Wallpaper is a very important part of decorating any area of our home and kitchen is no exception. Gone are the days when wallpaper was used only in living rooms and bedrooms. With technology and design improving all the time, wallpaper is no longer a splash hazard but a fabulous addition to our kitchen decor.
Conventional wisdom says that wallpapers and steamy, humid areas like kitchens don’t mix. However with a bit of creativity and know-how adding wallpaper to our kitchen can totally transform the space.”Wallpaper goes way beyond what can be done with paint,” says Cadee Wilder of Kreme. She adds, “Painted finishes, although great in some spaces, don’t equate to the luxury and opulence a few rolls of wallpaper can provide.” Versatile and easy to work with, it can be an ideal alternative to those who want to move away from convention. In this article, we will debunk most of the myths and prove that the wallpaper in the kitchen is not such a bad idea. Here are seven suggestions for using wallpaper that is guaranteed to give our kitchen a lift.
1. Something durable and clean
Tiles and paint (most brands of paint offer a more durable option for the kitchen) seem a much easier alternative when it comes to keeping our kitchen clean. As we all know, it doesn’t take much to make a mess in a kitchen. If we are messy cooks, we should seriously consider the kind of material for our kitchen walls.
Conventional wallpapers get dirty quickly, lose their appearance and they are too thin and absorb all the unpleasant smells. We should avoid anything fabric based or overly textured, in which grime can build up in the detail of the embossing. However, there is good news when it comes to new ranges of kitchen wallpaper. Many brands offer wipeable, and even washable, options. The most important thing to consider when choosing the right wallpaper for our kitchen is that it can be wiped clean with a damp cloth and even some gentle cleaning products.
We should also pay attention to the special designation, shown on the rolls:
- one wave – it means that the wallpaper is washable and can be used in the kitchen and other rooms with high humidity
- two waves – it’s a washable wallpaper and we can use a sponge or cloth when cleaning
- three waves – we can use chemical detergents to wipe the wallpaper
- one wave and brush – it means a high-quality wallpaper, which is resistant to mechanical stress; it can be cleaned even with hard brushes
2. Types of wallpapers recommended for kitchens
Three main types of wallpaper that can definitely be recommended for use in a kitchen are vinyl, novamura, and washable wallpapers.
Vinyl wallpapers are paper backed with the colors/patterns printed onto a vinyl surface. Vinyl is a chemical made from ethylene, which is derived from natural gas. Vinyl wallpapers are tough, washable and they do not fade when exposed to sunlight. The only drawback is that stripping vinyl wallpapers can be hard as the layer of vinyl makes them largely impervious to water.
Novamura is a foamed polyethylene wallpaper that feels like fabric and usually has a relief pattern – it springs back when we press it gently. It’s very durable and easy to clean.
Washable wallpapers must not to be confused with vinyl wallpapers described already above. Washable wallpapers have a thin plastic transparent coating covering the pattern printed on the base pulp paper. This coating makes them more resistant to stains and marks and allows them to be regularly wiped down with a damp cloth.
3. Choosing color and pattern
All rooms feel cold and empty without a hint of color and pattern. Fortunately, there is a large diversity of wallpaper types to choose from. Some have very simple designs and patterns while others are a real burst of energy. Depending on what we want to achieve by using wallpaper in our kitchen, we can either go for something simple and delicate for an overall serene and calm decor or choose something colorful and dynamic that would cheer up the atmosphere. Usually, the star of the wallpaper design is either the color or the pattern. An intricate pattern would look better if combined with simple, neutral colors while a simple pattern should go with bold or bright shades.
We should select a wallpaper that will work with existing cabinetry, countertop, and hardware colors. It’s important also to choose a pattern that will complement our kitchen’s style without looking dated over time. For a country kitchen, the best option would be for example a flower, vegetable, herb or farm animal motif. For a contemporary kitchen, we should choose a mod design with a geometric pattern of squares, circles or asymmetrical lines. If we like, we can even choose a design that mimics a brick, tile or stone surface.
Tip: Remember that horizontal stripes make the room seem wider, while vertical stripes give the illusion of height. The size of pattern matters, too. We can make a room look larger with big wallpaper patterns and we can make it appear cozier and more intimate with busy, small patterns such as polka dots.
4. Making a statement
There are so many new ways to use wallpaper in our kitchen. No longer constrained to four matching walls and staid prints, the latest wallpaper designs offer so much more. A great way to incorporate wallpaper into our kitchen is, for example, making a statement wall. We can use paint or tiles in areas such as behind the sink and the cooker, so we can really highlight our kitchen wallpaper by keeping it to a single wall. And which wall should we choose? The best choice would be a wall that is relatively plain but is somewhere we often look at, whether when sitting or walking into a room.
There are thousands of designs to choose from, and keeping it to one wall let us experiment with something more extravagant, colorful, or quirky. A pattern that might overwhelm our kitchen when used throughout would make a gorgeous statement on a single wall. Our imagination is the only limit – we can choose a colorful floral design or wallpaper with our favourite music band. We should find a design that will inject the personality right back into the heart of our home. What’s more, even if the wallpaper is quite expensive, in a small space we don’t need much to make a huge impact.
Tip: If we want the feature wall to make a bigger impact, we should put a mirror on the opposite wall to increase the feel of the wallpaper in our kitchen. And one more advice – it’s suggested to paint the walls surrounding a feature wall white or with a solid color found in the wallpaper.
5. Wallpaper the ceiling
The ceiling is an often-neglected space with great potential for adding to the appearance of our home. And who says wallpaper needs to go on our walls? Why not ignore the name and take our wallpaper off the walls and bring it up to the ceiling where it can complete our kitchen or even become the main design feature! Let’s think like Michelangelo and create our own Sistine chapel at home. Utilizing this fifth wall can also make our room feel bigger by drawing our eye upward.
Interior designers do not recommend the use of a dark color in small spaces. But if our kitchen is large enough, dark wallpaper on the ceiling gives this room a particular style and look stunningly luxurious.
6. Wallpaper the back of the shelves
Installing wallpaper in unexpected places is an innovative way to add bursts of modern design. We can for example place wallpaper on the back of shelves or inside drawers. These elements of surprise will wow our guests every time. The application process doesn’t differ greatly from placing wallpaper on our wall.
Here are a few things to bear in mind:
- We should select our color scheme very carefully. Wallpapered units look best in simply painted interiors so the wallpaper behind shelves can stand out. But if we fancy having bold colors on our walls as well, we should select the wallpaper in a similar shade.
- It’s suggested to choose classic prints – chevron may be on trend but it can easily date, while spotted prints or Art Deco prints will never age.
- The easiest way is to measure simply our shelf and cut the wallpaper a bit longer than the shelf and wide enough to wrap around it with an overlap.
- We have to select our accessories carefully – the best option is to stick to a trio of colors for the cleanest look.
It’s that easy to take furniture we already have to the next level.
7. Wallpaper a backsplash
The kitchen backsplash, the part of the wall behind the counter or sink, can catch a lot of abuse, from water droplets to grease spatter. The backsplash is a quite visible area in our kitchen, so it has to look nice. If we want to add a little life and zest to this underappreciated, much abused fragment of our wall, a bright or color-coordinated wallpaper makes a huge difference. Wallpaper is usually a delicate item, unable to face the rigors of a kitchen’s environment, especially around the sink area. But what about vinyl wallpaper? Both simple to clean and maintain, a wipeable, vinyl wallpaper is an inexpensive and interesting alternative to tile.
Nowadays wallpapers are miles away from the designs we’d find in our great aunt’s attic. They are easier to hang and remove, they are environmentally friendly, they can be washable and we can choose from hundreds of textures, finishes, materials and colors. Do not avoid wallpaper in the kitchen, step outside the expectations and run to the local wallpaper retailer for a fresh and fun new look!