The Renaissance of Wallpaper: With a twist

September 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

The first thing my husband did when we moved into our house many years ago was rip a long piece of wallpaper off the bathroom wall. “We won’t be keeping this,” he proclaimed. Well, I wasn’t planning to start a bathroom renovation that afternoon (I had to hide the ugly blemish with towels for months), but he certainly had the right idea. All the wallpaper came down eventually and was replaced with paint.

Many of us have visions of homes with old faded wallpaper and knick-knacks everywhere or rooms where every available inch of real estate was covered: ceiling, switch plates, wastebaskets– even the window treatments matched the wallpaper.

The rebirth of wallpaper that we’re experiencing, however, is far different from what you lived through in your grandmother’s parlor.

1) Contemporary wallpaper makes a bold statement either with color, texture, large graphic design, or all three.

2) The wallpaper is a feature of the room, like a piece of art, and not simply a wall covering upon which to layer a hodgepodge of family photos, diplomas, and other objects of interest.

And that’s the major difference. It’s more about what else is going on (or not) in the room and less about the wallpaper itself. Contemporary use of wallpaper involves a more judicious placement in areas like the focal wall in a foyer (as in the photo), the walls in a guest bath, the headboard wall in the master bedroom, and the walls above wainscoting in the dining room. The wallpaper is also selected to be the appropriate scale in the room (you won’t see so many little tiny pink flowers anymore). And the furnishings in a room with bold, contemporary wallpaper harmonize with it, both through color and fabric design and scale.

So be adventuresome. If you’re feeling like your room is just a little too blah, even after you’ve painted a fresh new color, try wallpapering an accent wall. Just for fun. Your grandmother would be proud.

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