This Bold Wallpaper Trend for 2024 Will Make Your Small Space Look Bigger
By now, you’re most likely aware that wallpapering the ceiling — which many designers refer to as a room’s “fifth wall” — is majorly on trend. Choosing to take the plunge by wallpapering a kitchen ceiling isn’t something I’ve seen quite as often, but I’m most definitely loving this trending design detail for a fresh look in 2024 — especially for small kitchens, which can benefit from a little fool-the-eye magic to make them look larger.
How do I know this idea is designer-approved? Well, I’ve noticed several designers papering the ceiling in their personal kitchens, and what bigger testament to the visual impact of this design move is that? I’ve often found many designers treat their own homes as test labs for emerging ideas, and there’s plenty to learn from their examples.
Up first is the kitchen ceiling in designer Andrea Schumacher’s office headquarters. There, the founder of the eponymous Denver-based firm Andrea Schumacher Interiors, set off the green walls and blue cabinetry with Kelly Wearstler’s signature Graffito II print. “By incorporating wallpaper on the ceiling in your kitchen, you can create a striking focal point that draws the eye upward and adds depth to the room,” Schumacher says. This is where you can tap into some of that fool-the-eye magic, especially with a lighter paper as shown above, which can make your room appear loftier. “I believe wallpaper is the perfect medium to achieve this effect, as it offers an extensive range of colors, patterns, and textures to suit any design style.”
Designer Isabel Ladd, the founder of Isabel Ladd Interiors in Lexington, Kentucky, opted to wallpaper the kitchen ceiling in her own home with a graphic lattice motif and is a proponent of working with striking patterns in cook spaces for the balance they can create. “A bold pattern anchors the room and holds its weight in a room that already has aesthetically heavy components, like appliances, large spans of cabinetry and countertops, and oftentimes a large mass of island,” she says. Ladd actually chose to paper her kitchen’s walls with the same pattern, too, going for a true more-is-more maximalist moment. Given the kitchen is often one of the busiest rooms of the home, wallpapering just the ceiling is ideal from a functional perspective. “You don’t have to worry about fingerprints or anything messy on the ceiling the way you’d be cognizant of that in another space,” Ladd says.
As is the case when wallpapering any room of the home, you’ll want to take a look around your kitchen and evaluate the space before placing an order. “I advise … selecting a wallpaper that complements the existing elements, such as cabinets, countertops, and backsplashes,” Schumacher says. Even though you’ll have to pad your order with some extra square footage, concentrating your wallpapering efforts on the ceiling is a way to pull off an accent area that feels deliberate — and may save you a few bucks versus papering the whole room or just the walls.
The paper you select isn’t all about aesthetics, though; even though no one won’t be “touching” the ceiling the way they might be walls, cook spaces do present a few challenges for wallpapering. “Kitchens tend to have higher humidity levels and the potential for splashes and stains,” Schumacher explains. “Opt for something easier to clean, or treat the wallcovering with a water-resistant sealer.”
You will also want to take stock of your kitchen ceiling height before making selections. Schumacher explains that lighter colors and small patterns will help make a low ceiling appear taller. When it comes to higher ceilings, though, anything goes, including darker hues and larger patterns. “Have fun exploring different options that complement your style to create a cohesive look in the space,” she says.
Ladd suggests looking at whether or not a given wallpaper has a reflective quality to it, too. “For instance, a vinyl or metallic would reflect ceiling lights,” she explains. “Personally, I opt for a non-reflective paper, so I don’t get any optical illusions.”