Sisters and interior designers Charlotte Harris Lucas and Liz Harris Carroll considered collaborating on a lot of ideas before one—literally—stuck: wallpaper. As a result, House of Harris was born, a boutique line of wallpaper and fabrics inspired by a cache of vintage and modern motifs culled from the sisters’ Southern upbringing and shared Francophilia. It hasn’t been long since the brand’s debut, but already the duo is racking up accolades. Outlets like Domino and Vogue have sung the its praises, and furniture maker Chaddock recently contracted the sisters to customize a line of furniture in House of Harris prints. Which is all to say that Charlotte and Liz know a thing or two about pattern, and patterned wallpaper in particular. To cash in on their knowledge and celebrate the House of Harris for Chaddock launch on Chairish, we asked the sisters about their best tips for making wallpaper work in a room, some unexpected ways to use it, plus got the low-down on what it’s like to be a real deal sister act!
About House of Harris…
What’s it like working together as sisters?
It’s great! There’s no one you trust more than a sister. It’s wonderful to have a business partner that you know always has your best interest at heart. We can cut quickly through any disagreements and get right to the end of a discussion because there is no dancing around or trying to be politically correct with each other. We are also very different and balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses, which helps.
When it comes to your own homes, do your design styles align, or do you lean towards different aesthetics?
Different! Charlotte’s style is more eclectic and she’s not afraid to take risks. In the blink of an eye, she’ll wallpaper her stairwell pink! She lives in a 1950’s Mid-Century Modern house that mixes mostly vintage pieces with a lot of color and pattern. Liz’s aesthetic is more classic, a hip-traditional. She lives in a 1942 Colonial home and leans towards more clean lines and loves a can of fresh paint. However, we both love wallpaper and have a lot of it in our homes!
What told you it was time to start a wallpaper and fabric line together?
We have always bounced ideas off of each other in our design businesses, but we knew it didn’t make sense to combine those. We both love textiles and wallpaper, and it was really an organic output of our love for that and wanting to find a way to collaborate.
Are there any wallpaper or fabric trends or colors you’re currently loving?
Bold graphic wallpapers with huge repeats (like our Bloomfield pattern), jewel tone colorways, dainty organic stripes, and small scale geometrics.
How to Pair Wallpaper With…
Upholstery & Textiles
Perhaps most tricky when wallpapering a room is choosing a complementary upholstery for pieces like headboards, bedding, or sofas. Often these items sit flush to the wallpaper, meaning your mixing game needs to be on-point. “Choose a focal point and approach the space in layers,” advises Liz. “For a recent bedroom, we wanted our Hillside Wallpaper Mural to shine. To do that, we went with classic white bedding. We pulled in a soft blush color from the paper with the decorative shams.” To avoid a clash-fest when combining patterns, try opting for a print that’s smaller in scale than your wallpaper’s.
While you can always go for a solid rug, a patterned rug and patterned walls can make for a killer editorial moment. “There needs to be a variety in scale,” says Liz. “Also, again, consider the color harmony. Different patterns and textures can work together if they’re of similar hues,” she adds. Additionally, if your wallpaper has a variety of dominant colors, such as pinks and blues, try looking for a rug that incorporates both, rather than just one.
Even with wallpaper, art is still a necessity. To make sure it’s impactful, the sisters advise that you “think of the overall visual impact and choose large statement pieces that won’t get lost or compete with the patterned wall.” Additionally, “Try a neutral colored frame and consider artwork with negative space to separate art from wall.”
PRO TIP: Try Before You Buy
Everyone knows how to swatch test paint, but what about wallpaper? To ensure you don’t splurge on twenty rolls of the wrong thing, Charlotte and Liz recommend requesting actual samples (or buying them right here on Chairish!) and pinning or taping them on the wall. Important things to note include how the scale, colors and patterns work with the space.
3 Ways To Work That Wallpaper…
1. Match Up Wallpaper & Fabrics
Dress your room in the design equivalent of a sweater twin set by matching you wallpaper and headboard (and maybe the drapes while you’re at it). A favorite trick of fellow designers like Mark D. Sikes and Tilton Fenwick, matching the wallpaper and fabrics in a room can make it feel both classic and cool. “Use medium scale prints that are not super busy,” says Liz. “Nothing too small or tight. Consistency is key and it’s important to consider the overall visual rhythm. Charlotte custom colored our Windwood multi fabric and wallpaper into a cool gray color and used it for the single pattern in a client’s teen bedroom. She used modern furniture with clean lines which helped transform the space into a hip yet feminine hangout!”
2. Use a Mural Paper
Almost always jaw-dropping, a mural wallpaper can make a room feel instantly one-of-a-kind without the price tag that can accompany a decorative painter’s handiwork. Charlotte and Liz recommend wallpaper murals for entries, bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms. “High ceilings are great too,” says Liz, noting that high ceilings can help avoid a mural making a room feel claustrophobic. Speaking of ceiling height, House of Harris can custom print murals to a homeowner’s exact ceiling height, which makes all the difference. “For instance, our Hillside panels were designed to accommodate different ceiling heights,” says Liz. “We can customize any pattern in the line to fit client needs by adjusting the scale or color.”
3. Wallpaper Furniture
One of Charlotte and Liz’s favorite ways to use wallpaper doesn’t involve walls at all, but rather furniture. Recently, the sisters papered the inside of a dry bar with their big-cat besotted Baxter paper. “We love making everything feel custom and unique,” says Liz. “The wallpaper inside the bar was unexpected and created an element of surprise. When you open the bar, we wanted the inside to be just as fun as the outside! It’s a very easy and inexpensive way to create big impact.” If you’d like to try out the look, but not necessarily on a dry bar, the sisters recommend trying wallpaper on the insides of bookshelves, china cabinets, sideboards, trays, wardrobes, closets, or even, a boat; “Using our vinyl coated paper of course!” says Liz.
Lead photo by Treebird Photography