Bedroom wall ideas that AREN’T wallpaper

I think it’s fair to say that the good old ‘feature’ wall in a bedroom has seen better days. Now don’t get me wrong, this decorating trend was huge and well loved, but when it comes to bedroom wall ideas, it’s time for something new.

Don’t worry, I am not throwing wallpaper and focal points out all together (despite the title of this post), but rather encouraging you to think more creatively about how to use wall coverings in your bedroom and go beyond the ‘usual’ to embrace new materials, different bedroom wall ideas such as tiles and panelling, or simply making a feature using art and textiles.

Luckily, design afficianoda and @kbbmagazine journo Rachel Ogden found me some gorgeous examples, and herewith I share them with you…

Bedroom wall ideas we’ve spotted…

Mixing patterns

Ok ok, I said bedroom wall ideas that AREN’T wallpaper, I know, but stick with me. The conventional wisdom is to pick one patterned paper for a bedroom. However, by choosing two you can create zones – a great idea if your space also has to function as a home office or dressing area.

The trick is to select clearly different designs which share a similar colour palette, so they coordinate without clashing. A softly repeating pattern is ideal for the restful area, while lively birds, animals or botanicals suit
a more active zone – whether that’s an alcove, corner or spot near a window. Note how the middle section of wallpaper in the image below stands proud of the rest of the wall adding extra interest. You could achieve this with a false wall or panel if you don’t have a chimneybreast.

The Metro Cassis wallpaper, £65 per 10.05m roll, with its metallic geometric pattern, is the perfect addition to the vintage 1930s feel brought in by Le Toucan Rose design, £85 per 10.05m roll, both 1838 Wallcoverings.

Hang fabric

Easier to keep clean and simpler to update than wallpaper, the idea of fabric hangings is gaining traction. One reason is the prevalence of gorgeous graphic designs that look striking when hung across walls, or above a bed to give the feeling of an oversized headboard.

It’s important to let the fabric take centre stage, so don’t worry too much about ornate poles – and, crucially, think about changing it with the seasons. While thick, weighty fabrics create a cosy feel in the cooler months, choosing relaxed linens and colourful prints will result in a light, fresh look for the warmer seasons, even when the sun isn’t shining. Easy as ever.

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Geronimo fabric in Tobacco, £146 per m, Zinc Textile.

Use tiles

The idea of tiling a bedroom wall may seem like moving away from a cosy, welcoming room but there are many plus points. Tiles are a great way to add a more tactile feel if you choose a textured finish, or subtle sparkle with mosaics, glass tiles, or highly polished surfaces.

There’s no need to cover the whole wall, either as sections, such as at the back
of shelves, behind the bed or to demarcate a desk area.

Lapicida‘s Wainscot Plain and Panel ceramic collection of tiles is available in cool, muted colours for a calm, uncluttered feel. Shown here with Wainscot Panel, £94.80 per sq m, on the lower half of the wall and Wainscot Plain, £82.80 per sq m, above, both in Gypsum.

Create wood panelling

If you’re ready to embrace wood, try using it on a wall. Cladding is a good way to cover up uneven surfaces or bring
order to an awkwardly shaped bedroom. It can also be useful – rows of slim batons provide a flexible grid to hook or hang small shelves from.

Timber comes in a variety of shades, textures, and plank sizes, plus it’s also neutral, so can work with any colour scheme you choose – and if you want a fresh new look, simply sand and refinish it with a different oil, wax or stain.

Douglas full-length solid wood floor planks cost from around £70.43 (€77.50) per sq m from Dinesen.

Keep it simple

You don’t HAVE to go all on the walls if you don’t fancy. But if you want a focal point, why not turn your attention to the floor instead? Keep walls pared back in white or a calm neutral paint and introduce colour and pattern through the bedroom floor instead.

Carpetright‘s Eclipse 575 Eleanor Vinyl has a geometric tile effect with a central flower motif in a contemporary cool blue and turquoise shade, £22.99 per sq m.

Play with paint

Without architectural features, such as cornicing and coving, modern bedroom walls can look a bit empty.

However, clever use of paint can fill the same role, adding points of interest and a cosy feel. Rather than opting for block colour from floor to ceiling, take the opportunity to subtle divide the space with sections.

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This could be as simple as a dado rail-style multicoloured stripe around the room, or by using one shade for two-thirds of the wall with a complementary tone for the third section – positioned around the height where a picture rail would sit.

Choose your favourite colours and away you go…

The rich berry tones of Dark Garnett bring warmth to this room, while Chocolate Fountain provides a welcome contrast. It’s edged with Tranquil Dawn – a soft neutral alternative to the starkness of white. All Matt Emulsion, £29.16 per 2.5L, Dulux.

Clay you say?

For the ultimate natural look, swap paint for a simple clay plaster. As well as providing a rustic feel, it ‘breathes’, so absorbs excess moisture from the surroundings and releases it when the air becomes drier.

Clay is also good at regulating temperature, so the space will be warmer in the winter and cooler in summer, making for a better night’s sleep all year round.

The one downside? Clay plaster absorbs light, so is best used in rooms that have layers of artificial light or receive plenty of sun.

Recyclable and VOC-free, Clayworks plasters are a blend of unfired clays mixed with minerals and pigments. Smooth Finish clay plaster in WHI 04, from £20 per sq m, Clayworks.

Go for a statement headboard

A panel covered in wallpaper is an easy way to bring pattern into your bedroom without too much commitment. Positioned behind the bed, it’ll at the same time create the luxurious impression of an oversized headboard.

Made from eco-friendly PVC-free materials, this Prismatic Palm wallpaper, also available in a light colour, has no height limit and starts from around £98.65 (€108.58) per sq m, Wallpepper.

Add art

The artworks we choose for our walls are often incredibly personal so the bedroom makes a good place to display them. There’s no need to stick to convention of one picture per space, so display them in the way that feels most natural to you.

Start by laying your art on the floor with a tape that defines the boundary line of the wall, working out from the centre, until you have an arrangement that feels balanced.

It might be a patchwork of sizes and styles or a more classic grid. Then, stand on a chair and take a photo from above – this helps you to visualise what the arrangement might look like before you commit to fixing it.  

Complementary colours and movement help a gallery wall to feel more cohesive. Blue Thunder, from £265, Picasso, The Kiss, Illusion, Art Absolutely.

Featured image: Lapicida.

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