“I want what brings the most joy to be the first thing you see—that’s why I start with wallpaper,” says avowed maximalist Isabel Ladd. “The bold colors, the unique motifs … I love that it’s the loudest thing in a room.” Classic design dictums may call for neutral paints in matte finishes—relegating bright hues and busy patterns to rugs and throw pillows—but the Brazilian-born, Kentucky-based designer much prefers to flip that script. Case in point: All four walls of her living room are freshly wrapped in a linear, ditsy-dotted, cheerful red floral custom-printed on silver paper by online platform Spoonflower, with the palette for drapery, furniture and other decor following suit. “Whatever the rules are, I’m probably doing the opposite,” she says of her wallpaper-forward approach. “I’m very much a contrarian—it works for me.”

Isabel Ladd strikes gold—and silver—with Spoonflower’s metallic wallpapers
Proud maximalist Isabel Ladd in her metallic-wallpapered living roomCourtesy of Spoonflower

Ladd’s rainbow aesthetic and rebellious spirit work for Spoonflower too. The website—which for more than 15 years has supported independent artists the world over by showcasing and producing on demand their original designs in various mediums, earning them up to a 15 percent royalty on every transaction—just added silver and gold options for any wallpaper base. Ladd had first experimented with the platform a few years ago from an artist’s perspective, uploading some cherished images to be custom-printed as a repeat on Spoonflower’s Recycled Canvas performance fabric for her terrace design at the 2022 Kips Bay Decorator Show House Dallas. So, when presented with the opportunity this spring, she leapt at the chance—now in the role of interior designer—to curate an assortment of metallic wallcoverings sourced from Spoonflower’s marketplace of more than a million designs.

That massive array makes the platform an infinite wellspring of inspiration for anyone intent on styling not just trendy but truly one-of-a-kind rooms. “When I select a design on Spoonflower, I can be confident that it hasn’t already saturated shelter magazines; that it’s not all over Pinterest,” says Ladd. For those who find the mere thought of scrolling through thousands upon thousands of thumbnails daunting, take a deep breath: The site groups designs in loose, ever-evolving categories like Heritage Revival, Refined Bohemian, New Farmhouse and Grandmillennial, and in themes as targeted as Celestial, Jungle, Nautical and Mushroom. Searches can be narrowed by artist, color and room, with 12-by-24-inch samples, printed at scale, starting at $6. “Everything’s right at your fingertips, always in stock, and printed on demand with minimal lead time. Spoonflower makes it so easy and efficient,” she says. Twenty designs, ranging from traditional florals and abstract graphics to figurative silhouettes, come together in her metallic curation.

For her own living room, Ladd narrowed her choice to a trio of floral contenders. Cast in a gamut of greens against a striking chartreuse ground, Country Boheme by Holli Zollinger bursts with lush blossoms at peak bloom. “I’m obsessed,” says the designer. “It’s such a dense scale, the palette is incredibly tight and tonal, and the color is so unexpected.” Wild fuchsia petals practically vibrate off a persimmon base in Poppy Wild Orange, another Zollinger design, in which tropical exuberance and a hint of disco-era decadence meet. The winner, Primrose by Whitney English, proffers bouquets of robust red and blue blooms on a pointillist brown-and-white backdrop.

Isabel Ladd strikes gold—and silver—with Spoonflower’s metallic wallpapers
Lustrous silver wallpaper adds dimension and subtle sheen to the intense greens in Country Boheme
Courtesy of Spoonflower

“I ultimately selected the Primrose on silver paper because I love the combination of a floral motif within a linear structure—I got my busyness plus refinement,” says Ladd. Noting that clients often marvel at her ability to mix an addictive medley of colors and prints without crossing over into complete visual chaos, she explains: “It’s instinctive for me to know when to push and when to pull back. And that’s what this pattern does. I pushed with the bold floral, but pulled back because that repeated motif is arranged in vertical rows.” The color of the curtains in the room plays off the scatterings of brown dots between the clusters of roses. “I call that design camo,” she adds.

Any fears of catching your warped, hall-of-mirrors reflection in wavery plains of high-gloss gold and silver can be safely left behind with the garish brass and chrome decor of the 1970s and ’80s. The effect of Spoonflower’s base paper is not so much outright shiny as subtly lustrous, its sheen accentuated by a slightly fibrous texture that gives the product thickness and a luxe tactility that catches the light. “There’s nothing tacky or skimpy about it,” says Ladd. “The metallic paper adds more dimension no matter the print, intensifying the colors and elevating the design.” With a silver base, patterns read cooler and brighter, while gold bestows richness and warmth. “I would use gold if I wanted a space to feel cozier—in a bedroom or a cocktail bar. Instead of tile on a backsplash, I’d put metallic gold wallpaper. But in my living room, lightness and brightness is the aesthetic I’m looking for, which is why I printed Primrose on silver.”

As the number one fan of more is more (“and less is a bore”), Ladd relishes the sense of envelopment that comes from covering every wall in a room with the same vivacious paper and recommends everyone try it. “There’s nothing else like it,” she says. “When I design, I’m always thinking that the eye must travel. I don’t do one statement piece; I do several. Between the reflectivity and the pattern, Spoonflower’s metallic wallpaper is constantly attracting attention.” For more timid souls, though, she shares a pro tip on how to dip a toe into silver or gold prints.

Isabel Ladd strikes gold—and silver—with Spoonflower’s metallic wallpapers
Ladd envisions metallic abstracts like Apostrofo Design’s Marbling as innovative ceiling decorCourtesy of Spoonflower

“We all know about accent walls. That’s fine. I get it. I have one myself, behind the desk in my office as a Zoom background,” says Ladd. “But consider putting yours on the fifth wall, aka the ceiling.” Compared to stark white paint, a metallic wallpaper in a smaller-scale, multidirectional abstract will further disperse the light from a central pendant or chandelier, as well as natural sunlight. “It creates this luminosity from above, wherever the light touches, that feels so opulent and lovely.” From her Spoonflower edit, the designer pictures juxtaposing walls in the Primrose print with a ceiling clad in Danika Herrick’s Crimson Red Circles or Apostrofo Design’s Marbling in Pink and Orange. “I’d put them together in a heartbeat,” she says. “The metallic is the connective element, the thread that ties the two patterns together.”

Ladd gleefully layers framed photos and paintings on top of her silver floral wallpaper, forever adding new delights for the eye to discover. Her living room also includes velvety tiger-striped pillows, a plump armchair upholstered in a colorful botanical, a seashell-encrusted keepsake box, and a curious ceramic goose figurine. But for clients who may not contain quite so many multitudes, metallic print wallpaper can also create a quieter ambiance. “You don’t have to be a maximalist like me,” says the designer. “You just need to fall in love with a design that expresses your personality—and Spoonflower has something special to match every passion. What the metallic does is add luster and depth.” Paired with different furnishings, the Primrose print would be equally flattering in a cottagecore bedroom. The Reverse 3 Double Inkblot in Soot and Deep Cream (another Ladd-picked Herrick design) is graphic, modern and mysterious, while Zollinger’s Bauhaus Pop Copenhagen boasts geometric cubes befitting a midcentury abode. “Add Spoonflower’s silver or gold paper, and all the colors just pop,” says Ladd. “When the sun shines on it, creating this suffused glow, it’s absolute magic.”

Isabel Ladd strikes gold—and silver—with Spoonflower’s metallic wallpapers
Poppy Wild Orange marries tropical effervescence with a hint of disco-era glam; printed on Spoonflower’s metallic silver paper, the fuchsia petals practically vibrate against the deep persimmon backgroundCourtesy of Spoonflower

This story is a paid promotion and was created in partnership with Spoonflower.

Homepage image: Online platform Spoonflower now offers the option to print any design on its site on silver or gold wallpaper; as part of her exclusive curation, interior designer Isabel Ladd wrapped all four walls of her living room in silver Primrose, a style by independent artist Whitney English | Courtesy of Spoonflower

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