Design

Wallpaper Inspiration

Ohoy wallpaper by Fine Little Day and Lena Corwin Peace Towel

Liz Libré, the artist behind the creative studio Linda & Harriett, has an affection for wallpapers. She used four different designs in her Brooklyn apartment, which she shares with her husband, two children and their dog. Since wallpaper has always been a decorating dream of mine (someday!), I was thrilled to take peek inside and hear how it helped transform a minimalistic space into a charming home…

Crescent Moons wallpaper by Bartsch

Crescent Moons wallpaper by Bartsch

Above: Master bedroom entryway, with Crescent Moons wallpaper by Bartsch, from Paris.

Why did you want to use wallpaper in this apartment?

Our last apartment was in an old brownstone in Park Slope, Brooklyn. It was beautiful and full of character — creaky wood floors, exposed pipes — and there were many quirks, including mice. You didn’t have to work very hard to bring the place to life.

But, our new apartment was a white box when we moved in. It’s in a modern, new-construction apartment building and we live on a high floor. It has nice clean lines, but for us to feel at home, it really needed some warmth and personality. Wallpaper seemed like great way to add that.

What do you love the most about it?

There’s something so delightful about walking into a space and being surrounded by a pattern you feel a real connection to. It’s like walking into a giant hug. So nerdy, so true!

I recently read Marie Kondo’s book on de-cluttering (and I’ve happily started putting some of her methods into practice: bye bye, all of my clothes!) and I can completely get behind the idea of surrounding yourself with only things that spark joy. These wallpapers do that for me.

Choosing a wallpaper seems daunting. Where did you start?

For me, it was important to think about how wallpaper would fit in. I wanted it to feel both casual and like a bit of a visual treat. When we began decorating, I kept saying I wanted “a cabin in the sky.” We loved the convenience of a big modern building (hello, trash chute!) but we’re not squeaky clean people. We put our feet up on the coffee table, we throw water balloons in the bathroom, we have a 70-pound dog who’s allowed to lick our ankles. Nothing is precious or irreplaceable. So that’s the starting point for almost everything in our home, especially having two little people sharing this space.

Our interior designer friend Lizzy Sall has an impeccable eye and she helped us with so many design decisions in our apartment. I remember when Lizzy first sent us the link to the Crescent Moons wallpaper, and I liked it, but I wasn’t totally sure. Now it’s definitely my favorite. The pattern is a calm one, a perfect welcome to the place where you rest your head.

Seascape wallpaper by Abigail Edwards
Seascape wallpaper by Abigail Edwards

Above: Liz’s son’s bedroom, with Seascape wallpaper by Abigail Edwards, from England. Liz designed and drew the duvet cover’s pattern, which shows two make-believe dragon characters her son invented.

What about the paper in your son’s room?

The Seascape wallpaper has been a favorite of mine for years. I grew up going to the beach in the summer, and the ocean will always hold a special place in my heart, so I was attracted to the wave aspect immediately. The design is abstract enough to not feel too obviously beachy, and having a wave pattern in a city bedroom makes it even better.

We used it on just one wall in his room, which I think is a nice way to incorporate wallpaper in a bedroom without having it be the whole story in the space.

Dinner Party wallpaper by Jill Malek

hoy wallpaper by Fine Little Day

Above: The powder room, with Dinner Party wallpaper by Jill Malek, from New York, and the kids’ bathroom, with Ohoy wallpaper by Fine Little Day, from Sweden.

The wallpaper in your bathrooms really brings them to life. How did you decide on those?

I love wallpaper in small spaces, so I knew I wanted to use it in our bathrooms, which have no windows and are pretty sterile otherwise. Each wallpaper has a very visible handmade quality, which balanced out the minimalism of our bathrooms. I love anything hand-designed. That’s a big influence on my own work. When I can see the hand at play in something, I’m sold.

Jill Malek’s Dinner Party wallpapers, which have patterns based on wine glass stains, are fantastic. The design was a great fit for our powder room, which, somewhat unfortunately, sits right next to our dining table. (If you have a choice, don’t put your dining table next to the bathroom: Cheers! Flush. Awkward!)

The Ohoy wallpaper by Fine Little Day in our kids’ bathroom has been a favorite of mine for years. The drawings of ships, waves and a lighthouse were done by the designer’s eight-year-old son, Otto. She’s based in Sweden, and my husband is Swedish, so this was an easy sell for us. And, as parents to toddlers know, you spend a lot of time in the bathroom with your kids — making messes, getting clean, repeat, repeat — so this wallpaper gets enjoyed often!

Liz Libre wallpaper

What are some tips you’d pass on to someone considering wallpaper?

Make sure to measure accurately, and discuss the wallpaper with your installer prior to purchasing it, especially if you’re ordering it from another country. I ended up having to order more paper for two of the patterns we used because I hadn’t measured correctly. Also, like anything you bring into your home, I’d say to make sure there’s a real personal attraction to it. You should want to live with it. Having a friend with a good eye weigh in is always a good idea, too.

In terms of finding wallpapers, I always have luck browsing Design*Sponge and Remodelista for inspiration, and I’m excited about my friend Julia Rothman’s new wallpaper designs, coming out this month.

Are you thinking about papering any other walls?

We’re running out of surfaces to cover! But we’re going to Sweden this summer to visit my husband’s family and, now that we’ve talked so much about wallpaper in this interview, I might have to bring one home from the beautiful interior design shop, Svenskt Tenn. I passed on them the last time we were there, and to be surrounded by a Josef Frank pattern in my home would be a complete dream.

Thank you so much, Liz! What do you think? Are you a fan of wallpaper? Do you have any favorites in your home?

P.S. 10 favorite wallpapers and another NYC apartment with great wallpaper.

(Photos by Liz Libré)

  1. Monika says...

    Do you happen to know the source for the blue rug in the kid’s bedroom?
    Thank you in advance!

  2. The peace towel looks great! Where I can get those?

    • Thanks Lexi!

  3. Liz- one supertalented cool lady!!

  4. Hi Liz- your home is beautiful. So pleased you have chosen Seascape for your son’s room!

  5. Karen says...

    So beautiful. Thanks for sharing, Liz!

  6. Emily says...

    So beautiful! In wondering about what looks like wood boards in the white room next to the moon wallpaper (someone didn’t get much sleep last night – that was the clunkiest description). Is that painted on or are they actual boards? I like the look!

    • Emily says...

      Oh, and I would also love to know who the artist is behind the house painting in your son’s room. I keep thinking, btw, about that beautiful bedspread you designed for him – what a magical thing to do!

  7. Loved all her thoughtful answers as well as the beautiful paper!

  8. Love the wine glass stains and the gold dots on navy, so beautiful. I hate hanging wallpaper though and would have to pay to get someone in to do it, I always wind up with gaps and nothing lining up and wallpaper paste all over my arms, nightmare!

  9. Wow, she sure knows how to pick her wallpapers! In love with the crescent moon one

  10. Such quirky patterns, love the character these wallpapers add to their home!

  11. These are really beautiful wallpapers! Especially love the Seascape wallpaper, it is so dreamy and soothing!

    X Min, honeyandgazelle.wordpress.com

  12. I love love love these papers. Wish we had our own place or a landlord that allowed us to decorate properly. One day

  13. Omg those towels are killer. Where are they from?

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      The peace sign towel at the top of the post is by Lena Corwin. Isn’t it awesome? You can buy it here: http://peacetowel.lenacorwin.com Liz may be able to remember where her other towels came from!

  14. Anna says...

    Beautiful wallpaper! However, I would love some information on her son’s bed.

  15. Jenica says...

    love her home and would love to see more of it!

    Does anyone have good recommendations on where to go to buy wallpaper online?

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      Further down in the comments Liz and others recommended a bunch of great online sources, including sources for removable wallpaper.

  16. Katie says...

    Do you know who the artist is of the painting above the bed in the seascape room? I LOVE it. Thank you!

  17. nadia says...

    I would love to see a tour of her home. the photos are such beautiful teasers.

    • Thanks Lauren!
      xoxo
      Liz

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      agreed! so, so beautiful, especially with the lovely bedding.

  18. The seaside wallpaper looks so dreamy and calming. Seems like the perfect thing to fall asleep to.

    I’m an NYC fashion/lifestyle blogger. Check out sustenanceandstyle.com for my stylish adventures in the city :)

    With love from NYC,
    Stephanie

  19. Laura says...

    I am a Liz and Harriet geek! I have stacks of their stationary and love giving boxes to friends as impromptu gifts. Thanks for keeping us inspired Liz!

    • Thanks Laura! That’s so sweet!
      xoxo
      Liz

  20. That Dinner Party wine glass pattern in the bathroom! Stunning!!
    You had me at ‘wallpaper’–I’m obsessed, and adore peeking in at other ladies’ choices. I used Andrew Martin’s gorgeous bookshelf wallpaper as an accent wall in my bedroom (here’s a link if you’d like to see: http://www.superfluousfabulous.com/2015/04/on-master.html?m=1), and it’s a show-stopper. Makes me happy every morning when I wake up. ;)
    Great post!

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      Wow, that is cool!

  21. Jean says...

    I’ve loved Linda and Harriet for years!! Love anything Liz Libre does. Great post!

    • Thanks so much Jean!
      xoxo
      Liz

  22. Laura C says...

    Oooohhhh- Looooove the seascape and those moons!! But the glass marks- it’s a no-no for me.

  23. I’ve been having such wallpaper envy since I saw pictures Jen Gotch’s office. The whole room is wallpapered in white glitter! When I finally get around to designing my unborn child’s nursery, that seascape design you have featured is definitely my first pick!

    http://www.DisforDreamer.com

    • Danielle –
      I saw the pics of Jen’s office too – wowzer!! I don’t think I could be surrounded by that much glitter, but in her office it really seems to work.
      Liz

  24. Emily says...

    Greetings Lexi and Jo!

    These photographs are stunning, and I have always been a fan of fun wallpaper designs in small spaces. However, I have a question: do you find that the wall paper peels, or almost wilts, in the bathrooms (from steam, lack of ventilation, etc)? I, unfortunately, only have one very small window in the bathroom and am fearful this would happen. Is there a particular kind of wallpaper or way of putting it up that combats these problems? Perhaps this is a silly question, but I would love it if there is a trick to keep this from happening!!

    Thank you,
    Em

    • Hi Em –
      That’s a really good question and kudos to you for even thinking of that bc I definitely did not! We don’t have great ventilation and it hasn’t been an issue, but definitely worth asking if you’re concerned . Any reputable place that sells wallpaper should be able to help you. And your installer would definitely be able to advise.
      Liz

  25. i’ve seen that seascape wallpaper and looove it. it’s inspired me to hand-draw something similar on one of our bathroom walls. starting this weekend with fingers crossed!

  26. I can’t get over the French moon wallpaper on the CEILING. What a cozy look and perfect contrast with the bright white room beyond.

  27. Becca says...

    Is there a source you can share for the bedside table(s) in the son’s room?
    Beautiful home!

    • Ash says...

      I second Becca’s request on the bedside table!

      Also, beautiful job warming your home up with wallpaper – wonderful look without being too precious.

  28. Wow — they make SUCH a difference in her space! I love it.

    I’ll have to check out those removable wallpapers. My boyfriend and I are moving into a little two bed/one bath house in Austin in just over a month and wallpaper would look amazing in the bathroom!

    Always, Anita

  29. Katie says...

    It’s interesting because these are SO beautiful but whenever I look at houses for sale online and see wall paper I think “ugggggggg wall paper is the WORST.”

  30. I love the wallpaper! I’m thinking in my boy’s bedroom…it would be great to find similar wallpaper online and with the option: delivery in Barcelona-Spain (where I’m living)

    • [kissy emoji face]

  31. Ashley says...

    Would love recos on great temporary wall papers for us NYC renters!

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      See below! Liz Libre commented with a few of her picks.

  32. I, too, have wallpaper dreams…

  33. Wow. I absolutely love the seascape and the sailboats! I’d love to try this if we ever own a home (ha, funny joke, we live in San Francisco ;)

  34. This is awesome! Unfortunately, I rent here in Los Angeles. Do you or Liz have any recommendations for wallpaper that is removable. I’ve seen a couple articles on Apartment Therapy about it but nothing had the designs I’ve seen above. I love the wine stain and the moons! I would love something Mexican themed in the kitchen while I’m making my way thru this cookbook.

    http://www.teasersandrye.wordpress.com