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How to Decorate with Dated Wallpaper

how to decorate with dated wallpaper

When we purchased our lake cottage earlier this summer, the first thing we said is “we have to get rid of all of this wallpaper.” When we first stepped into the home, it was a little overwhelming. In fact, the pattern in the kitchen is what my sister had in her kitchen a couple homes ago and the basement bath has a pattern that a friend of mine had from her childhood. That’s a few more years than I care to admit.

Once we moved into the home, we began to appreciate the cottage for what it is, rather than taking it at face value. It’s a lake front home, with beautiful views of the water in a peaceful setting. Suddenly, it didn’t seem to matter quite as much and I decided that rather than spending a significant amount of money to remove it, we would embrace it.

A couple neighbors have warned that their wallpaper {which was installed when the homes were built} was not properly applied, so it removes the drywall as well. Eek, right? I’m going to take the chance in the kitchen and girls’ bedroom, but for our bedroom, I decided to take a different approach.

The floral wallpaper is so busy, so I kept the decor simple for the cottage master, integrating texture, a hint of color and subtle patterns.

tips to make dated wallpaper feel fresh

I made the wallpaper feel fresh and modern by adding a rattan headboard, which also gives it a lake vibe. It  is the most significant piece of furniture in the room, so it provides a little balance as well.

tips for decorating a casual bedroom

While the carpet appears new, it’s various shades of tan and kind of blah, so I selected a large wool rug in a soft green tone to make the room feel light, placing it under the bed so that extends for the length of the room and on each side of the bed.

how to decorate with dated wallpaper

The previous homeowners were kind enough to leave us a few pieces of furniture, like this blue / grey chest of drawers. Ironically, it’s the same as my sister’s childhood set that was yellow! It pulls from the color in the wallpaper. I added a mirror just above it to reflect light and add a little height. Chris adorned it with a piece of driftwood and of course I added a plant to bring the room to life.

tips for decorating a casual bedroom

Looking out the window at the foot of the bed…


tips for decorating a casual bedroom
tips to make dated wallpaper feel fresh

tips for decorating a casual bedroom

It was really important to us to have a calm and cozy retreat to escape to, so I kept the bedding soft and simple, selecting a matelassé coverlet that conforms to you. It’s so soft! And well, I’m not really one to make a bed and it looks beautiful just draped on top. I complimented it with a couple of ivory shams, hemstitch sheets and the most beautiful quilted shams for a little pop of color.

how to decorate with dated wallpaper

tips to make dated wallpaper feel fresh

tips to make dated wallpaper feel fresh

Suddenly the 90’s wallpaper feels like it belongs in a current catalog and I feel at peace with it. A little bedding can go a long way and save so much effort and this guy likes it and that’s all that really matters, right?


how to decorate with dated wallpaper

tips for decorating a casual bedroom

You can see more of our lake cottage here. Do you have dated wallpaper you’re trying to work with?


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entertaining expert and lifestyle blogger Julie Blanner



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Thanks to Annie Selke for partnering with me to make our lake cottage a home for our family. As always, all ideas and opinions are my own.

17 comments on “How to Decorate with Dated Wallpaper”

  1. I like wallpaper in certain situations, and this is one of them. It’s very charming!

  2. I love the wallpaper! And even more so your way of making it beautiful and fresh.

  3. You always make everything look so chic…even outdated wallpaper! 😀

  4. I agree with Chris! Such a serene place — I would be tempted to stay there all day 🙂

  5. You have some magic in your hands! You make everything beautiful and eye catching.

  6. So you might not know this- but the furniture was in fact yellow (it was my sisters bedroom furniture from way back in the day too) and when she was tired with yellow she painted it that grey color when in her teens (now late 40’s!). Just proves everything comes back just needs some some time to get a new life, or re-purpose. Thanks for showing us how you have updated the home and yes the wallpaper was a task (hence why we never took it down) and for us it was more about being outside than in. 🙂

    • Agreed, Cathy! We absolutely love it here. It’s such a beautiful home filled with love and charm. We’ve been spending most weekends here. Actually, I knew that it was yellow, but only because my sister had the identical set growing up! I hope I make you proud 😉

  7. I love your headboard. Where did you buy it?
    Thank you

  8. I just love that you didn’t take the wallpaper down. You show such a great example of how to make it fresh. I am soooooo tired of the usual blog formula– talk about how terrible the old outdated style is, rip it all out, and replace it with linked and sponsored products that all look the same. I am loving your blog because you provide great examples of how to work with what you have and make it elegant and new. The result is unique and creative design and truly useful inspiration. Thank you! And I’ve also got some wallpaper here in our temporary house and I think I made it look very nice by updating the company it keeps!

    • Thank you, Jody! You made my day! I truly appreciate you taking the time to express your thoughts. Sometimes I rip things out, but I love finding ways to embrace what we have, when I can. I hope you have a day as bright as you made mine.

  9. you did a great job of updating the master. The cookies look great also 🙂

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