From a single accent wall to rooms that are worlds of their own, well-chosen wallpaper can transform even the most humdrum interior into a vibrant, one-of-a-kind environment.

Papering may take more effort and expense than a paint job, but wallpaper aficionados say the results are more than worth it, adding warmth and delight to any room.

Interior designer Annie Parr says she "treats wallpaper like jewelry. Sometime's it's fun to go big, other times it's good to edit." Annie Parr

“I just love wallpaper, so I hope it’s coming back,” the author, artist and designer Susan Branch told The Vine.

“I have had wallpaper in practically every room on my house since I moved to the Island,” said Susan, who lives in Vineyard Haven with her husband Joe Hall.

She has chosen old-fashioned wallpapers for their historic home, which was built for a whaling captain in 1849 and has its own personality, Susan said.

“We haven’t changed it very much [because] it wants to stay the way it is,” she said.

An Edgartown house has had the same effect on its seasonal owners, who cherished a gull-patterned 1930s wallpaper for generations until it became too moldy to preserve.

The family then commissioned Island muralist Linda Carnegie to reproduce the long-discontinued design in paint.

“I took a piece of tracing paper, traced the [pattern] and I repainted all of it,” said Linda, who’s often been hired to paint decorative walls in humid Island spaces where wallpaper tends to peel and mildew.

“I did a lot of inn showers and bathrooms,” she recalled.

The wallpaper Annie Parr used in this bathroom makes it feel bigger. Annie Parr

Widespread air-conditioning has made wallpapering more accessible on the Vineyard than it was in days gone by, added Linda, who also custom paints switchplates and other accessories to match her clients’ papered walls.

She’s still not a fan of wallpapered bathrooms, though.

“If you have a shower in there, it’s a whole different ball game. It’ll pull [the paper] down,” Linda said.

A powder room, on the other hand, can showcase wallpaper elegantly without the wear and tear of steamy bathroom use.

John Murphy, of Tracker Home Decor in Edgartown, likes to paper over the powder room ceiling as well as the walls.

“It turns it into a little jewel box,” said John, whose showroom shelves are lined with books of wallpaper samples in every imaginable style from vintage to modern.

A Ralph Lauren design of constellations, with stars that glow in the dark, is perfect for a child’s bedroom ceiling, John said. A modernist pattern of birch trees and red birds is destined for a home in Vermont, while a 17th-century Flemish tapestry of woodlands and castles inspired the British Cole & Son paper in Tracker’s front room.

“We love paper. I try to put it in every project we do,” said John, who also carries a pattern called Martha’s Vineyard Toile by Osterville artist Joan Peters.

Susan Branch has designed a Vineyard toile as well, available from as both fabric by the yard and wallpaper in pasted, nonpasted and peel-and-stick formats.

The custom wallpaper at Jubilee boutique in Oak Bluffs features vintage photographs of African American families enjoying summer on the Vineyard. Jeanna Shepard

Both artists’ patterns come in different colors and show Island landmarks such as the Tabernacle, Flying Horses and various lighthouses, with Joan’s rendered in a sketch-like style and Susan’s the style of her well-known book illustrations.

The very newest Island-themed wallpaper can’t be found in a sample book or online store. Created for the new Jubilee boutique in Oak Bluffs, it’s a toile that uses vintage photographs instead of drawings to celebrate the history of Black families summering in the town.

“We have a waitlist for the custom Oak Bluffs wallpaper that we hadn’t even planned on selling,” owner Kahina Van Dyke posted on Instagram last month, one week after opening the shop’s doors.

Across Vineyard Sound, the Woods Hole Inn has a custom paper in its hallways, patterned with old check-in cards from long-ago guests.

“We’ve definitely had people come in who recognized their grandparents’ names,” said owner Beth Colt, who worked with a Canadian company to design and produce the paper.

Detail of wallpaper at Jubilee boutique. Jeanna Shepard

Of course, you don’t need a bespoke design to make your wallpaper unique. One Edgartown hostess chose a clock-face pattern for her powder room, then hung a selection of clocks and watches on the wall for a three-dimensional look.

Wallpaper can be interactive in other ways as well. Homeowners who like to entertain might consider a paper with reflective accents to amplify candlelight for a fine-dining ambience.

Longtime Edgartown interior designer Nancy Blair Vietor also likes wallpaper in foyers, to welcome guests the minute they cross the threshold.

“You have to put some money into it, but it makes a very good design statement in the right place,” Nancy said. “It creates a space.”

Designer Annie Parr of Annie Parr Interiors likes to use wallpaper to define and accentuate spaces within and between rooms, such as pass-throughs and pantry doors.

“I generally like to use wallpaper as an accent. It adds so much depth and texture that you can’t get from painting, wood or other surfaces.”

Annie thinks of wallpaper as something that can bring character to a room – or tone it down. “I treat it like jewelry,” she said. “Sometimes it’s fun to go big, other times it’s good to edit.”

If you look at a space, Annie advises, it will almost talk to you. The right spot for a bit of wallpaper — on a closet door, on one wall, on the back of bookshelves, on a child’s ceiling, or along a hallway – can be just the thing to add character and personality to your design project.

Louisa Hufstader is senior writer for the Vineyard Gazette.