Advertiser Disclosure

Think Wallpaper is Outdated? It Can Actually Update Your Bathroom

Wallpaper. Just the sight or sound of that word usually evokes 18th Century scenic or floral images or, worse, the gaudy, headache-inducing designs that were widely – and wildly – popular in the 1970s. However, wallpaper is making a comeback. Maybe “reincarnation” is a better word since, thankfully, the new trend in wallpaper looks radically different from the styles of yesteryear.In fact, wallpaper can actually be used in the bathroom to create glamour, elegance, drama and even fun. Below are some of the various options to consider:

Half-Wall Application

Half-wall application

This gold and white wallpaper helps to create a luxurious bathroom. Image: Moen

Shop These Products Now: Metallic WallpaperBowl SinkYou don’t have to wallpaper the entire bathroom. Used sparingly, like the wallpaper applied below the chair rail molding in the photo above, it can still create a powerful impression. “Wallpaper done tastefully can add character to any room, especially bathrooms and bedrooms,” says Angela Williams, a Birmingham, AL-based realtor at Extreme Agent Realty. “I don’t suggest papering an entire room, but accent walls are trendy,” Williams says.

Updated Classic

Updated Classic

A stylish powder room in a Wellington, FL home. Image: Pegasus Builders

Shop These Products Now: Classic WallpaperVanity CabinetThe clean lines of this classic plaid wallpaper work well in this design.  Always order extra wallpaper, just in case you need to replace a section and the manufacturer has stopped making that particular style (or has gone out of business).
Updated classic2

Another bathroom in the same home. Image: Pegasus Builders

Shop These Products Now: Modern FaucetWallpaperIn both bathrooms, the wallpaper is tasteful and doesn’t overwhelm the senses.
Classic Victorian

A classic Victorian bathroom. Image: Great Neighborhood Homes

Shop These Products Now: WallpaperFreestanding BathtubIn this bathroom, wallpaper adds more interest than mere paint would.


Glam bathroom

A Minneapolis bathroom with bling. Martha O’Hara Interiors

Shop These Products Now: Metallic WallpaperWall MirrorThis hand-painted, patterned wallpaper brings out the metal in the console, sconces and faucet. When combined with the chandelier, it creates a glitzy bathroom design. “Wallpaper has really transformed over the last decade,” explains Kimberly Schmunk, an interior designer at Focus Builders. “There are several new designers that have a variety of fresh and graphic designs and textures.”
Spa bathroom

A London spa bathroom. Image: Gemma Zimmerhansl Interior Design

Shop These Products Now: Towel BarMetallic WallpaperThe wallpaper adds just the right amount of sparkle in this master bathroom in London.


Understated bathroom

The wallpaper blends into the background in this Miami home. Image: Krista + Home

Shop These Products Now: Modern BathtubStorage BasketThe aqua linen wallpaper in this Miami master bath complements the grays and whites in the design.


Dramatic bathroom

This aptly named circus mural design is unforgettable. Image: Malcolm Duffin Design

Shop These Products Now: Colorful MuralShowerIf you have a flair for the dramatic, you can definitely express it in a beautiful and vibrant wallpapered ceiling. This particular design is called Circus Mural and is made up of several strips of wallpaper.  “I am a big fan of mural wallpaper or ‘photo wallpaper,’ which is wallpaper on a very large scale,” Schmunk says. Other popular types of wall murals and photo wallpapers include such options as brick effects, marble, underwater images, sports themes and graffiti.


Whimsical bathroom

This bathroom is the location of at least one of the three Rs. Image: Angela Gutekunst

Shop These Products Now: Bookcase WallpaperToiletThis wallpaper design is an ode to the fact that many people spend most of their reading time in the bathroom.However, keep in mind that Williams isn’t the only realtor not completely sold on the merits of wallpaper. “In my experience, wallpaper, while not a deal breaker, generally affects a sale adversely,” says Sheila Trichter, an agent at Warburg Realty. “The first thing many buyers ask is, ‘How expensive and difficult is it to remove the wallpaper?’ No matter how beautiful.”Mark Ferguson, a real estate agent, investor and the author and creator of, agrees. “I have never been a fan of wallpaper and that may be because it is such a pain to take off and we have to remove a lot of it,” he says. “I have seen it start to come back and I think it is crazy – I would not put it in a house I was rehabbing because I think it would only appeal to a small portion of the population.”

Peel and Stick

Peel and stick

Tempaper provides the freedom to change your mind. Image: Soft Surrounds

Shop These Products Now: Metallic Peel and StickTowel HolderIf you think you might want to try a wallpaper design in your bathroom, but you’re not sure if you’ll like it or not, you might be more comfortable using removable wallpaper. Since you just peel off the back and stick the paper on the wall, it’s easy to remove or reposition it.

Man on computer

Everything for your move, all in one place

Curate your personalized moving checklist, set up TV & Internet, and more with a free MYMOVE account.

Get Started

Already have an account? Sign In

View our Privacy Policy

Related Articles

Free Up Counter Space with These Small Kitchen Organization Ideas

We hope you like the products we recommend. Just so you are aware, Freshome may collect a share of sales from the links on this page.  Is cooking and entertaining in your small kitchen difficult? A studio-size kitchen is a challenge to work in, but a few small kitchen organization ideas and a couple of hours of your time can […]

Read More

Impressive Modern Cottage at the Base of Squak Mountain, Washington

Have a look at this home located at the base of Squak Mountainin, Washington, combining sustainable materials and features with the ultimate in  modern living! Envisioned by Steve Moe Design, the modern cottage accommodates three bedrooms and three bathrooms, a home office and a media room. Its exterior finishes in stone and wood make the […]

Read More

How to Design Restaurants & Bars that Enhance the Customer Experience

Here at Freshome, we particularly love looking deeper into the design of residential architecture and interiors but just occasionally we also get curious about other areas of design, such as hospitality design. What makes a great restaurant or bar? How do you ensure that the customers will have a great experience and want to return […]

Read More