Choosing The Perfect Wallpaper

choosing-the-perfect-wallpaperProper interior design can be quite inclusive of different kinds of hardware and decorative elements. In fact, entire industries have sprung up to accommodate people with an eye for décor. From wallpapers to faux wood beams and more. In the following, you’ll get an idea of how to choose the perfect wallpaper to complement the skeleton of your preexisting design structure.

A Wide Range of Available Materials

Unless you’re well-versed in the many elements of home design, then you may not be aware of the sheer plenitude of materials that are on the market for your perfect wallpaper. Ignore the ‘paper’ part of the name for a second; there’s wood grain, birch tree bark, cork, an impressive assortment of botanicals and even woven grass from which to choose.

And, best of all, nearly any design you want can be transferred to the chosen medium. Wood grain wallpaper might go well with your wooden-inspired cottage, for example. If you want a certain shimmering effect in a room, then metallic wallpaper is the option of choice. It really bathes a room with sheen when the lights come on. If weight isn’t a concern, then you can opt for hand-painted variations; otherwise, go with the lighter stamped metallic wallpaper.

Texture Concerns? Choose Vinyl or Grass

The above merely hints at the wide range of textured wallpapers that you can use to cover up flaws on your walls and ceilings. Really beautiful creations have been made using wood grain to restore the visual impression of unblemished walls. The metallic wallpaper option even lends light to a darkened hallway that has a single window – or none at all. These days, you can simulate the appearance of more expensive textures – such as marble – which may not be practical to use to construct a wall.

Wallpapers to Convey Intimacy or Expansiveness

Once you decide which of the two you want your room to inspire, it’s time to choose. Wallpapers that have small-scale repeating designs tend to extravert a feeling of intimacy so it could be quite suitable for a bedroom or quaint living room.

On the other hand, if you’re a fan of the expansiveness reminiscent of a museum or open space, go with large, reaching patterns. The sizable patterns also make a sparse room look more filled. Just make sure that there aren’t too many patterns so as not to tire yourself or your guests out just by being inside the room! In the other direction, too few patterns and designs can come across as lazy and boring.

Color Sets the Tone

Before the design and wallpaper types, the color of the room sets the tone. To convey a sense of size and space, you would do well to choose blue or green wallpaper themes. Alternative to these cool colors are the softer, warmer yellows and oranges. Experiment with these to see the level of arousal they inspire before settling on what kind of feeling you want your rooms to convey.

Unique Styles

There are also the sharp, geometric wallpapers for the more modern and contemporary abodes. If you like being stuck in the 1970s, for example – nothing wrong with that at all! – then reds, yellows, and blues tagged with geometric shapes can give you an unmistakable retro look and feel. There are wallpapers that come ready-made with this style, which tells you about the popularity of this look.1970s, for example – nothing wrong with that at all! – then reds, yellows, and blues tagged with geometric shapes can give you an unmistakable retro look and feel. There are wallpapers that come ready-made with this style, which tells you about the popularity of this look.

The perfect wallpaper is a complement to your sense of interior décor, and the possibilities are virtually limitless. There’s no need to be restricted; it’s your room – go with how you feel.

Choosing What To Hang On Your Walls

choosing-what-to-hang-on-your-wallsPeople spend majority of their days inside their home. It’s where you go to when you are sick, the weather is less than perfect to be outside, you need to rest and sleep, you eat, and have your most private moments. Regardless of how long you’ve lived in your house, you’ve probably personalized it and added your own specific touches to it with the furniture, rugs and carpets, and even dishes you’ve selected. The last finishing touch you might be grappling with now is what you should put on your walls. There isn’t a magic tool that will assist you, but the guide below should give you ideas on how you can select your wall furnishings.

Wall Size

You should take the size of your wall into consideration while you make your selection for décor. A general rule to guide you is to not let the size of a wall prevent you from adding a certain decoration. Larger walls tend to be the culprit more so than small or medium walls. The key is to understand how to approach it. Believe it or not, there are endless ways to dress up a large wall. Wallpaper is by far the most effective and versatile approach because you can select from a limitless amount of colors and patterns. Plus, if you become less than thrilled with it, it’s easy to change and often cheaper than paint. If you would rather add a piece of art or a painting, remember that a smaller painting will be less noticeable. Always try to get a piece that will be the proper proportion to the wall. Regardless of the size of your wall, never be afraid to hang a piece off-center, especially if it’s large.


Ask yourself why you wish to add something to your wall. If it’s just to make it look more appealing, then you might wish to simply paint it or add wallpaper. If you are looking to create a certain ambience, don’t be afraid to add wall sconces that are decorative and/or include light. Light reflecting off the color of a wall can set a profound mood for an entire room. If your goal is to replicate a pattern or style featured throughout the rest of your home, it might be time to get a little more personal and add your own creations. There are tons of inexpensive DIY projects that will help you decorate your wall without creating a mix-matched theme or a wall that clashes.

Your House

Many homeowners ignore the actual style of their house. An older, more historic styled house may want to consider having décor that reflects that. The same is true for houses that are rustic, modern, or contemporary. It’s also important to keep in mind whether your house is a cabin in the mountain, a beach house, or a lake house. This will help determine whether you should include certain textures and materials to decorate your walls.

When you look at your walls, your immediate reaction should be satisfaction with how they look. You don’t necessarily have to hang art or paintings from your walls, but they should not be boring or negatively awkward. You want them to convey the mood and style of the rest of the room and sometimes even the rest of the house. However, you don’t want to add so much that it takes away from what you are trying to accomplish in each particular room. Base your wall decoration choices on what your wall already looks like, its shape, its size, the purpose of adding decorations, and the rest of your house.

8 Ways Renters Can Decorate And Still Get Their Deposit Back


One of the perceived drawbacks of renting an apartment instead of buying a home is that you can’t decorate your apartment the way you want to because then you won’t get your rental deposit back. Fortunately, this isn’t really true. Yes, if you make permanent changes to your apartment then you are in danger of losing your deposit. However, there’s no reason why you can’t decorate your apartment in a temporary fashion to reflect your unique design tastes and lifestyle.

The following are eight ways that you can decorate your apartment without being in danger of losing your deposit once you move out:

  1. Use Area Rugs. Nothing ties a room together like an area rug. It’s one of the best ways to add color and pattern to your decor and to bring balance and harmony to your overall interior design.
  2. Use Curtains. Curtains are an excellent way to add color and pattern to your apartment. They also help take away from the blandness of plain white walls and will draw the eye upward, thereby helping to increase the perception of space in the area.
  3. Add Layers. Another easy way to introduce splashes of color and pattern to your apartment is by adding layers to your decor. This means adding throw blankets and pillows to your furniture. Layers like these can also help to add visual warmth to the apartment, something you may want to do during the winter months. This kind of decor can easily be swapped out if you get tired of it.
  4. Choose a Unique Shower Curtain. The bathroom is a tough space to decorate even if you are allowed to make permanent changes. One of the best ways to make your bathroom feel a bit more personal is by choosing a unique shower curtain to help emphasize your bathtub as the focal point of the space.
  5. Use Temporary Wallpaper. You may not be able to paint your walls or put up regular wallpaper, but you can use temporary wallpaper (yes, it’s a thing!). While you may not want to use temporary wallpaper on every wall in your apartment, choosing an accent wall to use it on is a great way to establish a focal point within any given room.
  6. Light Your Apartment. Don’t just depend on the general lighting installed in your apartment. Invest in various light fixtures, from floor lamps and table lamps to globe lamps and pendant lights that you can hang from the ceiling. By paying attention to the lighting design of your apartment, you’ll vastly improve both the function and the look of your space – not to mention that you’ll have way more control over your apartment’s level and color of lighting.
  7. Create a gallery. Make your apartment feel like your apartment by hanging up a large row or cluster of personal photographs or artwork. This is one of the easiest and best ways to distinguish your apartment as being yours and unique from every other apartment.
  8. Add plants. Nothing adds life to a space like actual plant life! By adding both large and small house plants throughout your apartment, you’ll add natural color that helps to create a more calming and peaceful atmosphere. And as a bonus, plants will help keep your apartment air fresh by filtering certain toxins from the air and producing oxygen!

As you can see, there are plenty of ways that you can decorate your apartment in a manner that is not permanent. Use any of these eight tips and not only will you improve your interior design, but you won’t have to worry about losing your deposit.

How to Use Black Paint Inside Your Home


Black is sophisticated color to add to your interior design palate. However, it can be a bit intimidating if you are a new DIY interior decorator. It takes a good eye and a little know-how to choose the right type of black, and to know how to use it without creating cave-like spaces, or winding up with an undesirable interior design that is more oppressive than stylish.

Here are some tips about how to use black paint inside your house to add drama, accent and perhaps even an element of surprise.

Use Black Paint on the Ceiling to Visually Alter a Room’s Dimensions

This one may seem counterintuitive since one of the main tenets of interior design seems to be, “Keep ceilings light to make a space seem bigger…”. But, there are times when we don’t want a room to seem bigger; in fact, we want to shrink it a little. This can be true of a dining room, bedroom, study or library. Sometimes, too-high ceilings can make the furnishings feel lost or dwarfed, which is not the feeling you want to create in a space that is known for intimate, cozy gatherings or conversation. A black ceiling can be used to take it down a notch, and make a room feel more anchored.

Another great use of black paint on a ceiling is to highlight a fantastic chandelier. Look at how the black ceiling makes this light fixture seem to float in the ethereal plane. At night, the ceiling virtually disappears, creating the ultimate, infinite dreamscape.

A Black Accent Wall Can Make All The Difference

In most cases, an accent wall is about adding a splash of color to a room. In this case, a black accent wall is usually implemented to spotlight a particular furnishing or work of art. For example, in this modern San Francisco living room, we used a black wall to serve as the background for two stunning, colorful works of art. While the white walls work to feature the rest of the interior design elements, the paintings could never have had the same impact on a white background. The simple addition of black paint on a single wall makes a statement, don’t you think?

Frame Your Space Using Black Accent Trim or Moulding

Speaking of dramatic impacts, consider using black paint for your crown moulding and base. You can also use it for your window and door trim. It will help these feature to stand out and will create more dramatic lines for the eye to follow. This technique can be especially helpful in rooms with really high ceilings. Adding a perimeter trim about 8-feet or so up the wall, and painting it black, will help to anchor those spaces you want to feel more welcoming and intimate such as a foyer or living room. Of course, black trim, or black walls with white trim, will also help to highlight any unique architectural features you may have in your home.

Black Lacquer Paint is an Instant Furnishing Facelift

If you rent your space, or don’t feel confident about painting an entire surface of your home in black, then look to your furnishings and accent pieces. It’s amazing what a coat of black lacquer or a high-gloss paint can do for an old or beat-up antique or vintage piece. It makes it look brand new and ultra-fashionable.

Would you like to explore the idea of using black paint in your interior design? Give me a call at Kristina Wolf Design (510) 848-8773, or contact me online. I would love to help you.

8 Different Ways to Use Wallpaper


For a while there, wallpaper took a back burner, but now we are seeing it again in full-force. Between textured wall paper and beautiful fabric options, there are a range of ways to use wall coverings to decorate your interior spaces. If you’re stuck deliberating between paint or wallpaper, we say use both!

Here are 8 ways you can use wallpaper in a room to add a little color, pattern or texture. Get creative because, really, anything goes.

  1. Traditional. Traditional wallpapering means slapping that print up on all four walls. While this approach isn’t used as often in bedrooms and living spaces – although it can be – it’s especially effective in smaller spaces, like a powder room. You can take a bold print that might be overkill in a living room and create use it as the basis for an interesting theme, accented by the vanity, sink and fixtures you select to finish the space.
  2. Accent wall. If you are itching to go bold, an accent wall is a great way to do that. However, you can also use very subtle and delicate prints or colors to make a statement. Be very careful before choosing which wall to use as an accent. Observe how the light changes in the room and select a wall – or rearrange your furnishings – so it features or highlights a furnishing, art piece, architectural feature, etc.
  3. Wallpaper a niche. Do you have a built-in china cabinet or bookcase? How about a unique niche or wall recess? Adding wallpaper to the interior surfaces of a niche can add a pop of color and visual interest without taking over a room’s design. Try to play up the items you will display there. For example, you pewter collection will look great against a backdrop that has a similar metallic accent.
  4. Just a few feet. This could be the “accent space”, rather than the accent wall. Applying wallpaper to just a few feet of wall can make a beautiful impact. Areas that come to mind include the space above your fireplace mantle, a section of wall behind a buffet in the dining room or a small area of wall space framing a lovely furniture piece.
  5. On the ceiling. I am a huge fan of including the ceiling space in your interior design. So often, the ceiling is left a blank, white canvas. Instead, use wallpaper to dress it up. You can wallpaper the entire ceiling or you can cut a complementary shape and apply it around a light fixture to help draw attention, especially if you have a unique chandelier or lighting fixtures that deserve a little extra celebration.
  6. Half-wall. Another way to use wallpaper more sparingly is to paint one half of the wall and paper the remaining half. This combination creates the opportunity to add a nice chair rail trim or moulding piece to separate the two halves.
  7. In the kitchen. We’re not used to seeing wallpaper in the kitchen these days. However, a light and open kitchen can accommodate fun prints or unique patterns that create a foundation for your design theme. The wallpaper will give you all kinds of fun colors to play with using kitchen accents.
  8. Frame it. Can’t afford that favorite work of art just yet? Find a wallpaper print you love and frame it. This technique is a great way to dress up an empty section of wall, and you don’t have to invest the time and labor involved in traditional wallpapering.

Looking to revamp your interior style with wallpaper? Schedule a consultation with a professional interior designer.

The Perfect Accent Wall

Accent walls are typically thought of as a way to use a bold or daring color, patterns or wallpaper, that would be overwhelming if used on all four surfaces. However, they can also create a subtle contrast, used to deepen the effect of your interior color scheme. Regardless of which way you go, there are a few common questions we hear over and over again from clients who are thinking about adding accent walls to their living space.


Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Accent Walls

Here’s the tricky part, there really are no rules, so while we can provide you with some tips and advice, your home has its own personality and it might be that the best accent wall for you bunks all the traditions!

How do I know which wall to select as my accent wall?

There are a few “tricks of the trade” that we use when selecting which wall would make the best accent wall:

Warm colors. Warm colors (reds, oranges, yellows) draw the eye, which make the wall seem closer than it really is. You want to choose a wall that can handle this. If you choose a longer side wall, be aware that the room may appear narrower than it is. If you choose an end wall, make sure the room is large enough, or that you don’t mind the “cozier” effect created when that wall appears closer and shortens the room.

Cool Colors. If you’re using a cool color (blues, greens, purples) then it will have the opposite effect. These can be a great way to help a room feel larger, wider, or longer than it really is.

Visual Temperature. Similarly, the way sunlight infuses the room will make a difference. This is often called “visual temperature”. Rooms with south or western exposure are considered “warmer” rooms, and can benefit from a cool accent wall, while those with northern or eastern exposure may do better with a warm accent color.

Exposure. There is no point in using an accent wall if you are going to cover the bulk of it with a huge entertainment center and stunning wall hangings. Conversely, accents walls can be too dramatic if they are left bare. You may intentionally select a wall to feature a unique architectural highlight or a spectacular piece of furniture, but make sure there is a balance between the furniture and furnishings and the wall color.

What Color Should I Paint My Accent Wall?

You can use the information above to help you out with this. If you have always wanted to use a certain color, go for it and then change or upgrade your furnishings to match. No need to buy everything new, reupholstering and changing your pillow shams may suffice. Also, look at the accent colors used in your existing art or textiles. Is there a color you like the most? This might be a great one to use on the accent wall.

Do You Have Any Unique Ideas for accent walls?

Paint isn’t the only options for accent walls. Consider using the following:

  • Stenciling
  • Beadboard
  • Wainscoting
  • Wallpaper
  • Stripes
  • Polka Dots

Need more ideas? Contact Kristina Wolf Design, Inc. to design accent walls that will add pizzazz to your interior design.

How to Choose Paint

While painting isn’t a permanent change, it is an investment of your time, energy and money so it’s important to get it right the first time. The following tips will help you choose the right color(s) and finish for each room in your house so the results are both aesthetically pleasing and long-lasting.

Afraid to make the final decisions on your own? Contact a professional interior designer. In one affordable consultation, you can get the advice you need to execute a beautiful whole-house interior paint job with complete confidence.


How to Choose the Best Paint Color for Your Space

First, you need to make sure the colors you select are appropriate for the mood or effect you want to create in that particular space. If you have existing art work, area rugs or furniture, those will need to be taken into account as well.

  1. Start perusing. Start bookmarking websites and home decor magazines with rooms you like. It doesn’t matter if this one is red and that one is blue – just bookmark them. After you have a range of options, you will be able to figure out whether you are drawn to bold, neutral, or pastels for a particular space.
  2. Consider the lighting. While that color may look great in the magazine spread, in a room with a ton of windows and natural light, it may not look so great in your back guest bedroom with one east-facing window. Consider the lighting in each room so you choose the right shade.
  3. Use samples. Invest in small sample cans of your potential colors. Paint them on poster board or as large of a paintable surface as you can find. Then watch how it looks throughout the day, on different walls, so you get a better idea of whether or not it will work in your space.

Which Paint Finish Is the Best?

Rule number 1: Never use a paint with a flat finish. It is cheap for a reason. In addition to being relatively lifeless, it is nearly impossible to clean because the paint rubs away with the scuff, leaving an unattractive smudge.

Now that we got that important rule out of the way – let’s move on to your other finish options.

Eggshell: This is a step up from a flat or matte paint. There is very little sheen so while it will mask slight wall imperfections, there is enough shine to it that you can wash off occasional scuffs or marks without taking the paint with it. Eggshell is best used in dining rooms or living rooms.

Satin: This is probably the most attractive and universal paint finish. It has just the right amount of gloss, without being too shiny, and it is easy to clean. The only downfall is that any imperfection in roller or brush strokes will be visible, which also make it trickier to touch-up. This is ideal for just about any room other than the bathrooms or kitchen.

Semi-gloss. Semi-gloss paints are pretty shiny, which also means they’re relatively moisture and grease resistant. It’s easy to clean. You can use it on bathroom or kitchen walls and it’s often used for trim since trim is prone to scuffage.

High-gloss. A high-gloss paint will be ultra-durable, ultra-cleanable, and ultra-reflective. It’s a good choice for anything that sticky fingers or pet noses will come in contact with regularly, such as cabinets, trim, and doors. Just remember that any flaws will be more visible so prep these surfaces well beforehand.

Color Combinations that Always Look Fabulous

color-combinations-that-always-look-fabulousDeciding to change your interior color scheme can seem ambitious, especially for those who are new to it. While no changes are absolutely permanent, it’s not necessarily cost effective to re-paint an entire interior or purchase new furnishings should you decide you’re unhappy with the final outcome. Fortunately, there are a few time tested, tried-and-true color combinations that always look great together.

What’s the deal with color relationships anyway?

First, let’s talk a little bit more about colors and their relationships. Many moons ago, artists put together The Color Wheel, which helps to show color variations, as well as the relationships that exist between various colors. For example, complementary colors live directly opposite one another on the wheel. Analogous colors live in triads right next to one another. Both of these color relationships are considered harmonious.

Then, you have your neutral colors. These are colors like whites, creams, beiges, and browns. They can provide a backdrop that remains consistent while your accents, furnishings, and textiles comprise ever-evolving color schemes.

All of these terms, complementary, analogous, and neutral are thrown around willy-nilly in the world of interior design. But, at the end of the day, the important thing is that you are happy with the color combinations you select.

5 Examples of Tried-and-True Color Combinations

  1. Blue and White. This color combination explains why Blue Willow and Delftware are timeless china collections. It is clean, bright, and can work with any design motif – be it antique traditional or über-modern. Depending on the balance of blue and white, you can create a light, energetic seaside living space or a soothing bedroom retreat. Throw in a pop of bright yellow if you want to energize it a bit.
  2. Brown and Blue. Brown is a neutral color, and it is also one of the most common colors found in nature, which is why it pairs so well with blue. From bright blues to more earthy gray-hues, you really can’t go wrong. You can also swap your blue accents for green ones, without ever changing your brown backdrop should you want to refresh your look down the road.
  3. Black and White. From black and white checkered flooring, to striped walls and floral motifs, black and white are a classic color combination. One of the most fun aspects of using black and white in an interior design is that they pair well with almost any other color, especially, primaries, and you can safely layer different black-and-white patterns without worrying about clashing.
  4. Turquoise and Red. The first three examples are safe and lean toward the traditional. For the last two, we’ll feature color combinations with a little more pizzazz. Turquoise is an energized blue-green combo that will liven up any room. Pair it with red, and you have a striking combination. If turquoise walls seem too bold for your taste, then use light neutral wall colors and add your turquoise and red via furnishings, artwork, and accents.
  5. Green and Yellow. This combination is a citrus palate: greens, yellows, and oranges all work well together and you can add some blue too. Earthier versions of these colors, as seen in this retro-inspired backsplash can be provide a more muted aesthetic, or you can add a vibrant, warm energy to a space by using them in their full glory.

When in doubt, hire an interior design professional to help you select the color combinations that best reflect your style. What are some of your favorite color combos?

Wallpaper vs. Paint


There’s nothing like being cooped up in the winter to get those redecorating juices flowing. One of the first questions to tackle when changing the look of your living space is Wallpaper or Paint? This primer will help you decide which wall treatment is best for your home. You may find the answer is both!

Before we compare the two, let’s start with some general information.

Wallpaper. Wallpaper was “out” for a little while but then it came back, and with a vengeance. Not only that, we should really be saying “wall coverings” because today’s trendy homes are using linen, high-end chinoiserie coverings, and textured fabrics to transform walls into works of art. Unless you are an artist (or you hire one), paint rarely compares to the textured and patterned potential of wallpaper. That being said, highly stylized patterns can quickly become dated and can turn off future potential buyers with different taste.

Paint. Paint is the default wall decorating medium for a reason. It’s relatively easy to apply and can be custom-mixed to any color preference. While most people do choose to paint their walls a single color, you can get creative. Two-toned walls, stripes, and multi-color designs are all a potential, but their execution must be fairly flawless to be successful.

Now onto the categorized comparisons:


Obviously, if you choose a high-end professional painter and expensive paint, it will be more expensive than most DIY wallpaper jobs. That being said, paint is usually the most affordable way to go. There’s one exception – if you pick a wallpaper you love and live with it for 10 or more years. Most paint needs to be redone every few years to look fresh. A high-quality, well-installed wallpaper can last a decade or so.

Labor Intensity

If you’re attempting a DIY home improvement project, wallpaper is the most labor intensive. While taping before you paint can be time consuming, it is very straight forward. For a monochrome paint job, you can get the whole family involved in the middle parts, and adults can take over around the edges. Wallpaper, on the other hand, must be very precisely measured, cut, and applied. You have to get the adhesive balance just right and be meticulous as you smooth to avoid bubbles, wrinkles and to prevent edges from peeling. Removing wallpaper is also very labor intensive.


Well-applied wallpaper probably wins on this one, assuming you haven’t installed it in a bathroom (more on that later) and that the job was well-done. Quality wallpaper can be occasionally washed and will retain a fresh look for years. Paint needs to be refreshed every few years to really look its best.

Best Applications

Paint: Get familiar with paint finishes. While paint can be used in any room of the house, glossy finishes are ideal for bathrooms and kitchens, where wall washing is more common. Scrubbing marinara from a flat-finish kitchen paint is no laughing matter.

Wallpaper. Ideally, you should keep wallpaper out of rooms that experience high and/or transient moisture levels, like the kitchen, bathroom or laundry room. It will begin to curl and peel pretty quickly. Also, if you have kids or pets, keep the wall paper out of their reach. Yes, it can be washed, but intensive scrubbing for crayons, dirty smudges, etc. will make it ragged.

One way to get the best of both worlds is to use them both. You can use wallpaper as an accent wall and get the best bang for your holistic buck. How about you? Do you prefer wallpaper or paint?