Thinking outside of the box with wallpaper in hotels

Susi Bellamy, wallpaper partner to the Independent Hotel Show 2019, explores the ways wallpaper can be used to give a unique look to boutique and luxury hotels.

With the trend for industrial chic reaching saturation point, we have begun to witness a return to more romantic and antique-inspired interiors in boutique and luxury hotels. Hotels are starting to embrace a more eclectic approach to their interiors, mixing and matching furnishings, fabrics and prints in different styles to work together harmoniously.

Design Insider susi bellamy wallpaper rolls

People are seeking sanctuaries in their temporary spaces, as well as in their homes, and therefore hotels are shifting their interior designs to reflect this. There is also a growing appetite for brighter colours: jewel tones, acid brights and candy colours are omnipresent in hospitality interiors and add a joyful tone to spaces.

With this eclectic approach seemingly here to stay, hoteliers are looking at more ways to make their hotels stand out from the crowd. The idea of ‘Instagrammability’ is also becoming increasingly important in the industry, so providing guests with something bold and unusual to photograph and share can be a great tool for driving business, as Sketch London has demonstrated.

Design Insider Susi Bellamy Orange Feathered

Wallpaper is a simple way to transform a space and provide a bold and unusual backdrop. Wallpaper can add texture, pattern and interest to a hotel’s walls, but it doesn’t have to be hung throughout or limited to a room’s four walls. Used sparingly wallpaper can be used like art to punctuate a space with colour and design, while it can cocoon the room and create a luxurious and unique space if used all over a space.

Hoteliers unsure of how to incorporate more colour and pattern into their interiors should consider having a single feature wall, or using wallpaper in the back of a bookcase, to provide a hint of colour and print. Wallpaper also looks great inside shelves, or inside walk-in wardrobes and on bathroom walls to add interest.

Design Insider Pink Star wallpaper by Susi Bellamy

At the Independent Hotel Show, Susi Bellamy will be showcasing three wallpaper designs: Grey Stucco, Grey Stucco Pebbles and Pietra Grigia. These are some of the bestsellers and enable hoteliers to transform spaces in a variety of ways.

More abstract designs such as my Grey Stucco and Grey Stucco Pebbles inject a pop of colour into a setting, so add interest to plain rooms and give the wow factor, while the tones of pale greyish greens of Pietra Grigia work well alongside cream and neutrals.

Design Insider Susi Bellamy Grey Stucco wallpaper

One area in interior schemes which is often forgotten in favour of a statement wall is the ceiling. Ceilings, sometimes referred to as the ‘fifth wall’, generally remain neutral and uncovered to provide counterbalance for the rest of the space. However, the continuing tendency towards maximalism has encouraged designers to re-evaluate the use of the fifth wall and view it as another canvas.

Wallpapering the ceiling is a wonderful way to add interest to a room in the same way frescoes were painted on the ceiling during the Renaissance. It can liven up a usually dull space as well as provide the effect of adding height to a room. You could either paper the ceiling where the walls are left plain to showcase art or a statement mirror, or, go for a maximalist effect by wallpapering the whole space.

Design Insider Susi Bellamy Orange Feathered cupboard

There are no set rules when it comes to using wallpaper on the ceiling: slightly larger designs work well as they can be better seen from a distance and marble designs in particular can look fabulous as they have a luxurious feel and often reflect flooring in an entrance or corridor. Using this space means you can experiment in ways you may not have previously considered for walls.

She sees conventional design practices as there to be challenged, so really when it comes to wallpapering any space in a hotel she would encourage hoteliers to think outside of the box to create a unique space that will set their business apart from others and provide a visual delight to guests.

Design Insider khaki fantasy wallpaper by Susi Bellamy

Susi Bellamy’s wallpapers will be on display at the Independent Hotel Show at Olympia London on 15 and 16 October.  To register to attend the Independent Hotel Show 2019, visit