Finally! Wallpaper has made it back into our lives. I have always loved wallpaper, but the 1980s seems to have scarred many folks and left them unable to see how great it can be. Wallpaper can add texture and personality in a way that paint just cannot. This new generation of wallpaper is so diverse in terms of style and texture — I am totally smitten. Here are a few of my favorite styles and some inspiration for how to use them in new and exciting ways:
Gone is the old actual grasscloth of yesteryear. This new and upgraded product is typically made from vinyl and is much more durable and versatile. The older version was made from natural dried grass, which was incredibly delicate. It could only really be used in very specific spaces. But this new stuff? Man! You can put it anywhere — like, in the bathroom. And I mean an actual bathroom, with a shower, steam, and water, not just a powder room. I recently installed this in a bathroom, and it dramatically changed the vibe of that space. And while I still prefer the more neutral tones for most of my jobs, it does come in colors that are pretty darn stunning if you feel a bit daring.
I know, thematic makes one think of Disney or Star Wars or animals... and those are still relevant. Although if you are over the age of nine and installing Star Wars wallpaper in your home, you may want to take a beat and ask yourself why? But this new breed of thematic wallpaper ranges from cultural to geographical to personalized and everything in between. Take this stunning twist on an old theme — toile. A native Bay Area, California man relocated to New York and found himself homesick for all the wonderful elements that make up the most amazing place in the world (prove me wrong). So what did he do? As a nod to the days of French Toile, he designed a wallpaper that highlighted many of the well-known people and landmarks of our great region. The result? This cheeky yet still attractive design (pictured on the left). I have this wallpaper installed in my entryway, and it never fails to bring delight to anyone who comes over. It is a great conversation starter.
What's really special is this paper was inspired by another twist on toile from the 1960s that came out of the black pride movement. The Harlem "Toile de Jouy" series is brilliant! Images of black men, women, and children, all shown relaxing in styles in a traditional French scene from the 1700s. It's a proper flipping of the script in the best possible way. Can you imagine the conversations that could spring from having that on your walls? Pure joy with a bit of social consciousness tossed in. Who knew wallpaper could play such an important role?
When many of us think of wallpaper, we think of large florals, maybe a bit metallic and definitely not modern. All of that is still available to those who wish to keep that spirit alive. However, there are plenty of other options for those of us who don't.
Take this black and white abstract paper — it can be placed in a tiny powder room for a bold statement, or used on the back wall of a book case for a peekaboo look that allows for bold-yet-less-present expression of modernism.
Design It Yourself
Websites like Spoonflower allow you to design your own wallpaper and have it made custom just for you! Maybe your child drew a totally cool tiger, and they would love to have it made into wallpaper for their room. How excited would they be to have that on their walls? Just maybe do one wall, not the whole room — less is more, remember? Unless more is more for you — then, well, got for it! It's just wallpaper.
Peel and Stick
Afraid to make too large of a commitment? Renting and can’t install traditional paste paper? No problem! Many online sources have been selling good-looking peel and stick options for years. And now the more prominent brands like West Elm and CB2 have gotten into the game — and with very impressive results! I am particularly fond of this paper from West Elm.
We installed it in a client’s bedroom a few years ago (check out my website for an image of that project HERE), and it looks as good as the paste-styled papers! I could not have been more pleased with the results, and even better — the client was pleased too!
So, I hope this little post was able to help move you enough to give wallpaper another try. My problem is going to be restraint. Now that I have fully embraced it, I am finding more and more places in my own home and client projects that seem to “need” wallpaper.
Until next time, Heather