“Wallpaper Canopies” Are the Coolest DIY Twist on Accent Walls

published Mar 15, 2024
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Newly installed breakfast nook.

Whether they’re created using bold paint colors or cozy textures, DIY accent walls have been a popular trend among renters and homeowners alike for the past few years. And don’t worry, accent wall lovers: It’s not going anywhere. But there have been a few twists on the trend that have caught my attention, including this one from DIYer Becks Huntley (@the_interior_lens).

When Becks was creating an intimate dining nook in her home, she wanted to make the space feel cozy, welcoming, and like it fit her own personal style. So on the back wall of the banquette, Becks centered floral wallpaper as an accent that continues on to the ceiling. The result is a fresh, fun version of an accent wall that Becks refers to — very appropriately! — as a “wallpaper canopy.”

“I was struggling to know what to call it, but then someone else wrote a comment on my Instagram using this phrase and I loved it,” Becks says. “I think it sums it up perfectly.”

The project looks luxe, but it’s totally DIY-able — with a few tips, Becks notes. Here’s her best advice for copying the look on your own.

Find a pattern that works in multiple directions.

Becks says she must’ve looked at hundreds of wallpaper designs before landing on the one she chose for her dining nook, which features a jungle of brightly hued flowers and plants on a white backdrop. And while she knew that she wanted a pattern with a lot of color, she thinks that a repeating print is important to any wallpaper canopy. 

“I wanted the wallpaper to work no matter which direction you were looking at it from,” Becks says. “I steered away from a wallpaper design with a large print or motifs, as I didn’t want it to feel too overpowering or make the space feel imbalanced.”

Go for peel-and-stick paper.

When it came to choosing the type of wallpaper for this project, either traditional or peel-and-stick, there were a number of reasons why Becks went with the latter. She knew wallpaper paste would be messier than adhesive backing, and was worried about keeping the area around the lighting fixture dry. Furthermore, peel-and-stick felt more forgiving, just in case any installation problems or future dissatisfaction arose. 

“Adding the wallpaper canopy felt a little out of my comfort zone, and I loved that peel-and-stick wallpaper would be easy to remove if I wanted a change or wasn’t pleased with the result, though so far I’ve been happy with it,” she says.

Be sure to buy enough panels for the job.

As Becks was planning the overall design of her dining nook, she paid close attention to the width that the wallpaper canopy needed to be in order to look proportional to the size of the U-shaped bench below it. “The scale of the canopy is important,” she says. “You’ll want to zone the space effectively so that the wallpaper is not too dominant or too underwhelming.”

You should map out the scale using painter’s tape, and then use those measurements to buy enough wallpaper to fit within it. “I felt like two panels would be too narrow for this space, so we used three panels of adjoining wallpaper and cut the two outside panels down to size,” Becks says. Again, because she chose a busy pattern, it was easier to hide these alterations. 

Bring in a partner for the installation.

Becks worked on this room refresh with her husband, and recommends having a partner during the installation of the wallpaper — for the back wall, and especially for the ceiling!

Prior to installation, Becks and her husband marked the wall where each panel would fit using a straight line (you could also rent a laser level). “One of us held the wallpaper panels while the other secured it in place,” Becks says. We cut the wallpaper to size beforehand, too, so that we didn’t have excess wallpaper to hold and maneuver.”

Once the panels were in their correct positions, the couple pushed out any air bubbles or lines together.

They love the look of the wallpaper canopy, and Becks says it’s a project that can stand on its own. “It’s injected so much personality and color into the space,” she says. “It’s been a great way to add wallpaper to an open-plan kitchen, living, and dining area without having to wallpaper the whole room.”