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10 best wallpapers for jazzing up your living space

From Matisse-inspired prints to floral designs, express your style with these intricate coverings

Ali Howard
Tuesday 07 December 2021 16:41 GMT
<p>As well as looking fabulous, our top picks had to be durable and easy to hang </p>

As well as looking fabulous, our top picks had to be durable and easy to hang

From big name interior brands to artisanal printmakers, today’s wallpaper designs continue to impress with seemingly boundless creativity – we really are spoiled for choice with a huge range of papers on offer, celebrating pattern and colour.

As diverse in design as wallpapers are, one overarching trend we’ve noticed is escapism – and that’s little wonder given the effects of the last few years. But escapism can come in many forms, whether that’s a contemporary abstract design that jumps off the wall, or a more literal travel-inspired illustration, taking us straight to the sunny Mediterranean on the dreariest of winter days.

Whether you’re after a restrained splash of colour on a chimney breast, or you’re looking to pretty up your entire living room with floor-to-ceiling florals, there’s fun to be had in choosing your perfect paper.

It’s wise to get hold of wallpaper samples you can try out in situ; these are usually available for small change. And if you’re going the DIY route, consider user-friendly papers with a “paste the wall” hanging method – there’ll be less mess all round.

How we tested

We trialled our top 10 wallpapers on a test wall, looking for great design, big impact coverage, ease of hanging, and durability.

Read more:

The best wallpapers for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Oh So Daisy she’s a wildflower wallpaper in brights on vintage cream: £48,
  • Best eco-friendly paper – Bobbi Beck float abstract floral wallpaper: £85,
  • Best winter florals – Kristjana S Williams Kirsuberja vines wallpaper, aubergine: £225,
  • Best colour combination – Ella Doran magic garden wallpaper: £150,
  • Best for kids’ rooms – Divine Savages extinctopia glacier blue wallpaper: £150,
  • Best surface print wallpaper – Susie Atkinson design dipley wallpaper, green: £90,
  • Best for the home bar – Bobo 1325 frenemy midsummer night wallpaper: £180,
  • Best for a slice of the Mediterranean – Archive by Sanderson fruit wallpaper, tangled green: £150,
  • Best for a spring-fresh look – Elizabeth Ockford Kamala wallpaper, grey: £145,
  • Best for art lovers – Made of Matter Matisse Laurel wallpaper: £62 per sqm,

Oh So Daisy she’s a wildflower wallpaper in brights on vintage cream

Oh So Daisy she’s a wildflower wallpaper in brights on vintage cream indybest.jpg

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

Dimensions: 50cm x 10m per roll

Print studio Oh So Daisy’s ethos is to “spread joy and happiness to our loved ones and ourselves” and that’s exactly what designer Kelly-Anne Dietz’s retro illustrations achieve. This Seventies inspired floral wallpaper is positively bursting with joy. With its mix of pastels and deeper hues, it is a feel-good celebration of colour. The cartoon-like wildflowers, outlined in black, give it a fun, playful appeal, while its pale cream background keeps the look light and breezy. As with all Lust Home’s paste-the-wall offerings, this one’s high quality and easy to put up. It’s also pleasingly affordable, coming in generous 10m rolls.

  1. £48 from
Prices may vary
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Bobbi Beck float abstract floral wallpaper

Bobbi Beck float abstract floral wallpaper indybest.jpg

Best: Eco-friendly paper

Rating: 9/10

Dimensions: 75cm x 7m per roll

With seriously clever design, this contemporary wallcovering manages to be busy and intricately detailed, yet at the same time, wonderfully light and airy. The lined illustration really does seem to float, offering an ethereal look, and with its overlapping leaf-like motifs, there’s great depth, too. The wallpaper boasts a loose and large vertical repeat pattern, making it easy to match up on the wall, and the roll comes in extra wide 75cm strips, which we found gave us great coverage in no time. This one also scores points on its impressive eco credentials. Think PVC-free paper printed with non-toxic inks, and in 100 per cent recyclable packaging. Green in more ways than one.

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Kristjana S Williams Kirsuberja vines wallpaper, aubergine

Kristjana S Williams Kirsuberja vines wallpaper, aubergine indybest.jpg

Best: Winter florals

Rating: 9/10

Dimensions: Roll consists of 3 lengths of 70cm x 3m

This is another satisfyingly wide roll from the boundlessly creative Kristjana S Williams studio. The riot of colourful florals is designed to really pop out on a dark background and the emeralds, magentas, violets and yellows are incredibly pigment-rich, which awards the wallcovering a wonderful depth. We loved the attention to detail with this wallpaper. Look closely and you’ll find tiny butterflies and intricately illustrated strawberry vines within the densely packed wild meadow flowers. Maximalists will love this one on all four walls, but if you’re of the opinion that less is more, the design works beautifully on an accent wall or on a chimney breast.

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Ella Doran magic garden wallpaper

Ella Doran magic garden wallpaper indybest.jpg

Best: Colour combination

Rating: 9/10

Dimensions: 52cm x 10m

Inspired by the paintings of the Bloomsbury set, it’s fair to say that Ella Doran’s offering is an eccentric one. In a move away from the designer’s typically strict digital prints, this time, she’s gone freehand with the paintbrush and the result is a beautifully fluid, painterly wallcovering. The contemporary tree design echoes the colours of nature and boldly mixes seasonal hues from the neon bright yellows of spring to the burnt orange leaves of autumn, against a warm mauve-grey background. We loved the way the colours popped out on our wall. This one’s made with high grade FSC paper, and Ella donates one per cent of every sale to Tree Sisters, an organisation that aims to empower women around the world to mitigate climate change through tree planting.

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Divine Savages extinctopia glacier blue wallpaper

Divine Savages extinctopia glacier blue wallpaper indybest.jpg

Best: For kids’ rooms

Rating: 8/10

Dimensions: Roll consists of 3 lengths of 52cm x 3m

From this south London based husband and husband team, and in collaboration with the Natural History Museum, comes a design inspired by the Victorian dinosaur sculptures found at Crystal Palace Park. But you don’t have to be a local to appreciate these prehistoric beasts in all their glory. Like a modern-day toile de Jouy print, the wallpaper features a series of Jurassic scenes suspended like clouds, and the attention to detail is incredible. Intricately illustrated, and on a calming blue background, the wallpaper is great for a kids’ room but it’s sufficiently grown-up enough to find pride of place in a quirky adult living space, too. The smooth matte paper comes in three easy to hang lengths, making pattern matching child’s play.

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Susie Atkinson design dipley wallpaper, green

Susie Atkinson design dipley wallpaper, green indybest.jpg

Best: Surface print wallpaper

Rating: 8/10

Dimensions: 52cm x 10.05m

This timeless wallpaper comes from printmaker Ellen Merchant’s wild meadow collection, and has been crafted using the traditional surface print technique with age-old machinery. As such it offers a charmingly artisanal aesthetic. Take a closer look at the repeat daisy motifs and ditsy polka dots and you’ll find perfectly imperfect variations in the print. This gives the wallcovering a craft-driven character and texture that you just don’t get with a digital print product. With its diminutive repeat pattern, the wallcovering offers a smart geometric look from afar, and it’s only when you get close up that you notice the detail in the little daisies. Beautifully crafted, it feels as fresh as a daisy in the green colourway.

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Bobo 1325 frenemy midsummer night wallpaper

Bobo 1325 frenemy midsummer night wallpaper indybest.jpg

Best: For the home bar

Rating: 8/10

Dimensions: 52cm x 10m

If you like your walls to tell a story you’ll love Bobo 1325’s frenemy design. Inspired by Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart, the painstakingly hand-drawn wallpaper features a wealth of florals, fruits and birds, intertwined with motifs from the dark side – taking the concept of winter florals to a whole new level. Think human skulls and floating rib cages, with menacing snakes and creepy spiders poking through. While this is certainly not a wallpaper for arachnophobes, it will appeal hugely to maximalists and eccentrics in the market for a wallcovering less ordinary. We loved how we kept finding surprising new elements. We couldn’t quite see this one in our calming living space but if we had a dedicated home bar, it would work perfectly.

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Archive by Sanderson fruit wallpaper, tangled green

Archive by Sanderson fruit wallpaper, tangles green indybest.jpg

Best: For a slice of the Mediterranean

Rating: 8/10

Dimensions: 52cm x 10.05m

This fruity wallcovering forms part of luxury fabric and wallpaper specialists Sanderson’s new archive collection. Drawing on 160 years of design history, and featuring some of Britain’s most iconic brands, the range celebrates colour and eclecticism at its very best. Tangled Green is, of course, a beloved 1864 William Morris print, and with its intertwined fruit and flowers on a bed of bright green foliage, the revisited design brings a vibrant slice of Mediterranean charm to modern living spaces. One for maximalists and design history lovers alike.

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Elizabeth Ockford Kamala wallpaper, grey

Elizabeth Ockford Kamala wallpaper, grey indybest.jpg

Best: For a spring-fresh look

Rating: 8/10

Dimensions: 52cm x 10.05m

Forming part of Elizabeth Ockford’s garden collection, in which nature-inspired wallpapers are named after women who’ve inspired the designer – Kamala of course references the first female vice president of the United States. In pigment-rich hand-painted water colours, the flight of butterflies is said to symbolise transformation, change, and hope. What we loved most about the design is its lively sense of movement, which you wouldn’t get with a strict repeat pattern. On a warm grey background the colours really pop out, too, awarding the paper an attractive dynamic. It’s a high quality, pretty and timeless wallcovering.

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Made of Matter Matisse Laurel wallpaper: £62 per sqm

Made of Matter Matisse Laurel wallpaper indybest.jpg

Best: For art lovers

Rating: 8/10

Dimensions: £62 per sqm

This high-end wallcovering is printed to our exact room dimensions, meaning there’s zero waste and, music to the ears of the maths averse, no need to worry about miscalculating the number of rolls needed and finding yourself short. Simply enter the height and width of your walls online and the brand will do the rest. Inspired by Matisse’s signature cut-outs, this one features the French artist’s instantly recognisable forms. Within the leaf-like shapes and symbols there’s dynamic collage detail, which gives the wallpaper a lovely depth and visual texture as it contrasts between the flat, two-dimensional elements and the lively three-dimensional motifs. Beautifully designed and printed on high quality paper, it’s a modern art lover’s dream.

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The verdict: Wallpaper

Oh So Daisy’s she’s a wildflower wallpaper via Lust Home brought immediate joy to our living space. We loved its quirky Seventies look – an infectiously fun burst of colour. This is a good quality, user-friendly wallcovering that’s on the affordable side, too. We also loved Bobbi Beck’s Float abstract floral wallpaper for its unusual contemporary design with dynamism and depth.

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