Tips and Guides

Expert Advice: 4 Ways to Work with Paint and Wallpaper

Discover foolproof color combos for your space


Aside from paint, wallpaper is one of the two most used interior wall finishes. Popular during the early 20th century and presumed to be dated, wallpaper is making a comeback in decoration. From the likes of the traditional toile, flocking and damasks, it has evolved into patterns that are modern geometric, floral, playful, and subtle, to name a few. With the variety in color, design, and texture options, wallpaper can be used for any style in your interior.

More often than not, the use of wallpaper is accompanied by paint finish for other walls. This is done to break away from the pattern, too much color and also, to avoid getting tired of it easily. When combining paint and wallpaper, the most important thing to consider is the right color combination. From blending to contrasting colors, here are some tips in matching the two:

Main photos from: Hunted Interior and Rafa Kids.

Paint in Accent Color of Wallpaper

To create contrast in color, select one of the small scale colors from your wallpaper and have this as your room’s overall paint color.

Photo from HomeGirl London.

Any Paint Color and Neutral Wallpaper

Opposite of the above, you can apply any chosen color for your general walls and tone this down with a neutral colored wallpaper which could either be patterned or textured.

Photo from Jones Design Company.

Neutral Paint and Any Wallpaper Color

A fail-safe option would be to match a neutral color evident in your wallpaper. If this does not apply, light grays and beiges are easiest to pair with any wallpaper color and design of your choice.

Photo from Livettes via Etsy.

Paint in Main Color of Wallpaper

Match the paint color of your general walls with your wallpaper’s dominant or background color. This will create a continuous effect for your wall color.

In matching paint and wallpaper colors, it’s best to bring a swatch of your material of choice (paint/wallpaper whichever comes first) before selecting the other. These tricks can also be used for rooms that you want to dress generally in wallpaper. Just keep in mind that the pattern or texture you choose shouldn’t too busy for that type of application.

Photo from Livettes via Etsy.

Interior designer Vera Villarosa-Orila is an alumna of the University of the Philippines and is one of the go-to designers for the Real Living Makeovers. You can get in touch with her through e-mail: vera.villarosa[at]



Do you have questions or concerns about your home's layout, furniture, and color scheme? Send your questions to reallivingonline[at] with the subject: Expert Advice. We might answer and feature your queries online.

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RL Tips: Working with Wallpaper

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