Do This Don't: Wallpaper in the Kitchen

Do This Don't: Wallpaper in the Kitchen

Nancy Mitchell
Feb 14, 2014
Dramatic wallpaper livens up a kitchen from Lonny. The monochromatic palette keeps things from being too overwhelming.

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.

Hummingbirds by Cole & Son in a kitchen from Bolaget, via The Bower Birds.

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.

A Josef Frank print in a kitchen from Skona Hem.

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

Wallpaper in a kitchen from Hemnet.

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.)

Wallpaper in a kitchen by Andrea Schumacher Interiors, via Houzz.

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.

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.

Wallpaper in a kitchen from La Maison d'Anna G, via The Kitchn.

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.

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