Is your bathroom lacking character? Add instant personality with wallpaper!
While the all-white bathroom will never date, there’s been an emerging trend towards bolder, more colourful bathrooms. The trend is towards creating bathrooms that are a sanctuary for relaxation. People are keen to design a statement-making space that captures attention and tells a story about the owner’s taste and personality. And to achieve this, bathroom wallpaper is becoming a really popular decorating option.
Wallpaper enables you to cheaply introduce colour, texture and character into your bathroom. It’s super easy to apply these days. And modern wallpapers are also designed to be easily removed. This relative impermanence means you can afford to experiment with more daring designs.
New wallpaper collections are released by designers all the time, so there’s never any shortage of styles to suit any aesthetic or budget. But especially popular right now is paper with bold colours, oversized patterns, pretty floral and nature designs. Also, I’m seeing lots of intricate geometric designs, and shimmering metallic finishes.
Can you really wallpaper a bathroom?
Yes, definitely! Wallpaper technology has come a long way and the vinyl on offer now is extremely durable and well-suited even to bathrooms.
Following you’ll find our compilation of the best bathroom wallpaper ideas. But for more practical tips for ensuring wallpaper will work in your bathroom, scroll right to the bottom of this blog.
Now, let’s take a look at some inspiring bathroom wallpaper ideas in more detail.
1. Go botanical
Botanical and nature-themed wallpapers are making more appearances in stylish modern bathrooms. You don’t need to go all out with bright floral or garden colours though. There are plenty of botanical prints in neutral tones available to seamlessly blend in with neutral bathroom design.
2. Add some whimsy to your life
Your choice of wallpaper should make you smile every time you see it. What about something cute like flamingos?
3. Have an accent wall
You can cover your entire bathroom or just an accent wall as a focal point. If you choose to wallpaper up a feature wall, pick a wall where people’s attention is naturally focused when they enter the room.
4. Indulge your love for colour
Love colour? Why not go for a bold, vibrantly coloured wallpaper like jungle flora and fauna?. If you do so, then keep the rest of the bathroom white to balance out the shock of colour. You can always have white subway tiles halfway up the wall to prevent a print from becoming overwhelming.
One of the benefits of wallpaper is that you can mimic high-end materials for much less cost. If you love luxe materials like marble, granite, glass mosaic or terrazzo, but lack the budget—you can always go faux with bathroom wallpaper.
6. Freshen up with florals
A striking floral wallpaper has oodles of personality and charm. Florals are a classic choice for wallpaper prints, and they come in a huge variety of motifs so there’s something for every taste.
7. Especially oversized florals
Should you go for an oversized pattern or something with a small pattern? Designers have a rule of thumb, which is that you need to be able to repeat a pattern 3 or 4 times to be able to truly appreciate it. For this reason, patterns are best with a repeat of 12 inches or less.
Be especially careful with large scale patterns in tiny rooms as it can look odd if there isn’t enough room to repeat the entire pattern. Having said that, there is definitely a trend towards large scale, dramatic patterns and they can certainly pack a visual punch. And hey, rules are meant to be broken, right?
8. Go for gold geo
Have a powder room? They’re an ideal space to decorate with papers. Designers suggest wallpapering a tiny powder room so that it resembles a “jewel box”, ie something a bit extra. It’s usually a windowless room. So you can transform it on all sides with wallpaper if you so choose. Something with a reflective, metallic design or a shimmer, sheen or glitter effect is always great to catch the light. Wallpapering the ceiling can enhance the “jewel box” effect too.
9. Balance large florals with lots of white
A floral design on a white background always feels fresh and bright. You can also use of plenty of white in the rest of the décor.
10. Opt for large and abstract
Bold, abstract patterns work well to add dynamic visual interest. At the same time they’re not as distracting as prints that feature characters or distinct images.
11. Have just a feature area
You don’t need to wallpaper your entire bathroom – even just a small area can have an impact. Place your bathroom mirrors strategically to highlight your view.
12. Make it masculine
Florals can have a tendency to appear strongly feminine. But you can achieve a more unisex effect through an unfussy scale and neutral colour scheme.
13. Be leafy
A large scale tropical leaf print has become something of a new classic. Calming and yet at the same time dramatic, such wallpaper designs seem to transport you to a jungle watering hole.
14. Have an animal feature
Or you could try a bold animal pattern with tons of personality. A half wall of crisp white tile will keep a space with a lively print looking clean. Meanwhile organic accessories can be added to provide softness and balance out the drama of the bold colour and print.
15. Mix tile and paper
Something like gentle green fronds looks amazing set against a pastel pink background. The nature theme can be reinforced by indoor plants and warm, sunny accents.
16. Have half wallpaper, half panelling
An alternative to half tile/half wallpaper is to install panelling or wainscoting on the lower half of your bathroom or powder room. Choosing a strong pattern for a small room adds depth as well as helping make the walls recede.
17. Wow with wild birds and enchanted forests
Liven up an otherwise plain wall with a storytelling print above the vanity area or opposite a toilet. With a busy, invigorating print, keep the rest of the bathroom simple and add plenty of white.
18. Add Art Deco elegance
Wallpaper doesn’t have to be bold and colourful. There are plenty of subtle, understated wallpapers on the market that provide texture and satisfy our desire for a pattern. A fishscale print or gold geo print has a nice Art Deco flavour and can gently pick up colours in stones or timbers. Or maybe a faux marble – modern papers can look very realistic.
A gold palm print on a peacock blue background gives off tropical resort vibes for a serene bathroom. Add gold accents in the tapware and statement wall sconces that complement the wallpaper. A simple white vanity will allow the paper to remain the centre of attention.
20. Go on grid
This neat and tidy geo grid pattern wallpaper injects a dose of pattern into a boring and small space. The highly linear quality of the geo design contrasts nicely with the organic forms and rounded shapes elsewhere in the décor.
21. Highlight a bold pattern
If you prefer a bold pattern like graphic monochrome flowers, make sure that textures elsewhere in the bathroom are kept to a minimum. Simple black and white accents and brass fittings keep things harmonious.
22. Bring in bright geo
Geo papers create a modern, fresh feel. The patterns usually works perfectly with high-contrast white subway tile.
Need help with your subway tiling? Find an expert bathroom tiler. And if you want to explore tiling options beyond subway, make sure you check out this article on bathroom tile ideas.
23. Add a bunch of flowers
Amplify the drama of your bathroom with gorgeous blooms printed on beautiful backgrounds, the larger the better.
24. Introduce pattern with dapples and spots
Soft dappled, speckled or randomly spotted wallpaper adds texture to a bathroom. It can also pick up other colours in the décor.
25. Get Florence Broadhurst vibes
She was the doyenne of wallpaper design last century. Australian wallpaper designer Florence Broadhurst was famed for her geometrics and oversized nature-themes. Her wonderful archive of designs has now been reworked with digital technology and made available online. If you can’t get the real thing, there’s plenty of replica Broadhurst bamboo prints out there. They can offer a lovely way of introducing a nature motif that adds plenty of excitement to a contemporary bathroom.
26. Add abstracts and 3D effects
If you prefer neutral patterns to wild, bold prints, choose a simple op-art inspired abstract such as this subtle design. The wallpaper has a “trompe l’oeil” effect. This is an optical illusion which creates a three-dimensional quality, adding depth.
Structured, symmetrical geo prints like a hexagon faux tile make a bathroom appear instantly modern. It doesn’t matter if you go for a geo pattern involving polygons, squares, triangles, or grids. The print will provide a lovely contrast to any natural rounded shapes or organic materials in the décor.
27. Pick flowers for farmhouses
A traditional, pretty floral print suits a farmhouse aesthetic well. How about a gorgeous buttercup yellow, enhanced by gold accents?
28. Go grasscloth for texture
Wallpaper doesn’t have to be patterned—you can choose from a huge range of simple, plain designs. Choose something like grasscloth for a lovely textured effect. The advantage over paint is that your wallpaper will provide more visual interest and texture. A soft, linen look wallpaper can introduce a beautifully calming effect.
29. Make it moody with stormy greys
Lie back and gaze at expressive, abstract wallpaper reminiscent of storm clouds. Wallpapering the ceiling can work really well if you contrast it with a half-wall of white panelling, thereby keeping the “clouds” in the “sky”.
And that’s a wrap on bathroom wallpaper ideas to consider for your next bathroom renovation. Let me know your thoughts on bathroom wallpaper in the comments below!
Here I’ve gathered some tips for ensuring wallpaper will work in your bathroom.
Make sure you have a well-ventilated bathroom with a good bathroom fan to stop steam from seeping into the wallpaper. Fans are often an afterthought. But you actually need the right one for the size of the room, so get a professional to help with your bathroom extractor fan installation.
Get humidity safe wallpaper and use a mould-proof wallpaper primer on the wall before you apply the paper.
Use only splash-proof, wipeable wallpapers near the sink and tub.
Choose solid vinyl, fabric-backed vinyl or paper-backed vinyl wallpapers. These are typically scrubbable and strippable (that is, designed for easy removal). And they’re also very resistant to moisture and humidity.
For pasted papers, use mould-proof wallpaper paste. Use extra paste under areas near a shower.
Coat your wallpaper in clear, acrylic decorator’s varnish. This protects, seals and boosts resistance to moisture, heat and staining.
Consider only wallpapering the top half of your bathroom or toilet and installing tiling on the lower half or in areas prone to splashing.
Still nervous about using wallpaper in a bathroom? Go for wallpaper in your small toilet or powder room instead as there will be no steam to affect the wallpaper.