WRITER | KELLY PAULSEN
At the beginning of my design career, my inclination was to remove wallpaper whenever and wherever I encountered it. It was the early 2000s, and, frequently, the wallpaper was from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s and so out of date.
New forms of paint and paint techniques were all the rage in the design world. Ralph Lauren led the pack with new metallic paints as well as denim and leather looks. It was all about fancy brushes and techniques to create fabulous faux finishes. Out with the old and in with the new!
Well, as any fashion designer will tell you, all styles tend to come back around – and wallpaper has come back with a Bang! New wallpaper companies are coming out of the woodwork, including Phillip Jefferies, Graham & Brown, and Cole & Son, to name just a few. The more established companies such as Thibaut, Anna French, and Schumacher are updating their books with all sorts of aesthetically pleasing choices to compete with these new “cutting edge” companies.
With the new sources and technologies available for producing different papers, wallcovering has become more than just an accent in the room. Real wood veneers, leather, grasscloth, metallics, and vinyl as well as all kinds of fabrics such as wool and silk are available. These materials and updated applications have opened doors and enabled designers to take their designs to the next level.
In design school, we learned to look at the ceiling and give it the same importance as we gave the floor. Much to my personal wallpaper installer’s dismay, ceilings have been my favorite thing to cover lately. Vinyl on the kitchen ceiling is great for many reasons. It not only makes your ceiling visually pleasing, but it is practical as well. If you pop a cork or have an airborne splatter, it wipes off easily. This same vinyl can also be cost-effective when used as a backsplash. It provides texture, it’s easy to clean and change, and it’s less expensive than tile.
Great design requires layers of textures and materials that should come together and give your space unity, functionality, and visually pleasing results. Wallcovering can be used on about any surface you can imagine – walls, ceilings, in the back of cabinets, on accent walls, and backsplashes; you name it!
I quite often choose a wallpaper and design the room around that paper. Muraled paper has hit the market, and in addition to being beautiful, it often tells a story or can bring nature inside.
If you’re nervous about trying a statement wallpaper, consider the powder room. It’s a room you don’t have to be in all of the time, so it’s the perfect place to add whimsy to your home.
Though trends change, I’m hoping that wallcovering is here to stay. My hope is that many of these new papers will be like a great timeless piece of clothing and stay “in our closet” for years to come.