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Wallpaper ... Love It Or Leave It?

To get to the bottom of this divisive décor style, New Jersey Lifestyle Magazine interviewed interior designer, entrepreneur, and wallpaper aficionado, Sean Kelly. Sean is based in Atlantic and Cape May counties.

When it comes to home décor, wallpaper seems to be a divisive topic. While it’s currently surging in popularity, there is still plenty of hate surrounding it. A quick Google or TikTok search of ‘epic wallpaper fails’, will show you just how much disdain there is for this wallcovering. Though, that’s not entirely fair… “Wallpaper can add a lot to a home. If it is done tastefully, it will be timeless. However, it’s not for everyone and it can certainly go wrong. If you’re a minimalist who enjoys a clean slate, wallpaper is not for you. But, if you’re drawn to warm, textured designs that tell a story, wallpaper can bring so much style to your home,” says Sean Kelly, founder of StyledbySean, and owner of the newly opened interior design and home décor store Dune by Sean Kelly in North Wildwood. 

To get to the bottom of this divisive décor style, New Jersey Lifestyle Magazine interviewed interior designer, entrepreneur, and wallpaper aficionado, Sean Kelly. Sean is based in Atlantic and Cape May counties. Though, he has worked coast to coast in interior design. A Philadelphia native and Temple graduate, Sean began in Los Angeles before furthering his career in New York City. Sean eventually settled in the Cape May area to start his own business. “I am so fortunate to work in a field that I love where nothing is more important to me than the relationship and trust we develop with clients. Their happiness is our greatest reward,” Sean says. StyledbySean offers full interior design services, holiday and event decorating, home organization, moving assistance, personal styling, and more. StyledbySean carries several lines of quality wallpaper and has a trusted installer, should you want to add this design element to your home. 

Is wallpaper back in style… was it ever really out?

Yes, wallpaper is definitely back in a big way. Though, I don’t think it was ever really out. Grass cloth wallpaper has been popular for over 100 years. What does go in and out of style in regard to wallpaper are actually prints. Prints are very tricky and can go out of style quickly if you’re not careful. 

What are the biggest wallpaper styles right now?

I’m seeing a lot of light linens done in a whole room. It’s not as bold as other wallpapers, but it adds texture. While it’s subtle, it really brings out the furniture and adds warmth to the room. If you want to be bold, floral patterns are very hip. I’m not seeing many crazy abstract patterns. Just be careful with bold wallpaper, it can go very wrong if it’s not the look you’re seeking. And, it can be a lot for a whole room, so consider just incorporating an accent wall for added flair. 

Are there any wallpaper do’s and don’ts?

Yes! Do pick something that you will like for a long time. Prints can go in and out of style and if you wallpaper an entire room, it can be difficult to change. Do put a lot of thought into your wallpaper, this is not something you can Pinterest. Don’t go cheap with your wallpaper by compromising cost for quality. Inexpensive wallpaper does not go on well and it wears quickly, making it look dated fast. Do get a 12 x 12 sample, not a swatch. Then tape it to different areas of the room. Check it in every light and near your furniture to make sure the pattern is complementary.

Do you have any tips for adding wallpaper to your home?

Many people are intimidated by wallpaper, so start small. Start in a room that you don’t spend all of your time in, like a powder room. See how the wallpaper makes you feel. If you love it, consider adding it to bigger rooms that you’re in more. Consider the whole room when you’re adding wallpaper. If you’re doing bold wallpaper, it will be the focal point so make sure the rest of the room ties in. With bold designs, accent walls can look great. However, if it’s not done well an accent wall can look very out of place.

Any final advice?

Wallpaper is something that you would ideally work with a trusted professional who understands your vision for the overall look and placement. Design and installation are key. A bad wallpaper hanging can ruin an otherwise beautiful aesthetic. 

StyledbySean & Dune by Sean Kelly– location and contact. 


Address: 604 N Wildwood Blvd. Cape May Courthouse, NJ 08210

Phone: 856.889.8894

Sean Kelly is the founder, creative director, and visionary behind StyledBySean, a top-rated interior design firm in Cape May County, NJ, offering a wide range of services, from furniture planning and interior selections to full home remodeling and new construction guidance. Sean is a distinguished interior design expert known for his discerning eye and innovative approach to creating timeless spaces. With a career that spans coast to coast, Sean has become a respected name in the industry, celebrated for his creativity, executive management expertise, and a passion for transforming spaces into havens of sophistication catered to his client’s unique tastes and personalities.