After seasons of minimalist-chic and the rejection of any wall treatment other than paint, wallpaper is back with a vengeance. If you have visions of your grandmother’s chintzy patterned borders or over-the-top garden motifs in mind, think again. Today’s wallpapers feature new textures, modern colours and designer patterns, making them an exciting way to decorate our spaces.
It was only a matter of time before the decor pendulum swung the other way—the neutral, monochromatic interiors of the 90s has finally given way to a more dramatic and glamorous look for the new millennium. “People are inspired by the magazines and the decorators that are becoming more adventurous in design styles,” says Sarah Cole, director of the prestigious wallpaper and paint brand, Farrow & Ball. Taking our cue from these pros, decor-savvy consumers are now looking to recreate the same stylish looks in their own homes.
Luckily, this resurgence is a budget-friendly way to inject an instant jolt of style into any room in your home. Today’s papers come in an infinite array of colours and styles, are easy to clean and maintain and are a lot less cumbersome to remove should you change your mind down the road. Popular styles include dramatic fleur-de-lis and damasks, re-worked floral and botanical prints, over-scaled rococo-inspired patterns and retro geometrics reminiscent of the 60s and 70s. Shiny gold and silver metallics continue to make strides in the colour arena, while embossed and flocked looks are leading the trend in terms of texture. You can even find wallpapers that mimic the look of leather, linen or grasscloth.
However, if you’re afraid to take such a bold leap, Cole suggests starting out with a more subtle approach. “I wouldn’t be afraid of big patterns; try them in a tone-on-tone, rather than one of the bright colours. If you’re used to painted walls, try one of our “drags,” wallpaper we carry that features a striés effect. Then move on to a tone-on-tone stripe and then when you’re ready, move on to patterns.”
You can also introduce wallpaper into your home by highlighting a feature wall, door panels or event cabinets. “There’s one house in London I went to that one of our designers were working on and the owner wanted to put up vermicelli wallpaper in a lovely minty green and silver inside every cupboard in their kitchen. It was a glass-fronted, stainless steel kind of themed kitchen, so you could just see behind the glass this sort of minty colour and the metallic shining through—it looked stunning,” says Cole.
Once you’ve decided on the colour and pattern of wallpaper that you want, ask for samples that you can take home and test out at home. The look of the wallpaper can change depending on the time of day and the direction of your light exposure. Also, you’ll want to figure out how this wallpaper will fit into the overall decor scheme of your home.
“Look at the room itself and when you’re going to use it and what kind of feeling you want that room to have,” says Cole. “Don’t look at it in isolation; look at it in the rest of how you’re decorating the house. Rooms should flow from to another.”
Besides walls, you can also customize everything from room dividers to tabletop with wallpaper, frame it as art, and use it to highlight the ceilings. With more and more sophisticated colour and pattern choices being produced, it’s easy to find a style or look to suit your personal aesthetic and your home’s design.
Images courtesy of: Farrow & Ball, www.farrow-ball.com