Wallpaper might seem like paint’s tricky cousin: it’s a bit messier, a bit more involved, and if you’re not a fan of the end result…then what? In this blog post written by Sean Santiago in Home Hacks, he argues that wallpaper, for all that it requires—patience, perseverance, and an eye for precision—is totally worth it. (Yes, even for renters!)

But where do you even begin? We’ve got some ideas.
Play with Scale

Bold wallpaper can make a big impact in a small space. (See: any of the umpteen bathrooms making the most of a banana leaf print all over Pinterest.) Get the look with a large-scale pattern, applied with gusto in tight quarters—a vanity mirror in the WC will help amplify the paper’s appeal and make great fodder for selfies.

Display Like Art

If you’re tempted by the look of a certain paper, but are wary (or financially incapable) of springing for it, try framing the style you like and putting it on display. (You can also do this with wrapping papers!) If you end up a fan of the effect, get creative with placement—covering an Ikea table, for instance, is a great way for renters to incorporate pattern into a small space. “Even a small amount of pattern on your walls can make a large visual impact,” says Charlotte Cosby, Head Creative for Farrow & Ball 

Keep It Classic

Harken back to a grander era with an elaborate pattern creeping up the walls of your dining room. Avoid things feeling too old-fashioned by juxtaposing modern art and decor against it. If you’re not in a suburban home or are otherwise short on square footage, the same look can be achieved by papering an accent wall that delineates one room from the other.

Go Beyond Minimal

While minimalism would seem to dictate a strict palette of white on white on ecru, you can deviate from the status quo by embracing a small-scale pattern with a varied repeat for an organic modern look. Because the effect will be so subtle, you can use these kinds of papers in large spaces and open-plan living areas; it’s a great way to make lofty spaces feel more intimate.

Make It Two-Toned

Paper half of a wall to mimic or offset architectural detailing; opt for the same print in light and dark colorways for a more dynamic effect. Take a decorating cue from the fashion world and try on horizontal stripes for size, or opt for papers with a more geometric repeat to add dimension. Don’t feel you need to follow a formula—go with what your gut tells you!