It’s official, the wallpaper is back in style and no one seems mad about it. Homeowners are starting to get more daring with interior design these days, and wallpaper seems to be playing a big role in their design decisions. It can be a relatively cost-effective way to bring a lot of style and flair into your home.
These days, thanks to technology, you have the ability to cut out the cost of hiring a professional installer just by watching a “how to” video on YouTube. Designer Meg Braff says this about wallpaper,” Wallpaper is a great solution to lots of challenges. It’s one of the most useful tools we designers have in our bag of tricks. It can bring warmth and detail to an otherwise drab room and transform a cavernous space into an intimate retreat.”
Wallpaper hasn’t always been in style. It has ebbed and flowed throughout homes in the past 100 years. It first became so popular back in the 1920s that it was given the name “The Golden Age of Wallpaper. Then again, the 1970s and ’80s came around and wallpaper was back in style. Homeowners would cover every inch of a room or the entire house with paper.
Flocked damask designs and Laura Ashley-style florals were all the rage. Eventually, like most trends, the wallpaper craze died out for a while. Homeowners and house flippers all over the globe were stripping wallpaper off of their fixer-upper homes and painting everything white. The wallpaper was out and neutral paint was in.
However, in the past ten years or so, we have seen an enthusiastic resurgence in the design world and it is definitely making a successful comeback. Think of it this way: it’s not your grandma’s wallpaper anymore. With an endless variety of colors and patterns, you can’t help but fall in love with it all over again. If you are considering adding wallpaper to your home, it is important to understand that there are 3 types of wallpaper options to choose from.
The first option is the non-pasted, where there is no adhesive, so you must add the paste in order for it to adhere to the walls. The second option is pre-pasted, which means the paper has a paste or adhesive already on the back and all you need to do is add water and adhere it to the wall.
The final option is self-adhesive, which is also known as removable or peel-and-stick wallpaper. This is the easiest and most self-sufficient, especially for first-time installers. All you need to do is peel off the back layer and adhere the paper to the walls.
Speaking of self-sufficiency, one of the most incredible things about it coming back in style is the invention of removable wallpaper. Removable wallpaper is a fantastic way to introduce design into your home without making the full commitment. You don’t need to fuss with the more permanent paste or non-paste methods.
“The pros of removable wallpaper are just as it states…it’s removable!” says Caron Woolsey, founder, and principal designer at CW Interiors. “It’s not a major commitment if you get bored easily.” There are so many convenient options, especially for those that rent.
Simply put, removable wallpapers are forgiving. When you are creating a beautifully designed interior, you don’t have to worry about damaging the walls permanently. It’s also a clever option for homeowners that might be hesitant about committing 100% to hang it on their walls. Trying this method is smart, in case you change your mind or decide you just don’t love it.
It’s easily removable, and you don’t have the hassle of having to hire a professional to install or remove it. The best online shops, in my professional opinion, are Wallshoppe and Chasing Paper. They offer a generous selection of peel-and-stick wallpapers with so many designs and colors to choose from.
If you decide to take the plunge, then you need to take into consideration where you want to hang your wallpaper and what type to purchase. As a designer, I always strongly discourage my clients from installing paper in the kitchen or full bathroom. The reasons are pretty simple, years of too much cooking and steam will permeate and linger on the paper.
Smoke from cooking can also discolor the paper, leaving it looking very yellow or dingy. Don’t fret, however, there are plenty of other rooms and ideas for installing pretty paper. Two of my favorite spaces are the powder room and your home office. I love the unexpected joy you get from guests who turn on the light to find the powder room covered in a gorgeous print.
It’s like your own private little jewel box. Putting it on the walls in your home office can create a perfect backdrop for zoom calls or client visits. Compare working in a beautifully decorated office, covered with a gorgeous wallpaper print, to working in an office with white walls and sterile furniture.
I think you can decide which room you would feel more inspired to work in. I’m also really in love with the idea of installing wallpaper inside the walls of a built-in cabinet. It looks absolutely stunning and changes the overall aesthetic instantly. An average white cabinet can suddenly look custom and totally unique.
If you find yourself feeling really daring, then I would consider not only installing paper on the walls, but also on the ceiling of a room. This is my favorite design hack I’ve recently discovered, and I love suggesting it to my clients. You might think it sounds crazy, but you need to think of the ceiling as if it’s the fifth wall.
Installing it there gives the space a very cozy vibe and really elevates the overall design. I think ceilings almost always get overlooked in any space, and this is an unusual but fun way to draw your eye upward and create the illusion of a larger space. “The ceiling was our chance to be brave and bold, without becoming a distraction to the adjacent spaces,” says Interior Designer Lori Paranjape.
Another great idea I’ve seen emerging in the design world is adding wallpaper to stair risers. They are often typically just solid wood or painted white they’re not already covered in carpet. However, adding paper to them creates a fun and unexpected pop of color for an otherwise forgotten part of the home. In addition, it amplifies the division between the bottom floor and the upstairs.
In the design world, wallpaper is often thought of as the jewel of the room. Designers love to incorporate it into a room because it can add color and much-needed texture to an otherwise ordinary space. Beth Kooby, interior designer at Beth Kooby Design in Atlanta is pumped that wallpaper is trending again. She shared, “I’ve been using wallpaper with gusto for several years now, and it’s such an easy way to inject character into a space.
I’m also a big fan of grasscloth as it not only adds color but texture as well.” Grasscloth wallpaper is really versatile to work with. It’s a great choice for people who want to see the texture on the walls but are not too crazy about prints.
I love using grasscloths in a bedroom or living room design. Depending on the style of decor, it can create a sophisticated feel or a more relaxed, beach-like vibe. The beauty of using a grasscloth in a room is it can make the walls disappear and the room appear like it is on a grander scale.
If you decide to pull the trigger and buy wallpaper, there are a few rules you should consider before you begin the installation. When you have patterned drapes on the windows or busy art on the walls, then you might want to opt for a subtle print or grasscloth paper. If you are a maximalist, however, the more the pattern, the happier the homeowner. Make sure your walls are fully prepped and primed before hanging paper on them.
Be sure to measure correctly. This is where the pros sometimes have to step in. It can be a very expensive and time-consuming mistake if you don’t order the right amount of wallpaper. I’ve had clients guess and then when the time comes to hang, the patterns don’t line up properly because they didn’t order enough paper.
It’s very important to consider the repeated pattern because you want to line it up with each layer as you go. Consider the quality of the paper you are about to purchase, because, like all things, wallpaper doesn’t last forever. You want to make sure it has good-quality adhesive and a surface that is easy to clean once installed.
At the end of the day, you want to enjoy the process and keep it fun. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons, but ultimately, the addition of wallpaper will bring more color and certainly a whole lot more interest to your home. The ideas are limitless.