Quick and stylish bathroom makeovers: why wallpaper is a great alternative to tiles

Quick and easy, cheap and stylish, modern wallpapers are a great alternative to costly tiles.
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Where do dreams happen? Where are City takeover bids hatched? Often, it’s when lying in the bath at the end of a long day.
With this in mind, you need a bathroom to give you inspiration. Bathroom makeovers, which these days often include big marble or stone tiles and all the skilled fitting work required, can be expensive, but no one ever thinks of wallpaper or even good old-fashioned paint. Paper is cheaper than tiles — as is even the most fabulous wallpaper — and we can change paint in a blink if we make the wrong decision. Tiles are forever.
Paint: leave the lid on pastels and go for something strong and sultry —deep carmine red, purple-black, or an intense, glowing cobalt blue, burnt orange or powerful verdigris green — then bathe by candlelight. The effect is transformative and magical — and if you don’t like it, change it. 
Boutique hotel vibe: Lotus wallpaper (£110 per 10-metre roll) from Farrow & Ball
Wallpaper: we think wallpaper will peel in a bathroom, which could be the case with traditional pastes, but modern wallpapers have terrific adhesives. And a good-quality paper is capable of holding small amounts of condensation during bathtime, then releasing it slowly again afterwards, in just the same way that emulsion paint does. In other words, it will breathe.
The range is bewildering but if you are going to do it, always go for quality. Hiring a professional to hang it can be expensive, so why waste that effort on an inferior paper? Choose hand-printed papers — using paint, not ink, which give a rich, almost three-dimensional effect.
Farrow & Ball uses traditional block printing to create a result that really does look hand-painted, and designs are inspired by archives of wallpapers and patterns from around the world.
Honey, I’m home: Bumblebee paper, £85 per 10m roll from Farrow & Ball

Its gorgeous Bumblebee paper is created using block-printing rollers, which are replaced every 15 rolls. The bumblebee design is based on the 18th-century bedroom of Empress Joséphine, wife of Napoleon, and comes in eight colour options. Flat block-printing gives a really authentic effect — you can see the raised edges of the paint. The dramatic black-and-white Lotus pattern (a little Biba-ish) created this way has a boutique hotel vibe. Who could resist that?
Of all the papers, stripes are incredibly versatile. Bold, vertical stripes — which are dragged with sponges, so again look hand-painted — are especially terrific in a dark colour, if you have the nerve. But there are 10 colourways should you want to choose something less campaign tent-ish.
£60 per 10-metre roll: Block Print Stripe from Farrow & Ball

Get your decorator to help calculate how much paper you need, and use up any precious scraps to line drawers in the bathroom, or paste round a straight-sided bin for a co-ordinated effect.
Visit www.farrow-ball.com for details

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