That is the question. As we ready our house for move in, I realized something devastating. Ok, it’s not really devastating – I have a flair for the over dramatic – but it’s a major design oversight on my part, none the less. You see, in our master bath we’re going to enjoy a little jewel box of a room – just for our toilet (you can sneak a peek of it on Instagram here)! Call it a WC, a powder room or what have you – whatever its name, the room is ripe for some very creative design and I just forgot about it! In the middle of 5 million minute decisions you have to make when renovating (style of door stop anyone?) , this little room fell off my radar. But it’s not too late! Now that I have some time to focus I want to take advantage of this opportunity to play.

That’s where I need your help. I’m on the fence about wallpaper. I’ve had wars with it in the past. It can feel dated so quickly. And yet it can be the ultimate statement maker.

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Now I like the idea of making a bold, dramatic choice but there are a few things I want to avoid. The first is going too girlie. I often find wallpaper to lean very feminine and I’m just not really into feminine spaces. And the husband will be using this rom too, obviously! Secondly, I would want find a pattern I won’t be sick of in a year. Or five. Possibly 10. And then there’s question of do you go dark or light? Since it’s a tiny room dark would be really dramatic but could make it feel like the walls are closing in on you. But is light, neutral wallpaper kind of a cop out? I’m into that floral wall decal idea. It could look very cool wrapped around there walls, but that’s definitely wallpaper-light. Isn’t making a statement the whole point?

At the moment I’m leaning toward a solution that falls somewhere in the middle. I actually really like the watercolor wallpaper from a South African company Lemon pictured above. It has a strong color without being completely overwhelming. I also love that it’s not a print. I think would tire of a pattern very quickly. And since our lovely little toilet room has a giant window a watercolor print could play really nicely with the natural light as it changes over the course of the day.

Hmmm, decisions decisions. Ok my fellow design aficionados, what say you? Are you on the wallpaper bandwagon or no?

PS: We are only a couple of weeks from moving into our historic Victorian here in San Francisco (there’s been another delay – more on what I’ve learned about renovation woes is on Snapchat @apartment34!). To catch up on our entire renovation process click here!

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What do you think?

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  1. Wow, Erin, wallpaper to or not to… a bigger decision for me than marriage or another child.. However, I love the watercolor you noted from Lemon..has a tranquil, almost dreamy feel… Very cool… or but I love the floral too…. eegads!

  2. I absolutely love the dark floral. I feel like it is sophisticated and not too feminine since it has such a moody vibe. I love the watercolor you picked out as well but I feel like you could use that in another, larger space and it would be really beautiful.
    Also can’t wait to see the final victorian home transformation- I’ve always wanted an SF Victorian so I will be living vicariously through you from across the bay!


    1. Thanks for the input Stefanie. I’m so torn on the dark vs. light look. Going to just have to go with my gut!

  3. I love wallpaper to make a bold statement, and a small bathroom is the perfect place. It’s not a room where you spend a ton of time, and you don’t need to worry about how the wall color affects the lighting (like in a bathroom where you’d be putting on makeup—a bold color may not be the best choice). As far as the color/print thing goes, I think a darker floral, like your first and third photos is more masculine to me than something on the neutral/pastel side. All that aside, I know whatever you decide will be insanely chic! Now off to check out your Snapchat.

    1. Thanks for the advice Kim! You’re convincing me to pull the trigger on something fun. Now to hunt…

  4. I may be biased (as a wallpaper designer), but the ability of wallpaper to transform a space leave ceases to amaze me! I’d choose a pattern that is less motif-driven, and more textural. And a darker wallpaper would totally work…since you have a window in that room, I don’t think it would feel like the walls were closing in. I’d be happy to send some samples your way ; )

    1. Oh my gosh Kate – I would love to get your advice on wallpaper – emailing you immediately!!

    2. I would be thrilled to check out your samples Kate!

  5. Whow! Thanks for the inspiration! I might think of using some wallpaper in my home, too!
    Karin (

  6. I’m on the bandwagon! You can’t go wrong with wallpaper today. (Of course, I am biased too since I’m a graphic designer in the industry.) There are enough designs out there that you are sure to find more than a few to choose from that feel more masculine (everything from subtle mono-chromatics to bold geometrics). Plus, they add interest, texture, and personal style to any space, small or large. Good luck with your renovation!

    1. Thanks so much for your input. i’d love to see your designs!

  7. Great images, I’m dying to do a little wall in my closet in a dark dramatic wallpaper. I just need to find the right one that isn’t too $$$. I’ll work on a round up for my blog to help me decide!

    1. I’m going to check out your round up Tori. The choices feel somewhat endless!

  8. I couldn’t find the toilet room on Instagram, but I think I know what you mean. If it has no window, and just a door you need to think hard about this choice. Something dark would make you think you are in a cave. It would be overpowering. Also, you would hardly ever see the pattern from more than 8 feet away. The subtle watercolor effect might be lost in that Lemon paper. A lack of light might make the gradations disappear. Of the choices here, I think the constellations would be the most appropriate. It is light and a little interesting. Did you ever think of sitting on the toilet and staring at a small geometric or striped paper? You could get dizzy. You Will get dizzy. The magnolia blossom is beautiful, but it is best appreciated from a distance. Good luck

  9. A powder room (or any private space or one you use infrequently) is the perfect place to go for drama. And if you’re really unsure, opt for a removable wallpaper. There are so many gorgeous options out there. I used to loathe the whole process of applying or removing wallpaper but I’m a recent convert to the new applications. Go for it!

    1. Agreed Debra – now just to find the perfect print!

  10. I like the florals, but I understand that they’re quite feminine. I frankly didn’t like the beigey ones–too blah. If you’re going to wallpaper, go for statement. What about changing it up all together with a funky 60s-80s print–maybe a paisley or something with both plants and a few hiding monkeys or giraffes? How about another idea: jungle green trees on white background? These kinds of things will punch it up and not be so rosey or bland.

    1. I love this suggestion Lou Ann. That company Lemon that I linked to also has some really cool jungle prints. It coudld really fun to take the space in a totally different direction than the rest of the house.

  11. I * LOVE * WALLPAPER!! It is chic…it is smart and especially in a small room..EASY!! franki

  12. I love wallpapers! Of course, I have no personal experience with them, so I may be walking around in the dark on this. But I would take my feet for a little dip by trying out removable self adsevie wallpaper or even the decals on etsy with patterns that might resemble wallpaper.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion Michelle! I’ve actually used the removable adhesive wallpaper a couple of times in our rental apartments. It’s definitely a great way to test the waters.

  13. I’m right there with you with the wallpaper thing. I love the idea and have been obsessed with big bold for all designs but I do think that that consolidated really really quickly. However I’ve also fallen madly in love with watercolor ask wallpaper and I say freaking GO FOR IT!!! It’s the perfect compromise and it’s gonna look so good when it’s done! Can’t wait to see 🙂

    1. I’m still loving the watercolor paper idea Alisha but everyone is encouraging me to make an even bolder choice. I’m torn!

  14. I am 100% pro-wallpaper. If you have good taste, you will choose good wallpaper. I have it in my kitchen and staircase. Both are from Anthropologie, both are “sure strip” papers, which promise to be easy to remove…but I honestly do not think I will tire of them. I am looking forward to papering my bathroom as well. then I think I’ll call it quits, a little paper goes a long way.

    1. Ooh, Michelle – I was considering some Anthro paper options. I’m into their stuff right now! I don’t know why I’m being such a commitment phobe about this. I think I’m still traumatized from the wallpaper in my condo that originated Apt34!