I really haven’t seen anything in the design world make such a big comeback like wallpaper. Of course wallpaper (or some form of it) has been around for centuries and some will argue it never went out of style. However somewhere along the line it turned into the eighties style house from Home Alone, so people retreated. Then it became trendy again and a slew of new styles and patterns made it the go to accent for any room. When I had my first interior design job out of college six years ago, wallpaper seemed to be at the height of popularity. Almost every room got some treatment which seemed a bit overkill.
I still love wallpaper, but I think it tends to work best in small doses. When it is applied in very intentional settings it feels more special instead of becoming a cluttered sea of varying patterns. I know myself well enough to know I would be sick of a heavily wallpapered bedroom in six months. I always love looking at pretty patterns in photos, but I much prefer them in smaller settings like a little powder room or laundry room. These spaces don’t get changed up like a bedroom or a living room so it feels ok to go a little more vibrant.
I highly recommend using a professional installer for any type of paper. It can be quite tricky and if it gets ruined upon application you will be kicking yourself. You also want to make sure your walls are primed for wallpaper and that you are using the proper wall covering for the room. Any space that gets high moisture like a bathroom with a shower should have a vinyl paper or it can start to warp and peel over time.
design by Studio McGee
I have always loved the “jewel-box” idea of making a tiny powder room or small space more interesting with a really bold wallpaper. I am sure you have seen this done numerous times. It could be anything from a laundry room to a pantry, but bringing in a cool pattern or bright colors can offset an otherwise mundane space. I have long loved this Bay Area Toile or the Brooklyn version. Eventually when we are not renting I want to wallpaper at least one tiny room! I also get asked about peel and stick, specially for those of you renting that want to do something fun. I have no experience with this and it sounds like a nightmare, but again I am definitely not a DIYer and always find I mess stuff like that up and it never is how I envisioned. You could always try it out and if it doesn’t look great, just peel it off! Spoonflower has a lot of great patterns if you want to go that route.
source: Philip Jeffries
top image mural by Susan Harter