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8 unexpected wall and floor patterns to try in tiny rooms

Contrary to popular belief, bold, beautiful prints needn’t be saved for big spaces, says Rebecca Gillam

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Whether you’re space-short because you prioritise location over square foot or your home just has a few less-than-master rooms, small interiors shouldn’t be aesthetically overlooked.

It’s generally assumed ‘box’ rooms should be left plain, but they actually have real potential for prints and patterns. Designs, like botanicals, work in even the smallest bathrooms, studies and dressing rooms.

Lizzie Crocker of Tallis Interiors observes the move from the tropical prints we’ve been seeing for the last few years, towards the more ‘whimsical and elegant. The more sophisticated, dreamy patterns are a lot less loud.’

So clear the clutter and throw out the tat. We speak to experts to find out exactly how to introduce patterns and prints to your humbler interiors, with the help of B&Q


Details can be deceiving and it’s easy to overplay them. Kai Price and Amanda Nelson, design columnists and directors of Att Pynta, say: ‘To create an eccentric Scandi look, team bold patterns with a neutral colour scheme — wood, white and dark hues are great to make the prints stand out and be the main focus of the room’. Our tip? Always add plain colour in paint or fabric to create balance where space is at a minimum.


‘The same bold pattern on the floor travelling up to even one wall can be overkill in very small rooms. It’s like wearing the same dress, handbag, hat and shoes at the same time’, says Anne of Anne Jordan Interior Design. Contrast geometric patterns for a more contemporary look alongside other subtly patterned surfaces, like metro tiles in the kitchen or bathroom (like B&Q’s Trentie Ivory Gloss Ceramic Wall Tile) or a grid of painted shelves. Price agrees: Let the prints clash, creating an interesting and daring style statement.’

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Bringing prints and bold designs, like those of William Morris, into the home via wallpaper has become a real trend over the past year. Price and Nelson explain: ‘He, like Josef Frank, enjoyed designing complex patterns and took inspiration that came from the symmetry and randomness of nature’. Opt for neutral tones, like B&Q’s Cream Plain Textured Wallpaper, if you’re worried about overkill.


“If the space permits, prints in small spaces come alive with appropriate wall lights”, says Anne Jordan. Though ceiling lighting is now the norm, an old-style down lighter like B&Q’s Tezz Chrome Effect Wall Light can emphasise the effect.


Add character to a room by papering one wall; a small job that can completely transform a ‘function space’, Price and Nelson recommend. ‘Small rooms can become larger and more interesting with one boldly patterned wall as a backdrop to, say, a desk or wash basin,’ says Jordan. ‘Bold architectural, floral or plant prints used sparingly can create photo-worthy interiors.’ Complete the look with a mirror or artwork, like this gold mirror or botanica print.

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Though neutral flooring is typically tasked with balancing prints elsewhere, ‘small rooms can work well with a busy floor, and pared down walls in different textures of the same colour,’ says Jordan. ‘If you reverse this, it looks top heavy.’ Take note of the Instagram trend for #tileporn and opt for geometric ceramic floor covering, like B&Q’s Lofthouse Grey Stone Effect Patchwork Tiles.


Plant-based prints are still big this season, but ‘limit them to “highlight locations” to maximise effectiveness,’ says Jordan. ‘Too many and it will drive you crazy, as anyone who has stayed at The Madonna Inn on Highway 101 in California will understand — one night is enough.’ Look to Anna Glover for botanical surrealist print inspiration, ideal for a dark and seductive study, and recreate the look for less with B&Q’s K2 Fern & Flowers Wallpaper.

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For all your DIY decorating inspiration, head to B&Q

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