Recently, she encountered another example of wallpaper used in an untraditional way: hidden inside a closet that housed a Murphy bed, at a Gramercy-area listing she represented. (The home was featured in the On the Market column in January and is now in contract.) When the Murphy bed is open, the black-and-white tree motif is a subtle surprise, adding interest to an otherwise typical room.
ADD COLOR After Liza Sandler, a former cast member of Bravo’s “Secrets and Wives,” moved from a large, traditional house in Old Westbury, N.Y., to a three-bedroom apartment in a modern glass-and-steel building on the Upper East Side, she hired Rona Landman, a Manhattan interior designer, to remake the space. Working in a style she described as “Hollywood glam,” Ms. Landman used dark paint on the walls and “bold bursts of saturated colors” throughout the apartment.
Because Ms. Sandler was used to “a much more neutral palette,” Ms. Landman said, she tested various colors on the walls and then painted the halls first, to give Ms. Sandler time to get used to the charcoal gray paint color she chose for the living and dining area. To complement the dark color, she added fuchsia throw pillows, a coffee table with a hot-pink base and bright accent walls — orange in the den and pale lavender in one of the bedrooms. “The chairs and the couch are all neutral, but we brought in color in the art and in one or two walls and with pillows and accents,” she said. “You can take the pillows away and go back, if you really want to.”
GO WILD ON ONE WALL Megan Hopp, an interior designer with Homepolish, used abstract custom wallpaper with a cosmic theme in lavender and silver to enliven a small, plain bedroom in an East Village apartment she decorated for a client last year. “Everything was white, and there wasn’t much to it,” she said. “We wanted the master bedroom to feel like a real oasis, and when we made the choice to go with the — well, galactic, I suppose you might call it — wallpaper, it really turned into a retreat from planet Earth!”
The print, a metallic wash from Calico Wallpaper’s Andromeda collection, takes up two walls in the bedroom and cost about $4,000. “It was a big price tag, but we all agreed that it really is a work of art on its own,” Ms. Hopp said. “We kept every other piece really neutral — no pattern, no color, nothing, an absolutely clean canvas — so as to let this glorious paper do its thing.”
She added: “We wanted to strike a balance in the room between totally bold and absolutely serene. Had we papered the entire room, I think the cosmic elements would have taken us on some sort of trip to outer space.”
PLAY WITH PATTERNED TILE Encaustic cement tile, which has been gaining popularity, is another good way to add graphic interest to a room. When Jade-Snow Carroll, a graphic designer, and Ian Rasch, a co-owner of Alander Construction, a construction and design-build company, redesigned their home in Hillsdale, N.Y., in 2015, they used cement tiles from Clé in a hex medley pattern (about $15 a square foot) behind the sink and stove; the eye-catching backsplash has a strong impact against the whitewashed floors and Baltic birch plywood cabinets. And in a small upstairs bathroom, they installed geometric floor tiles from Clé. “We chose a light gray, to add an element of interest,” Ms. Carroll said, “but to still keep it nice and light.” They were also careful to balance the bold pattern with neutral subway tile on the walls.
TRY AN ATTENTION-GRABBING PRINT “Bold wallpaper is such an easy way to completely transform a space quickly,” said Lindsay Chambers, an interior designer in West Hollywood, Calif., who used graphic paper in her home office. “It was a tight space to begin with, and it was dull and uninviting,” she said. “When I worked from home, I ended up working at the dining room table rather than in the office.” She added, “I had to do something bold to wake up the small space.”
Four rolls of Hygge & West’s Daydream wallpaper with its striking orange birds did the trick. A painting by Kelly Reemtsen of a woman in high heels standing on an office chair (which she already owned) and an $89 lumbar pillow from Room & Board pulled everything together. Because Ms. Chambers used art and furnishings she had on hand (including her desk and office chair), she was able to keep the total cost of labor and materials low: just $1,149 (including the wallpaper, at $165 a roll). It’s an investment, she said, that has paid off: “I now spend all my time in the space when I work from home.”