It seemed for a long time that wallpaper was regarded as too decorative, and the sort of thing reserved for Gma’s sitting room. It screamed old school style in *all* the wrong ways. But all that has changed. Wallpaper is back, and it’s everywhere! As the chief interior designer for NousDecor with a firm in LA (Mark Cutler Design), I am always on the hunt for these emerging trends. These days, you can not only use wallpaper to dress up your walls, but I’m seeing it in all kinds of places, from ceilings to the backs of bookcases, adding both depth and contrast. It’s even popping up on salvaged pieces of furniture that needed a bit of TLC. Here are a few factors driving this latest trend:
1. People are looking for new ways to spice up a room. Design enthusiasts are always looking for new approaches to tradition, and this has led to people looking at wallpaper and deciding to use it in untraditional ways. An example? Putting it on the ceiling! A bit of pattern up above can really give a room a lift. Depending on what you choose, it can make the ceiling feel higher, lower or just create a sense of whimsy in a fresh way. When I paper a ceiling, I tend to use more subtle designs, or even embossed ones, so that I get the greatest benefit from the way light reflects in the space.
You can also use wallpaper in the backs of bookcases and shelving units. It’s a fantastic way to add depth and pattern to a room without committing to a whole wall. Ironically, a bold pattern can tie together a collection of books in a really interesting way, making it look much more cohesive and less random.
2. Wallpaper is no longer just for homeowners. The rise of temporary wallpaper is also helping to drive this new decor trend. Temporary wallpaper is the perfect solution for people who rent or are commitment-shy. The new lines offer almost as many choices as the permanent papers, with the added advantage that you can take them with you.
3. The Feature Wall is back. As we slowly embrace more and more color and pattern in our designs, the feature wall has reemerged as a useful device for those who just want to dip their toe in the water of patterned rooms. Previously associated with 1970’s design, a feature wall dresses up one wall in a room with bold color — or in this case, wallpaper — to accentuate it and to inject style and visual interest to your space.
As the feature wall gains popularity, why would you limit yourself to just a painted single color when you have such a broad range of options available? For the more subtle look, perhaps a paper-backed linen or even a grass cloth will provide just what you need. The bolder among you might enjoy a stronger pattern or even a chinoiserie panel design. For the more architectural among us, the new crop of pattern and textures that mimic vintage brick or reclaimed wood will bring a little Brooklyn into your home.
4. Design it yourself. Digital printing has transformed a lot of the design world, and wallpaper is no different. Many brands now offer you the ability to design your own wallpapers, including everything from customizing colors to creating your own patterns. Or for the narcissists among us, turn photos of yourself into wall-size designs!
Overall, I’m happy to see this trend return. The more tools we have to use in our designs, the more interesting and exciting solutions we can create for our clients. I say go ahead and embrace this trend while it’s hot, and give your room a new look!
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(Photos via NousDecor)