As with Gothic fabrics, fashionable wallpapers had two dimensional designs in subdued colours. However, ordinary people preferred more elaborate patterns with three dimensional designs. These had architectural motifs with shaded details or floral patterns.
At this period most walls were divided into three areas; the frieze, field and dado. The frieze was deep. The field was usually papered in strong colours. There were motifs from China and India, promoted by Owen Jones. Flock and velvet wallpapers became very fashionable. These heavily patterned papers in dark greens and burgundy were used above the dado. These papers had complicated designs, often with geometric patterns. Henry Cole, the superintendent of the Great Exhibition, encouraged the use of rich colours through his journal.
The Gothic designers tried to achieve a recreation of a mediaeval banqueting hall, with wood-panelled walls in the hall and dining room. Alternatively, wood panelling was used just for the dado.
In the kitchen, plain, painted or tiled surfaces were preferred as they were easy to wash down. The colours used were whites, creams, greys, and sometimes yellows.