

All in all, art creates energy in your space. I hope my tips have encouraged you to try different art in your own home. Art finishes your room and gives that last detail that is unique to you...mix it up!