12 unique wallpaper ideas for renters and homeowners at every budget

Posted On Tue, January 31, 2017 By

Posted On Tue, January 31, 2017 By In apartment living 101, Design, Features, NYC Guides

6sqft’s series Apartment Living 101 is aimed at helping New Yorkers navigate the challenges of creating a happy home in the big city. This week we get tips from historic interiors expert Elizabeth Finkelstein, founder of CIRCA, a curated historic house marketplace showcasing the most beautiful old homes for sale all across the country, and columnist at Country Living Magazine. She’s rounded up some fun, beautiful, and modern wall treatments for renters and homeowners at every budget.

If comparing paint samples makes you blue in the face (yes, there are indeed over fifty shades of grey), why not opt for wallpaper instead? It’s fun, it’s an instant conversation-starter, and we promise it’ll look the same in every light. Grandma’s favorite decorating staple is undergoing a fresh, modern renaissance–and thanks to some innovative artists designing with the renter in mind, it’s easier than ever to install. From peel-and-stick options to those you can roll on with a brush, we’ve rounded up our favorite wall treatments for every budget!

1. Magnetic Woodlands Wallpaper by Sian Zeng

London-based company Sian Zeng specializes in quirky wallpapers with a bespoke feel, designed to encourage playfulness and imagination at all ages. Turn your next cocktail party into a rollicking game of “pin the tail on the wallpaper” with this whimsical woodlands decor that comes complete with a collection of magnetic creatures.

2. Pineapple Removable Wallpaper by Kate Zaremba Company ↑

Love the idea of wallpaper, but afraid to commit? Etsy darling Kate Zaremba designs with the renter in mind. The adhesive on the back is activated when immersed in water, so no paste is required. If that still seems intimidating, fear not–most of Kate’s prints are also offered in peel-and-stick versions.

3. Woodstock Antique Rose Digital Wallpaper by Cath Kidston ↑

British fashion designer Cath Kidston has devised a line of digital wallpaper that’s over-the-top in all the best ways. These bountiful bouquets would look equally fabulous in a large sunroom or a small powder room.

4. Family Reunion Wallpaper by Juju ↑

Juju is a boutique design studio operating out of Portland, Oregon. Their made-to-order wallpapers are all printed by hand, and offer a dose of crafty goodness for any room in your house. Their Family Reunion print may or may not have magical powers, but it’s certainly charming.

Chasing Paper popsicle wallpaper

5. Popsicle Removable Wallpaper by Alessandra Olanow for Chasing Paper ↑

High fructose corn syrup never looked cuter! Featuring a cast of retro refreshments, Alessandra Olanow’s Popsicle wallpaper is a guilt-free way to sweeten up any room. Plus, it’s peel-and-stick, so you can install it in a flash.

6. Tackapousha Wallpaper by Grow House Grow ↑

Tackapousha was chief of the Massapequa tribe, native to the area now known as Far Rockaway. Brooklyn-based designer Katie Deedy (who specializes in narrative-inspired design) spins his tale into a fanciful pattern of arrows and graceful lines, that, according to Ms. Deedy, “aims to bridge the wild beaches of Tackapousha’s 17th century home with the glamor of Far Rockaway’s golden age.”

7. New York Toile by Timorous Beasties ↑

Die-hard New Yorkers (and those seeking a classic look with a twist) will adore this daring print by Glasgow-based Timorous Beasties, which is anything but your run-of-the-mill toile. Look closely–those are New York scenes. Other patterns offered by the company are Glasgow Toile, Edinburgh Toile, London Toile and—our personal favorite—Pigeon Toile.

8. Brooklyn Toile EZ Papes Wallpaper by Flavor Paper ↑

Is Brooklyn more your speed? In conjunction with Revolver New York (and produced by Flavor Paper), The Beastie Boys’ Mike Diamond developed this print as a cheeky way to line the walls in his Brooklyn brownstone. It’s all there: subways, pigeons, Coney Island, Hasidic Jews, the Notorious B.I.G.—even stroller moms.

9. Watercolor Mural by anewall ↑

We first fell in love with anewall after discovering their impressive array of oversized vintage prints for sale. As far as wall coverings go, you can’t beat this self-adhesive, vinyl watercolor splash, which is a whopping 12.5 feet wide. WHAM, BAM—instant gorgeousness!

10. Patterned Paint Rollers by Paint & Courage ↑

If you love the look of wallpaper but are scared to death of installing it, consider painting it on instead. Paint & Courage offers an array of patterned paint rollers that “roll” a pattern onto the wall like a rubber stamp. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than wallpaper, and if you mess up, you can just paint right over it!

11. Pineapple Mint Wallpaper by Rifle Paper Company for Hygge & West ↑

Nothing wows like a traditional motif spun in fresh, modern colors. Rifle Paper Company nails it with this hand screen-printed, brilliant, mint green design featuring the beloved pineapple—the international symbol of hospitality. If you love the print but would prefer something a bit more subdued, check out the four other available colors.

12. Riviera Digital Wallpaper by Cath Kidston ↑

Ms. Kidston is so nice, we’re featuring her twice. We could all use a little mid-century kitsch in our lives, and this riviera-themed wallpaper might be just the ticket.


Elizabeth is the founder of CIRCA and a self-proclaimed old house junkie. Born in an 1850s Greek Revival home that was lovingly restored by her parents (and having been “dragged” to more country auctions than she can count), Elizabeth’s love for crown molding and decorative ironwork runs in her gene pool. After high school, she left the quiet of the countryside for the bright lights of the big city to entrench herself in New York’s great history and architecture. With a graduate degree in Historic Preservation, Elizabeth has worked tirelessly for the cause in the field of advocacy, most recently as a private historic research consultant and writer. Elizabeth, her husband Ethan and their beagle Banjo fantasize simultaneously about owning a Brooklyn brownstone and buying a big, old farmhouse somewhere far, far away. In the meantime, CIRCA Old Houses keeps them dreaming. Read Elizabeth’s weekly column over at Country Living Magazine, where she features some her favorite old houses for sale.


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