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How To Tone Down Busy Wallpaper

Choosing different colors, patterns, and designs for your home can sometimes backfire. Suppose you wanted an eccentric wallpaper, and you're now wondering how to tone it down. Is there any way to make a wild wallpaper design less in your face?

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Luckily, there are ways to do this, which we'll cover throughout this article.

If your wallpaper becomes too busy, you want to try and neutralize it with softer colors. Specifically, we recommend adding framed artwork, sculptural pieces, and wall hangings to your space to help break things up.

Additionally, you can try hanging mirrors on a busy wall, as this will draw the eye away from the potentially busy wallpaper design.

For your furniture it's also a good idea to keep your furniture simple so your walls don't compete and stand out even more.

As we start this post, we will cover all things busy wallpaper and discuss how to help with this issue. Whether you regret your wallpaper decision, want to neutralize a room, or have other design questions, we're here to help. With that said, let's dive right into this topic below!

A dining room in luxury home with red floral wallpaper, How To Tone Down Busy Wallpaper

What Should I Do If My Wallpaper Looks Too Busy?

If your wallpaper has a wild design or color palette, there are many ways to lessen its appearance. As we said, you can hang framed artwork, sculptural pieces, and other wall hangings to help neutralize the walls in a room.

Dark living room interior with floral wallpaper

It's generally best to have framed art and wall hangings versus posters or borderless canvases, as the frame helps distinguish your piece and calm down the wallpaper behind it.

Moving to the floor, you want to find furniture that isn't too loud. Especially if your wallpaper overpowers a room, the last thing you need is bright-colored furniture and decor.

Therefore, it could be best to find a similar undertone between your walls and floors and use that as inspiration for your furnishings.

For example, let's say your wallpaper has a jungle-themed pattern. An excellent way to neutralize it would be hanging simple, framed art pieces and buying brown, tan, or nude furniture.

Should I Hang A Mirror Over Busy Wallpaper?

Using a mirror can save the day if you run into busy wallpaper and start to regret your design choices. Typically, hanging a large mirror or resting one against a busy wall can distract the eye, reflect light, and change how your space feels.

Especially if your wallpaper fills a smaller room with color and texture, adding an oversized mirror may be the silver lining you're looking for.

One mistake people make with wallpaper is trying to disguise it with even busier furniture, decor, and wall art. Although this may seem like a great idea, you're making the problem worse.

Instead, stick with simple colors and patterns for the rest of your room's design. Doing this will create harmony between your walls, floors, and furniture, ultimately saving your space.

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How Do You Style A Room With Busy Wallpaper?

Now that you know what pieces you can use to fix busy wallpaper let's talk about styling your room. As we said, you want to try and choose soft, neutral hues for your furniture and decor.

A few ways you can style busy wallpaper into your space include:

  • Starting with a common color from your wallpaper
  • Leaning toward prints that look hand-painted
  • Focusing your wallpaper onto an accent wall
  • Avoiding "shock-value" designs

Try to focus on a similar color scheme for your furniture, decor, and other art pieces. If your wallpaper features bright, neon tones, try and tone them down with neutrals (white, nudes, black, browns).

Furthermore, you can try pastel colors with busy wallpaper, as they're also calming to a room.

Especially if your wallpaper is on more than one wall/surface, it's critical to have everything else tie together and unify the space.

What Color Sofa Should I Have With Busy Wallpaper?

Living room with sofa and ornaments in front of large window with curtains

We recommend a calm, neutral option if you need to find the perfect sofa for busy wallpaper. Regardless of the pattern of your walls, having a cream, white, brown, or even grey sofa can be a good idea.

For example, a grey, white, or beige sofa would fit the space nicely if you have wallpaper with blues, silvers, and other related colors.

Again, you don't want to choose furniture with crazy colors, as this will compete with the wallpaper and make your room even more of a headache.

Current trends point towards neutral furniture throughout a home, so you can still be in style even with whacky wallpaper. It's all about undertones.

Should Sofa Be Lighter Or Darker Than The Walls?

You typically want to choose a lighter sofa than your walls. Even with crazy wallpaper, having a light, easy-to-decorate couch can make a huge difference.

We recommend saving the fun for your pillows and blankets and keeping your sofa very plain.

Let's say your wallpaper is light but still very busy with patterns. You can still find a soft cream or white sofa to use in the space, which will fit nicely.

Regardless, try and draw a little attention away from the walls and onto the floor or ceiling.

Where Should You Put Wallpaper In A House?

Green table with plant between pink chair and blue sofa in floral living room with wallpaper

Although you can put wallpaper anywhere, there are some things to consider. Generally, you want wallpaper in unexpected areas of your home where it can work its magic.

For example, you may want to put wallpaper:

  • On the ceiling
  • In a walk-in closet
  • On an accent wall
  • Inside the cabinets
  • In the bathroom
  • In your laundry room
  • Throughout the hallways

Of course, you can put wallpaper on walls in an entire room, but try and choose a pattern that is easy to accessorize and won't look too busy on your walls.

A great idea here would be adding wallpaper to one of the walls in your bedroom (behind the bed could work) and then keeping the other walls a simple paint color.

The same goes for the living room or dining room. Use your wallpaper to accentuate one wall rather than the entire space, as it loses its uniqueness if you overdo it.

You can still follow our suggestions for decorating your wallpaper accent wall or space.

Should I Have Wallpaper On Every Wall In A Room?

Depending on the wallpaper you choose, it can be better to keep it on a single wall. However, if you have a simple wallpaper design, you should be able to continue it on all of your walls without a problem.

This all comes down to your room, the wallpaper, and your plan for furniture and decor.

If you want colorful art, furnishings, and decorations, we don't recommend wallpaper everywhere, and vice versa. Luckily, if you change your mind, you should be able to remove the paper from your walls without damaging the paint underneath.

For more on this topic, check out our post: Should You Wallpaper A Whole Room Or Just An Accent Wall?

What Type Of Wallpaper Looks Best In A Home?

Feminine forest inspired bedroom

The best type of wallpaper for a house is usually neutral, has a simple pattern, and is made of durable vinyl material. Whether you decide on one wall with paper or all of them, you want to find something that can go with various furniture, art, and decor.

As we said above, busy wallpaper can lead to issues with your other decorating, and nobody wants to feel like they have to water everything down to make a room presentable.

Even though a super vibrant wallpaper design may seem fun at the store, having it fill your walls can be a very different situation. Therefore, we recommend applying the paper to one wall and seeing if you can pair your current furniture alongside it.

Worst case, you can always hang a mirror and framed art to help lessen the effects of your wallpaper, but this can be overwhelming in larger rooms.

What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Having Wallpaper?

Before deciding whether to install wallpaper, you want to consider the pros and cons. Let's check out some advantages and disadvantages of wallpaper below:

Advantages

  • Very durable and will last long on your walls
  • Cost-effective in the long run (outlasts paint by 3X)
  • High-quality wallpaper can mask wall imperfections
  • Can withstand wear and tear from pets and children

Disadvantages

  • Higher initial cost than paint
  • It may require professional installation
  • Not as easy to change compared to paint
  • Won't fit on every wall/into every space

So, if you look at these, there are certainly reasons to get wallpaper, but also reasons you may not want it. Again, this comes down to your walls, style, and price point.

To Finish It Up

Comfortable armchair near wall with floral wallpaper

Whether you have super bright wallpaper or choose a pattern that doesn't match your furniture and decor, it's always good to find ways to mask it. We found an easy way to tone down busy wallpaper using framed art, sculptural pieces, and mirrors.

Furthermore, you might want to consider neutral furniture and decor around busy wallpaper, which works to neutralize it. The softer your other items, the better they'll work alongside busy wallpaper.

Regardless of your space, remember to test your wallpaper first, find an easy-to-decorate pattern, and feel free to use it on one or every wall: whichever makes you happiest!

Want to read more helpful home articles? Look no further:

11 Fun Wallpaper Ideas For Living Room Feature Wall

Does Wallpaper Fade Over Time (And Can You Prevent That)?

Are Wallpaper Borders In Style, Or Are They Old fashioned?