Do This Don’t: Wallpaper in the Kitchen

updated Mar 11, 2020
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The kitchen, I can hear you saying, is the last place I would want wallpaper. Typically, kitchen finishes involve shiny, uniform surfaces. But consider that there is nothing quite like wallpaper for making a big impact in a small space (i.e., your kitchen). Fancy wallpaper is cheaper than fancy tile, and one simple addition can make it easy to clean, too. That’s a win all around.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

This is the secret to making wallpaper in the kitchen not a giant disaster — mount a layer of plexiglass to the wall between the upper and lower cabinets to protect the paper from water and oil.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

It’s a solution I’ve spotted in more than one kitchen. Here, a floral wallpaper adds an unexpected touch to a modern kitchen.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Here’s another modern kitchen, unexpectedly punched up with a floral wallpaper. An advantage of the plexi approach is that you don’t need the 4″ backsplash you sometimes see in kitchens, where the countertop material wraps onto the wall — it’s a more elegant and minimal treatment. (Although, of course, there is nothing minimal about a wall of rose-printed wallpaper.)

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

No plexi here — but a short marble backsplash and a full-height panel of marble behind the stove keep cleanup simple. Additionally, the wallpaper is sealed with a substance called Proseal, which protects it from moisture.

The kitchen of Leslie’s little apartment, photographed for Apartment Therapy by Bethany Nauert. (Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

Here’s some wallpaper in a kitchen from one of my very favorite Apartment Therapy tours, of Leslie’s tiny apartment in Los Angeles. No plexi here either, but perhaps she is a very diligent cleaner. All I know is that white + gold pattern is to die for.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

And finally, a clever idea from our friends at The Kitchn: if the idea of exposing wallpaper to the wear and tear of splashes and spills doesn’t thrill you, you can still liven up your kitchen with pattern by hanging wallpaper in the space between the upper cabinets and the ceiling.

Want even more wallpaper-in-the-kitchen inspiration? Click here.