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How To Bring Warmth To A Room With White Or Grey Wallpaper

Neutral aesthetics are a huge trend at the moment, with white or grey wallpaper a big part of this look. Opting for a neutral-coloured wallpaper provides you with a blank canvas to put your own stamp on; you don’t have to let grey or white wallpaper dictate the design of the rest of a room.

Grey and white wallpaper can feel cold depending on how they’re accessorised, so it’s important to think about how you can bring warmth to walls decorated in typically ‘cold’ colours. Creating a lived-in, cosy look can feel much more homely than trying to make your house resemble a show home, but white or grey walls can still be at the heart of decor that has warmth. Here are our top tips for bringing warmth to a room with white or grey walls:

8 Ways To Bring Warmth To White Wallpaper

A room that’s decorated with white wallpaper, white furniture, a white sofa, and white accessories may feel very bright and spacious, but it’s also likely to feel quite cold.

With this in mind, our first rule for decorating with white wallpaper is to avoid an all-white space. Instead, treat your white wallpaper as the ideal background for statement furniture, art, and colourful accessories.

1. Look For White Wallpaper With Detailing

white brick effect walls

A white wallpaper that has a little detailing, such as a subtle stripe or even a brick effect, will immediately feel slightly warmer than a white wallpaper with no detail at all.

For example, the Arthouse Distressed Wood Panel Effect Wallpaper in White (priced at £12 for a 10.05m x 0.53m roll) has wood-effect detailing that creates a two-tone effect to bring a little more warmth than a plain white wallpaper. The Muriva White Brick Effect Wallpaper (£15 per roll) is another great option, with the rustic brick design naturally feeling warmer than a blank white wall.

2. Make It Monochrome

Considering white wallpaper because you want to make a statement but are worried it might look too cold? Monochrome could be a more suitable option; the stark contrast of black against white immediately brings extra warmth.

If you’re unsure whether a monochrome wallpaper is the right option, enhance a white room with black accessories instead, such as:

  • A black coffee table
  • Black cushions
  • Black lamps
  • A black bookcase

3. Introduce Warm Colours

Choosing warm colours for soft furnishings such as cushions, throws, bedding, and curtains can brighten and add extra comfort to a white room. We recommend looking for accessories in:

  • Reds
  • Oranges
  • Yellows
  • Purples
  • Deep pinks

4. Create Soft Lighting

Soft lighting can bring beautiful warmth to a space that’s decorated with white wallpaper. Candles can help you to achieve this, as can a coloured lampshade to bring a warm glow to the room; a mustard or orange-coloured lampshade would be especially effective for adding warmth.

5. Use Contrasting Textures

White wallpaper can contrast beautifully with a fluffy or sheepskin-style rug to bring more texture to a room. Textured wallpaper can also bring that little something extra to a white space. Some of our favourites include:

6. Bring Nature Indoors

bedroom with white wallpaper and green plants

Nature can really help to warm up a white space, while being surrounded by nature may also help to boost your mood. Bring nature indoors and add extra warmth to your decor with:

  • A jute rug
  • Brightly coloured real, artificial or dried flowers 
  • Neutral-coloured pampas grass
  • Green plants
  • Wooden furniture in a warm-feeling wood

7. Showcase Your Personality

Your home decor should be a reflection of your personality, and you should have your favourite items around you, rather than confining them to a cupboard to avoid ‘spoiling’ a white room. Items that mean something to us should be celebrated, so line your white walls with:

  • Shelves full of books with colourful spines
  • Family photos
  • Pieces picked up on your travels
  • Wall hangings
  • Framed film posters
  • Quirky prints

8. Clash And Contrast

There’s no reason why you need to stick to having a sofa and chairs in just one colour; in fact, white wallpaper is the perfect blank canvas for mismatched chairs covered in different fabrics or made from different woods to create a cosy, laidback feel in a living space.

8 Ways To Bring Warmth To Grey Wallpaper

bedroom with grey wallpaper

Grey wallpaper can look incredibly chic, but it needs depth to make a room feel cosy and warm. You can achieve this by teaming grey wallpaper with the right furniture and accessories, and by making sure the colour doesn’t dominate a small space too much. Read on for our top tips for achieving warmth in a grey room.

1. Select Your Shade Of Grey Carefully

If you’re thinking about papering a room in grey wallpaper, you need to consider the exact shade of grey carefully. Lighter shades of grey can feel particularly cool, especially in a north-facing room that doesn’t get as much natural light.

Mid-greys can feel warmer, but it’s important to make sure you don’t go too dark, as this has the potential to feel cold and make a space feel smaller too.

Some of our favourite grey wallpapers include:

2. Pay Attention To Undertones

It’s not enough to just consider the shade of your grey wallpaper; you also need to think about the undertones of the shade.

Speaking to Architectural Digest, California-based designer Becki Owens explained: “It’s important to pick grey paint that doesn’t have any pink or purple undertones. You’d be surprised at the impact those subtle undertones will have on a space. They don’t work well as neutrals. You want colours that create a classic, soothing palette on which you can then build and layer the rest of your design.”

Owens recommends choosing greys that have warm or even blue undertones, as these will feel much cosier in a space, so bear this in mind when choosing a grey wallpaper.

3. Go Greige

‘Greige’ can be another warming option for grey walls. ‘Greige’ is a blend of grey and beige, offering a softer, warmer way to bring grey to a room.

4. Avoid All Grey

An all-grey room has the potential to feel as cold as an all-white room, but it’s unlikely to feel quite as spacious. Try to avoid matching grey wallpaper with a grey floor, mirrors and neutral-coloured coffee table books that are just for display. Adding touches of personality such as books with bright covers and sentimental ornaments will feel so much warmer and cosier, helping you to create a space that you can truly relax in.

5. Think About Your Flooring

Grey carpet may be a neutral option in many homes, but when paired with grey walls, it can be a little too much. Instead, we recommend:

  • Beige-coloured carpet to create a gentle contrast that also brings warmth to a room
  • Opt for wooden flooring in a warm shade with a rustic-feeling grain 
  • Add a cosy rug, even on top of carpet, for extra warmth

6. Consider A Grey Feature Wall

living room with grey feature wall

If you’re worried that all-grey walls will feel too cold regardless of how you accessorise, creating a grey feature wall could be a warmer way to bring grey wallpaper to your home.

A feature wall allows you to choose a slightly bolder grey wallpaper with another colour or even a pattern running through it. Grey can be a good way to try out a geometric wallpaper, as it’s less likely to date than brighter, more abstract colours. We recommend:

7. Choose The Right Metal

Accessorising grey wallpaper with silver has the potential to feel much colder than gold, copper or rose gold accessories. Bring more warmth to a room with grey walls by thinking about the colour of the metal on the following items:

  • Mirror frames
  • Photo frames
  • Candle holders
  • Trays
  • Lampstands
  • Furniture legs

Instead of throwing out and replacing silver items, use spray paint to update their look and bring extra warmth.

8. Team Grey With Bold Colours

Grey works particularly well with bold colours that can create a warming contrast. Shades such as mustard and teal can look especially effective against a grey background, so grey wallpaper creates an opportunity for a bold-coloured sofa or rug. 

Cream and pale pink are often teamed with grey in home decor, but bear in mind that these can also feel cool, so bring in more jewel tones for a warmer feel.

How To Find The Right Grey Or White Wallpaper For You

Choosing a white or grey wallpaper provides you with the opportunity to really put your stamp on a room with statement furniture, colourful soft furnishings, and personal items to really showcase your personality.

If you’re unsure which colour of wallpaper to choose, bear in mind the following:

  • White wallpaper will always help to make a space look bigger
  • Grey wallpaper comes in many different shades, and some of them could make a space look smaller
  • Whether you choose white or grey wallpaper, you don’t have to choose flooring, furniture, and accessories in the same colour
  • Choose a grey or white wallpaper with extra detail, such as a stripe or another colour running through it, if you’re unsure about having completely plain walls

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