Designers say wallpaper is a secret ingredient for creating a unique, whimsical kitchen. Easy to work with, economical and versatile, wallpapers let you personalise your kitchen in an unexpected, playful way. With kitchen wallpaper, you can effortlessly transform your kitchen with graphic patterns, energetic bursts of colour or show-stopping feature walls. There’s such a wide variety of gorgeous statement papers to choose from. Whatever you choose, it’s sure to add vibrancy and charm to plain walls, cabinets or splashbacks.
And technology has advanced so far that now, kitchen wallpapers are specifically designed to withstand steam and humidity. You’ll usually find kitchen-themed wallpapers come in either vinyl or washable wallpapers.
The different types of wallpaper:
- Vinyl is paper-backed with the colour/pattern printed onto a vinyl surface. They’re usually washable, very hard-wearing, and don’t fade in sunlight.
- Washable wallpaper is paper which has a transparent coating covering the base printed paper. Washable papers are stain-resistant and can be wiped down with damp cloth but they’re less durable than vinyl.
If wallpapering a splashback area, a protective glass or plexiglass cover is often added to keep things pristine. It’s best to get a wallpaper installer out to make sure it is put up correctly and all in-line.
You can go for more permanent wallpaper options or choose peel-and-stick designs which are perfect for the DIY decorator. Either way, avoid fabric-based or very textured styles as grime tends to build up in embossing.
Here, we’ve done the legwork for you and gathered up all the best modern kitchen wallpaper designs, from faux tile to botanicals to subtle grey textures. There’s something for every kitchen style, so let’s dive right in.
Choose a wallpaper with heaps of personality, such as this quirky op-art inspired paper. From a distance, it looks like an abstract pattern but up close, it features fun character details.
White subway tile wallpaper
Tile backsplashes are gorgeous, but you can get the look on a budget with vinyl wallpaper. Current trends are for realistic faux stone, marble, brick or tile. Here, you’d never guess this subway “tile” is wallpaper.
Easily add texture to your kitchen with a simple, pebble-effect neutral. To decide between the many neutrals on offer, order samples in as large a size as is available. Hang them up where you plan to place them and make sure you are satisfied before purchasing your wallpaper.
Neutrals come in all kinds of designs, including this dreamy, storm cloud-effect paper, which suits a grey kitchen. Having trouble choosing a wallpaper? Check out wallpaper websites for inspo from their photo galleries. It will help if you can visualise your design in a real kitchen.
A simple tone-on-tone paper in a chevron or zigzag design adds texture and personality but remains understated.
Bold nature elements
An over-sized leaf-patterned wallpaper adds excitement to a bland kitchen.
Black and white gentle floral
Small-scale floral or botanical prints always work well in kitchens. For the best results, choose a simple pattern in a vibrant colour, or an intricate pattern in a neutral.
Subtle grey texture
Just like with paint, the colour of the wallpaper can change depending on the light. So it’s important you observe it at different times of day before committing to a style.
Black and white geo
Choose a timeless, classic print design to avoid it becoming dated. Prints like stripes, plaid, spots or geometric designs are evergreen choices.
Style up a feature area with an exuberant print. Tropical palms embody California cool and will have you permanently in holiday mode. If you’re partial to a splash of colour, check out these feature wall ideas.
Faux white brick
Visually extend your walls by running wallpaper up from the floor to the ceiling. This often works well in a kitchen with a lower ceiling.
Black kitchen backsplash
Transforming the splash zone behind the counter or sink is easy with wallpaper. It’s an inexpensive alternative to tile and is perfectly suited to kitchen backsplashes, as you can see here with this wallpaper that coordinates beautifully with the all black kitchen.
Botanical cupboard inlay
Commitment phobia? Start small. Line your cupboards with pretty peel-and-stick wallpaper—it’s an easy weekend DIY. Florals, botanicals, polka dots and geometric patterns work best.
Scandi + geo
Amp up the excitement factor with prints that make a strong statement.
Take the opportunity to be a little daring by going for peel-and-stick wallpaper. It’s a great way to try something new on a more temporary basis, as you can easily swap it out without damaging walls. How about trying an unusual print for your splashback, such as these dashes? And make sure you read our blog on kitchen splashback ideas for more design ideas.
Wallpaper with a marble print is so much more economical than the real thing. Here, the “marble” has gentle pastel tones.
Your choice of paper will influence the mood you create. Calm patterns will give off a relaxed vibe, while busy patterns might need to be used in smaller doses to avoid feeling overwhelming. This calm pattern in neutral grey ticks all the right boxes.
Modern + grey
Steer away from chintzy florals by choosing a contemporary neutral. This will look in any newly built home and it’s the perfect modern kitchen design.
Look up at the roof
It’s a little unusual but you can also wallpaper your ceiling for a striking feature.
Just a touch
Take advantage of the element of surprise by lining unexpected areas with a little wallpaper. You can line the inside of pantries, cupboards, drawers and shelving with something pretty, and your utilitarian kitchen elements don’t have to be so drab.
Well, Claude Monet had to go with tiles, but that doesn’t mean you have to! Copy the artist’s kitchen style with blue and white wallpaper in a gorgeous print. Blue and white is a classic kitchen colourway that just always feels fresh.
Take in the scenery
Get a seaside Hamptons kitchen vibe with this print wallpaper.
Blue colour pop border
When you want to keep the colours or patterns from being overpowering, just wallpaper a slender strip, such as a narrow wall.
Pretty yellow and blue country
It’s almost an unspoken rule that country or farmhouse style kitchens must have some sort of pretty mille fleur (a thousand flowers) wallpaper. You can counter the inherent femininity a bit by incorporating materials like stainless steel.
Quirky and colourful
Pick your favourite colour and make your kitchen your happy place. A saturated colour like yellow looks best in a white kitchen.
Love flowers? Bring the garden in with gorgeous colourful floral wallpaper lining your open shelving. Your plates and glassware will really pop against the backdrop.
Highlight your favoured wallpaper by applying it to just one wall. Choose the most uncluttered wall or one that is most visible when entering the room. Limiting your wallpaper to one wall means you can afford to go a bit crazier with it, choosing striking patterns that would overwhelm if repeated through the kitchen. You can also afford to splurge on a designer wallpaper when you are only dealing with a smaller space.
Inside pantry or cabinets
Covering the insides of cabinets or pantries allows you to enjoy little peeks of dramatic wallpaper. Papering up the inside of cabinets and shelving works especially well in a galley kitchen where there may be no “feature wall” space to decorate–this way, you can still incorporate wallpaper.
Wallpaper your island
Add colour or tones to a kitchen that’s too monochrome by wallpapering your kitchen island.
Wallpapers also come in a host of mural style designs, so you can cover an entire wall with a scene. While dramatic, larger prints like this can make your kitchen feel cosier, they can also age faster, so choose carefully!
Add some magic with a quirky feature wall that incorporates flora and fauna.
Under the island
Wallpaper just one side of your kitchen island. This lets you add a dose of pattern, but choose a heavy-duty wallpaper to avoid foot scuff marks.
Wallpaper a fridge
Wallpaper can be applied to appliances, too. But be judicious—you don’t want to go overboard covering everything. A fridge is a nice-sized element to cover with your favourite paper.
If you want to add some greenery there’s no bolder way to do it than with a tropical print for your kitchen wallpaper choice.
Black and white geo backsplash
If the idea of too much bright colour doesn’t appeal, go for a black and white wallpaper in a neat geometric design. This is a pattern that will go with any kitchen colour scheme and if you have an investment property, it’s a perfect choice.
Grey art deco inspired
Art Deco prints will never age. You can find a huge range of Art Deco-inspired patterned wallpapers—just make sure you line them up well due to the intricate line work.
Dramatic oversized floral
Subtle, small-scale prints are often most liveable, but bold, over-sized designs can also definitely work.
A classic print that’s thousands of years old, the famed Persian teardrop pattern is a symbol of life and eternity—nice meaningful vibes to have in your kitchen!
Faux pink brick
Pinks walls and kitchens are expected to continue to be popular in 2020. Mixing a shade of candy pink with charcoals and blacks looks stunning.
Teal garden accent wall
Choose a pattern that appeals to you and reflects your personality, because you’ll probably be spending a third of your life in this space. Colourful or busy accent walls work well with crisp white subway tile—or faux tile.
Vintage kitchen wallpaper
A vintage-style wallpaper looks fresh and modern when paired with contemporary materials. You can add to the nostalgic feel by displaying some carefully curated vintage kitchenware and voila you have a lovely retro kitchen.
Whether you confine it to one area or go large and cover a wall, stay true to your favoured kitchen style and choose paper that goes with your cabinetry, counters and hardware.
And if you do decide to add wallpaper, consider enhancing your new look with a coat of fresh paint over the rest of the kitchen: you can easily find a trustworthy painter or an expert in cabinet-painting near you.
Has our collection of kitchen wallpapers inspired you to choose a bold print or would you pick a neutral? Let us know in the comments below!
Feature image credit: Murals Your Way