A new hairdo can turn a woman from dowdy to dazzling with relatively minimal effort or expense. A new wallpaper can have a similar transformative effect, bringing life to a desperately outdated home. Today, we talk wallpaper trends with interior designer Mark Simmons, a home decorating guru who insists that with the right pattern, color and texture, wallpaper can work wonders in any given space. If you have a room in need of a lift, check out these beautiful (and replicable) looks we’ve pulled together with the help of Mark and his team.

What’s the best way to incorporate a floral paper without it appearing too traditional or outdated?

One way to use a floral paper in a modern way is to pick one with fresh colors and light tones. Opt for papers that have a more open or broad pattern, as opposed to a tight design. Larger floral patterns are still elegant but have an airiness that keeps them from feeling outdated.

This bright yellow floral wallpaper from Anthropologie will add tons of energy to your room!

This bright yellow floral wallpaper from Anthropologie is feminine, but not antiquated. Image credit: Anthropologie

When paired with rustic finishes, a floral paper can have a modern appeal.

When paired with rustic finishes, a floral paper can have a modern appeal. Image credit: Anthropologie

Are there ways to incorporate a geometric paper if your home and decor aren’t contemporary?

If your home isn’t contemporary, definitely try a geometric pattern with subtle colors that can be paired with your more traditional decor items. The pattern shouldn’t detract from your decor, but should add an understated edge.

this geometric paper gives the foyer just the right balance of modernity and elegance.

Mixed with antique tables, chest and rugs, this geometric paper gives the foyer just the right balance of modernity and elegance. Image credit: Pinterest

A geometric wallpaper can give traditional decor a modern edge.

Mark placed this geometric pattern in the master bathroom of a traditional home. The pattern brings a modern edge to the formal decor and antique fixtures. Image credit: Mark Simmons Interiors 

How can you incorporate wallpaper in a large room, like a bedroom, kitchen or den?

By using a textured wallpaper or a small-scale pattern, you can create a nice backdrop to the rest of the decor in the room without getting too busy. Avoid papers that have large, colorful patterns that you’ll tire of quickly.

Use a wallpaper with neutral tone and large pattern for a large living room or kitchen.

If you are covering a large room with wallpaper, consider using a large pattern in a soft hue. Bright colors may feel overwhelming in a large space. Image credit: Pinterest

This gray floral paper looks shabby-chic behind a wrought-iron bed!

This gray floral acts as the perfect backdrop behind a shabby-chic iron bed. Covering only one wall with a pattern can be a smart alternative to dressing an entire room. Image credit: Pinterest

How can you incorporate wallpaper in a small room, like a bathroom or study?

One of our favorite ways to use wall coverings in a small room is to take this opportunity to go bold! Use an unusual material or texture, or a bold color or pattern in smaller spaces that you do not “live in.” These tend to be some of our favorite rooms in houses we design and places we visit because they bring an unexpected flair to the overall design of the home. People are often worried about a paper peeling off in a bathroom, but with the right adhesive, you won’t experience any problems.

If you are putting wallpaper in a bathroom, go bold with color or pattern!

Don’t be afraid to let your bathroom paper really pop! Try mixing a bold piece of furniture, like this red sink console, with a contemporary or geometric wallpaper. Image credit: Pinterest

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This lively zebra paper brings tons of energy into this bathroom. Mark likes to introduce bold colors, like red, blue and orange, in small rooms that aren’t the principal dwelling spaces of the house. Image credit: Mark Simmons Interiors 

When should you opt to cover one wall versus an entire room?

Typically, covering an entire space leads to a more cohesive design. However, there are instances where simply covering an accent wall, such as behind a wet bar or a headboard, can look compelling and intentional.

Placing an artistic wallpaper behind bar will create a rich composition.

This soft, marbled paper brings dimension and energy to this corner nook. Image credit: Pinterest

Add a patterned paper behind floating shelves or above your bar for a pop of color!

If you are leery of covering your entire kitchen in a pattern, try adding a colorful paper behind floating shelves or above your bar. Image credit: Pinterest

What’s the best place to find quality papers at good price points?

In our experience, the best way to find quality paper is through design firms. We have a multitude of resources in our library with various styles, colors, patterns and price points. Wallpaper Warehouse and Home Depot are also great resources for a large selection of well-priced papers.

This chic geometric wallpaper gives a bathroom new life!

We love this chic geometric print from Mark Simmons Interiors. Elegant but refined, it gives the bathroom a modern edge. Image credit: Mark Simmons Interiors

Save or splurge? Is it worth buying the more expensive paper?

If you are only covering a small space, like a powder room or study, I would splurge on a really dynamic paper. If you are covering an entire room, I would settle on a simple pattern that you are going to cherish for a long time. For larger areas, use a paper that acts as a subtle backdrop to the rest of the decor in the room. A neutral raffia paper is always a good option. It provides subtle texture without being too overbearing. Remember, the more elaborate and colorful the paper is, the more expensive it will be.

A powder room dressed in blue and gold, designed by Mark Simmons Interiors

Mark and his team transformed this small powder room into a luxurious space by using a rich blue and gold paper. Image credit: Mark Simmons Interiors

Have you noticed certain patterns or colors that have been particularly popular this year?

We are noticing a lot of lighter, naturalistic colors, particularly dusty aqua blue (paired with a pop of orange), soft sage green and lots of cream. We are also seeing geometric patterns becoming increasingly popular. Grass cloth also seems to be making a comeback.

This beige grass cloth paper is the perfect backdrop to bold accents.

This beige grass cloth paper is the perfect backdrop to bold accents. Bright orange and cerulean blue are always a winning combination. Image credit: Mark Simmons Interiors

When covering a large area, grass cloth or rafia paper is a great option!

When covering a large area, grasscloth is a great option. It acts as a neutral while providing texture and warmth. Image credit: Direct Painting Group

Raffia acts as a great neutral backdrop for a living room or den.

Raffia paper acts as a great neutral backdrop for a living room or den and pairs well with bold blues and reds. Image credit: Pinterest

Have you noticed any patterns or textures that are totally falling out of trend?

Big English florals are definitely fading out, and they are nearly impossible to find. Toile paper seemed to be unpopular for a while, but it may be making a comeback in lighter hues.

How do you feel about papers with texture?

LOVE them! Texture should be a go-to in a space that needs that boost of style. As mentioned, grass cloth or raffia paper is always a great option, but we love cork papers as well — they function as neutrals, but have a great tactile quality. Be careful with papers with metallics or sheen. They can come off too ornate.

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Cork, a versatile and practical material, can be a great alternative to a neutral paper. Image credit: Pinterest

A special thanks to Mark Simmons and his team for sharing their expertise with us today!