Wallpaper is Making a Comeback

by | Mar 2019

Interior of stylish cream sofa with cushions in a modern livingroom


What’s old is new again.

Wallpaper has been a room game-changer for centuries. Originally invented in China, wallpaper traveled the globe and spanned centuries. It’s evolved, from the printing processes of the Industrial Revolution to today’s world of digital imagery. While wallpaper originally depicted religious iconography and symbols of laborers and royalty alike, today’s patterns run the gamut from ethereal clouds to dramatic pop art to natural grass cloth to vinyl 3D prints. There are also companies that specialize in letting you create your own design while they print it. (This is no longer the era of your grandma’s floral border.)

Wallpapers are meant for every room, every age and every surface. Glamorize ceilings, create drama for a powder room, inject calm in a bedroom, or create whimsy in a nursery. Go ahead and give a hug to flamboyant and oversized geometrics in your front hall, collections of dogs in your mudroom or etched clouds on your master bedroom ceiling. Evoke a taste of yesterday with vintage wallpapers from the midcentury modern era, or simply give a room some needed interest with 3D abstracted textures.

4 Tips for Choosing Wallpaper:

Read these tips from a local interior designer before plastering your room with a new look.

  • Before making a final selection, see an actual sample of the paper in the room where it will be installed, since colors can appear different in various lighting conditions.
  • Consult an installer for the exact amount of paper you’ll need. Pattern repeats and varying roll sizes are not easily calculated by old-school equations for measuring.
  • Be sure the paper type (natural fiber, paper, vinyl, etc.) is appropriate for your lifestyle. A grass cloth in a bathroom that gets a lot of splashing won’t hold up. Try vinyl instead.
  • While paper can be applied over plaster, paneling, old wallpaper or tile, be sure it’s the right paper type to perform over these unusual sub-surfaces. Consult an installer or designer for advice.

Sarah Olsen is an ASID-degreed interior designer since 1993 and is based at Merriment, her Woodbury design studio and retail shop.


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