What can you do with wallpaper remnants? Genius, budget-friendly ideas using a single roll (or less)

Whether you have leftover wallpaper or want to make impact on a budget, these ideas will help you make use of what you've got in clever ways

A living room with white walls and alcoves decorated with blue and white patterned wallpaper
(Image credit: Future)

Do you have half a roll of wallpaper stored away in a cupboard? If you're anything like us, the chances are you have. The thing is, it's near impossible to purchase exactly the right amount of wallpaper for whatever project you've been working on, and even those who have calculated the precise amount buy a little extra to be on the safe side. But what should you do with it when you no longer have a use for it? 

The answer is simple: find a use for it. We all have spaces in our homes that lack that certain je ne sais quoi. Whether it's a dim alcove or lackluster shelving, there's a whole host of alternative uses for your leftover wallpaper that can help bring color and pattern into your home wherever it's needed most. 

However, shopping from wallpaper remnants is also a great way to make savings on your home decor. These might be single, even not-complete rolls that retailers find difficult to sell, so offer at a huge discount. You also might find them on sites like eBay or Facebook marketplace, where someone else has ended up with leftover wallpaper. It might be just the ticket to get a brilliant design at a bargain price. 

If you're looking for some alternative uses for your leftover wallpaper or wallpaper remnants, here are four ideas you might want to try.

Lilith headshot for bio
Lilith Hudson

Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. She's committed to sharing articles that help readers make the best design choices in their homes for a more colorful and personal home. For this piece, she spoke with leading designers to learn about the best uses for leftover wallpaper, even in the most unsuspecting places...

4 ideas to use wallpaper remnants

'Smaller, tucked-away areas can often be left neglected in home decor, but decorating them with wallpaper can make a subtle but effective difference,' says  James Mellan-Matulewicz, wallpaper designer at Bobbi Beck. 'Spaces that otherwise may have been left bare, such as alcoves and shelves, might not be the centerpiece of a room, but still have the potential to elevate it. Taking advantage of these areas will also allow you to take a sustainable approach to your interior design by using up any leftover wallpaper.' 

1. Inside panelling 

A living room with white walls with panelling filled in with colorful patterned wallpaper

(Image credit: Design: Colombe / Photography: Kasia Gatkowska)

For those of us with wall paneling, a great way to add a fun and quirky look to your traditional feature is by wallpapering within the panels. Not only does it add character and personality to your walls, but it frames the patterned design to create a focal point, as in this living room designed by interiors studio Colombe.

Even if you don't have paneling, you could even use wallpaper to give a faux paneling effect. If you’re looking for a comparatively cost-effective alternative to wallpapering your entire room, then framing a print or design in this way is sure to make a design statement, and it's a great way to recycle off-cuts since you won't need much wallpaper for the job. 

2. Inside shelving and drawers

An animal print themed room with black shelving decorated with wallpaper on the shelves

(Image credit: James Merrell)

Ask anyone who upcycles furniture and they'll tell you that one of the best ways to elevate a piece of furniture is by wallpapering within its recesses. The back of shelving and the bottom of drawers are two of the best spots to give this a try, but you could also apply wallpaper to the inside of your closet doors or cabinets. 

The best thing about this alternative use for wallpaper is that it introduces little ‘surprises’ to your home that grab the eye. Subtle yet impactful, these little pockets of color and pattern help to inject moments of joy around your home whenever you see them. Wallpapering bookshelves can also add depth, prompting your eye to focus on what’s inside, giving your ornaments, photographs, and books a moment to shine. Although not as durable, leftover wrapping paper also works well in these areas.

Vintage floral peel & stick wallpaper, Amazon
Go retro

<a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=107651&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2FHaokHome-Vintage-Wallpaper-Removable-Adhesive%2Fdp%2FB09WD3F7SB%3Ftag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Vintage floral peel & stick wallpaper, Amazon

Step back in time with the subtle pink and orange hues in this temporary wallpaper, perfect for the 70s revival feel. The textured material is re-positional and easily removable, and also features a grid measurement on the backing paper to make cutting to size simple. We're totally smitten. 

3. Around the fireplace 

A dining room with a glass table, red chairs and a pattern wallpapered chimney breast

(Image credit: James Merrell)

One architectural area of the home we all take for granted is the fireplace. You can add depth and dimension to your space by wallpapering the chimney breast, or even up the start of the flue (as long as your fire isn't in use, of course).

There is also a range of 'faux' effect wallpapers, that can compliment your fireplace. 'Using faux effect wallpaper is a great opportunity to embellish these unique spaces with impressive but budget-friendly designs,' says James of  Bobbi Beck. 'Faux wood paneling wallpaper around your fireplace, for example, is a great way to give your living area a cozy, warming atmosphere.'

Botanical fern print wallpaper, Wallpaper Direct

<a href="https://www.awin1.com/awclick.php?awinmid=3509&awinaffid=103504&clickref=hawk-custom-tracking&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.wallpaperdirect.com%2Fus%2Fproducts%2Farthouse%2Fbotanical-fern%2F186397" data-link-merchant="wallpaperdirect.com"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Botanical fern print wallpaper, Wallpaper Direct

For an enchanting alcove, why not try this botanical fern print wallpaper, from Wallpaper Direct. We love how the luscious on-trend greens pop against the charcoal background, perfect for adding depth and dimension to small nooks and niches. 

4. Above picture rails and dado rails

A colorful bedroom with a picture rail decorated with pink floral patterned wallpaper

(Image credit: Lick)

One of the best ways to create a sense of elegance and grandeur in your home is by wallpapering above forms of decorative molding such as picture rails. For a contemporary twist to this classic decor style choose a modern design - preferably one that appears elsewhere in your home - and be sure to coordinate it with your color palette

Wallpapering above your dado rails is another great way to introduce color and pattern without overwhelming a space. In a bathroom, consider tiling or paneling your walls to dado height and then wallpapering above. This adds a sense of space and draws the eyes up to your wallpaper, giving the illusion of extra height. You'll need a little more than just random off-cuts to achieve this look though, so make sure you have enough wallpaper for your project before you start.

Lilith Hudson
News Editor

Lilith Hudson is the News Editor at Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.