Trends Photo Credit: Laura Melling and Local Wanderer

Vancouver designer shows how to work the wall decal

With wall decals set to hit high rotation this summer, Vancouver interior designer Laura Melling shows us how best to incorporate this trending treatment into the home.

A lot of research has gone into what Canadians are hankering in home accessories, and for summer 2015 Etsy says that besides cat motifs (truth!), the humble wall decal will be a much-coveted trend.

Western Living caught up with Vancouver interior designer and stylist Laura Melling to find out about why she’s such a fan of the wall decal and how best to incorporate it in the home.

1. Why Decals?

No professional wallpaper hanger required, decals can simulate wallpaper at a fraction of the cost and effort.

“In the past few years I’ve done a few projects where there’s been no budget for artwork and there’s a huge space,” says Melling.

“With say, triangles, you could do the whole wall and it looks like you have wallpaper, but it’s so much easier—and affordable,” says the designer. “You can just literally put it up on the wall.”

Anewall Instagram Mural
This Custom Instagram Collage Mural is from Vancouver-based wall decor company Anewall and is available as a self-adhesive vinyl decal material or in smaller sticker versions — both built from your own Instagram feed (Photo by Local Wanderer).

2. If You Have a Fear of Commitment 

Not only are they easy to install, but the temporary nature of wall decals allows the homeowner (or renter) to change his or her mind whenever the mood strikes. Simply peel and start anew!

3. Washi Tape for the Win 

In addition to decals, Melling recommends using washi tape to create pattern or geometric shapes to artistically fill wall space on the cheap.

“Washi tape is a Japenese paper that that won’t take paint of the wall,” says the designer.

Melling says it comes in millions of colours and patterns, different widths to add dimension and do-it-yourself decorators don’t have to worry about ruining the walls with one strip.


Laura Melling washi tape install
Vancouver designer Laura Melling says geometric washi-tape installations are an affordable alternative to fill large wall spaces if there isn’t budget for wallpaper or art. (Photos by Laura Melling.)


 4. Gaga for Geometrics

What’s trending in decals?

“Anything geometric — triangles, hexagons … circles or dots, even nice ones with a herringbone or chevron pattern,” says the designer.

And simple is better. “Shapes are a little more timeless than maybe a huge quote or animals.”


Surface Inspired, Urban Walls
Left: Add visual interest to an oft-forgotten space with uber popular geometric pattern decals, like this one from Surface Inspired. Right: Gold polka dots from Vancouver’s Urban Walls.

 5. Plan Ahead

“Even though it’s a temporary piece of art, it’s good to think through it in relation to your space in context,” says Melling.

If you’re working on a washi-tape installation, especially something large scale, Melling plans her shape ahead of time, (Pinterest is a great resource!) before then taking the time to stand back and observe it through its stages to see how it’s looking and what it needs.

 6. Avoid Colour Confusion

When trying your hands at a washi-tape design or decal medley, don’t use every available colour at once.

“I’ve played around with different colours and I find with washi tape especially, it’s good to stick to two or three because it can get confusing to the eye.”

Surface Inspired wall decals
Keep wall decals choices neutral to avoid confusing with too much colour. (Photos by Surface Inspired.)

7. Where to Decal

Melling says decals and washi installations are the perfect option for filling large spaces on a budget, or a space that would sit empty otherwise, such as the wall behind the TV.

“Any big feature walls that you would put up a gallery wall, you could put decals or washi tape as well.”

Above the bed is another great option, and it’s not something that will fall on your head in the night. “I’ve also seen really cool decals just behind the bed, like a headboard.”

When simulating wallpaper with a pattern, the Vancouver designer says decals have more impact if limited to a feature wall. “Say if it’s a nursery, decals behind the crib draw more attention if it’s just one wall.”

Urban Walls
Adding decals to just one wall can sometimes have a bigger impact says Melling. (Photo by Urban Walls.)

Happy decalling! Be sure to share your home decal and washi tape pics with us on Twitter @western_living and Instagram @westernliving.



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