14 living room wallpaper ideas for an easy update

From bold patterns to subtle textures, these living room wallpaper ideas will give your space an instant refresh

Blue and white living room wallpaper in maximalist living room
(Image credit: Mind the Gap)

The best thing about living room wallpaper ideas is how instantly they can completely change the look and feel of a space. A blah blank room can be totally transformed with just some paper and paste. And we know wallpaper has slightly fallen out of favor in recent years, but we never stopped loving the fun and creative spaces you can create with just a roll of paper, so we are dedicating a whole gallery to living room wallpapers to prove that wallpaper is exactly what your space needs. 

Living room wallpaper ideas

From bold deep floral prints that will add instant, to subtle textured paper that you barely notice, there are so many options out there to suit all styles and all spaces. But how do you choose a living room wallpaper with an infinite amount of choice available? Well, consider a few practical things before making your decision, like the size and aspect of the room and how much of the space you want to wallpaper. As a general rule in smaller spaces avoid small busy patterns as they can shrink the space. And look outside too, what lies beyond the windows? If it's the garden you might want to think about what colors will go with the greenery outside and be inspired by that. How do you use the room too? Is it a formal space or more cozy and relaxed?

Still unsure of what you are after? Well worry not because we have plenty of living room wallpaper ideas to get you inspired. 

1. Choose Mid-century patterns for a retro twist

Green living room with green wallpaper and large sofa

(Image credit: Future)

Wallpaper is a guaranteed way to really solidify your living room's overall style (or mix of styles). So choose a pattern that's going to enhance your theme and complete the look. Here, the striking green and black geometric wallpaper nods to the retro, Mid-century vibe of the furniture, patterns, and colors going on in the rest of the space.

2. Wallpaper the alcoves 

Living room wallpaper ideas

We know that feature walls aren't the huge trend they used to be, but they still sneak in just in new, more stylish forms. For example, rather than wallpapering the fireplace or the main wall, highlight quirky architectural features like alcoves by wallpapering them instead. 

The floral print used in this living room could potentially overwhelm the space, but just a hint of pattern in the alcoves creates the perfect feature and ties together the color scheme too. 

3. Fake a bookshelf 

Grey living room with wallpaper designed to mimic a bookshelf

(Image credit: Matthew Williams)

We all know this isn't really a bookshelf, but we still love the texture and interest and quirkiness prints like these bring to a room. Plus they do create a bit of an optical allusion that can work really well in small living rooms, especially when you pair it with fabulous dark walls and ceilings to create a really sophisticated, but cozy, vibe. 

4. Opt for a monochrome mural 

living room wallpaper

(Image credit: Future)

For a really simple, minimalistic look, opt for a mural. As there's no repeat pattern these can feel less busy than wallpaper but still add pattern and interest to the room. In this neutral living room the striking monochrome print adds texture to the very modern room and is a stylish nod to the architectural details of the room.

5. Wallpaper behind shelving

Blue living room with animal print wallpaper

(Image credit: James Merrell)

Make shelving really stand out by wallpapering the space behind them. It's a great way to bring in some color and pattern without making it such a focal point in the room, plus it livens up a boring built-in. Again, loving the deep, dramatic colors used in this dark living room too, and we think we now might have to rethink our love/hate relationship with animal print...

6. Add depth to a simple color scheme

Living room with white brick fireplace, dark grey wallpaper and berber rug

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

And going for a dark wallpaper doesn't mean the overall scheme of your room has to instantly go gothic. Sometimes darker hues can just add the right amount of depth to an otherwise quite neutral living room, so don't be afraid to try out bolder prints. 

See how in this living room, dark grey walls and a dark grey wallpaper mix with white tiles, pale flooring, and lots of natural light, so despite the deeper colors, the room still has an overall neutral look. 

7. Make it whimsical 

Living room with sky print wallpaper

(Image credit: Katya de Grunwald)

Create an instantly calming scheme that has a slightly fun and whimsical vibe by choosing a cloud print wallpaper. The almost watercolor effect adds such a softness and looks wonderful in a loftier room with high ceilings. Pair with warmer hues like golds and yellows that will really pop against all that blue. 

8. High ceilings? Be bold with your living room wallpaper

Living room with pink and black wallpaper and vintage furniture

(Image credit: James Merrell)

Speaking of high ceilings, if you have been blessed with them you really can be bold with your living room wallpaper. Pick something really dramatic like this gorgeous pink and black combination and either, embrace the trend for maximalism and add in even more pattern and quirky furniture, or opt for a really simple scheme in the rest of the space to let the wallpaper be the focus. 

9. Create an eclectic feel by mixing styles

Living room wallpaper ideas

How beautiful is this painted mural? It's subtle but really eye-catching at the same time, and works perfectly with the eclectic mix of styles going on in this living room. It works with the opulent feel of the room, the high ceilings and the gold accent, but it also sits well with the global touches too – adding yet more layers and interest to the room. 

10. Mix rich tones with gold for a dramatic look

Living room wallpaper ideas

Forget what we said about feature walls for a moment, sometimes there is just a very obvious wall that's calling out to be wallpapered. For example; this chimney breast. The inky blues look especially rich against all the warm tones of the wood and the gold touches add a touch of elegance and luxury. 

11. Contrast old and new

Clashing wallpaper with the style of your living room can create a really stylish modern look. In this living room, the very traditional ornate wallpaper actually came with the property, but rather than paint over it to suit the contemporary furniture, it was left to create the perfect contrast with all the clean lines and Mid-century style of the rest of the space. 

12. Mix and match living room wallpapers

Living room with wallpapered chimney breast and white fireplace

(Image credit: Future)

Can't decide between two living room wallpaper ideas? Choose both. This works especially well if you have alcoves – pick one style for the alcoves and another for the chimney breast. We'd recommend going for one style that's going to stand out as being bolder so the two patterns aren't competing for the focal point. 

13. Pick a reflective wallpaper

manor house apartment

(Image credit: Words - Joanna Simmons, Photogra)

Reflective wallpaper can work wonders in small or dark living rooms, bouncing more light around making them feel bigger and brighter. They are also a good option to mix into a very dark color palette like the one used in this living room to give all those rich deep hues a lift and stop the room feeling oppressive.

Which wallpaper is best for a living room?

The right wallpaper for the living room will be one that suits your personal taste that's also perfectly practical. Choose one that's wipe-clean and easy to maintain while also being the design aesthetic of your choice, whether that's floral, vintage, contemporary, ombre, botanical or tropical.

Patrick O’Donnell, Farrow & Ball Brand Ambassador, says: 'There is no rule of thumb necessarily, but as the living room is likely to be one of the most used in your home, choose something easy to live with that you love.

'Secondly, look at how much art you currently have on your living room walls - you don’t want the paper to distract from the paintings. Also, as wallpaper can be a significant expense, try not to err on achingly hip and consider the longevity of the design- will this look good in 10 years from now?'

Wallpaper designer Annika Reed believes you can't go wrong with botanicals, saying: 'I love inviting the outdoors inside, so greens are great for the living room as they are shown to be restful on the human eye and create a calm and optimistic space.'

How do I choose a living room wallpaper?

'There are so many options it can be intimidating to start. So it’s best to pick a colour and a theme and begin your search that way,' says Annika.

We spend a lot of time in the lounge, so think about how you want to feel in the living room, whether it's relaxed, energised or joyful. Botanicals and florals can create a tranquil yet colourful look that's uplifting as well as relaxing; or you may want to opt for a bold geometric print if you have a love of contemporary design. Tropical prints can lift the feeling of a room with pattern play, while muted tones can be completely calming. Let your personal preference decide, and trust your instincts.

'Firstly, think about the style you are trying to achieve for the whole room,' says Patrick. 'Whether urban, fashionable, or traditional, there are papers to suit all tastes from gothic, dark florals, romantic motifs to elegant graphics. Try creating a digital mood board with all your elements before you commit to wallpaper - it can be expensive to get wrong!'

Should you wallpaper the whole room?

'Whole wallpapered rooms tend to be the most successful as feature walls can alter the perception of room size and space,' says Farrow & Ball's Patrick O'Donnell. 'However, if you do choose a feature wall, make sure to select complementary paint for the remaining walls such as the ground colour or print colour of the wallpaper.'

Annika agrees, saying: 'If you want to wallpaper a room, I think committing to the paper and decorating the whole room is the way to go. It will bring a cohesive and elegant feel to your living room.

'A patterned wall can actually make the space feel bigger and will bring a newfound energy to the room. '

Of course, you don't have to wallpaper the whole room to create a striking look; if you want to simply give a nod to print, try wallpapering the alcoves, or choose a feature wall or smaller space to play with pattern.

Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.