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From Start To Furnish

Please enjoy my musings on all things interior design!

Wallpaper is Back!


We’re not talking about the digital background on your favorite electronic device.  This is the stuff of beautiful texture, pattern and color adorning the walls of your home or work place like nothing else can.  The proper term is wall covering, as today numerous materials are used other than just paper that make these products so much more aesthetically pleasing as well as durable.  Actually wallpaper has never been “out”.  It got a bad rap back in the ‘80’s from tiresome prints and difficult removal. The removal should not be difficult if the walls are properly prepared prior to hanging and using a professional to hang it will save lots of woe. 

A little history

The history of wallpaper dates back to the ancient Chinese who pasted rice paper to their walls.  After the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, wallpaper became vogue in England and France.  In the 18th century French engraver Jean-Michel Papillon, considered the inventor of wallpaper, designed it with repeating patterns. We can thank Plunket Fleeson for bringing wallpaper production to America in 1739.  With the advent of machine printing, wallpaper became common in the Victorian era and at some point became thought of as a cheap imitation of more expensive materials.  William Morris is one of the best know wallpaper designers, conceptualizing natural patterns in the styles of Art Nouveau and English Arts & Crafts, however Morris’ designs were a hand-printed luxury. After World War II plastics revolutionized the industry.  Vinyl papers with their superior cleaning and durable characteristics brought wallpaper out of the home and into office buildings and health care facilities where they are still favored over paint.  During the minimalist modern years, wallpaper became less popular although still a must-have for the discerning.  Grasscloth wall covering, fashionable in the 1970’s, has returned with more colors and textures, and is among the most popular materials today.  Another setback for wallpaper was the excess of faux painting.  Faux painting is an art and thusly should be left to artists, but novice Michelangelos tried their hand at it unsuccessfully to an over-saturation of humbling mediocre attempts.  Its eternal appeal will always have a place in certain applications, but only if it is exceptionally done by a master.

Better than ever

As we know is the case with all worthy fashion, everything comes back around.  Once again consumers are embracing the advantages of wallpaper’s practical beauty and are given numerous more choices from which to choose.  Aside from the stunning prints available, the textures of today’s papers are amazing.  Delight your tactile sense with raised paint, beads, cork, mica, glitter, folds, weaves…the variety is endless.  Seeing and feeling is believing.  

Take the plunge

Fancy the uses of wallpaper.  A patterned paper from traditional damasks to contemporary geometrics is the perfect stimulant in an otherwise dull powder or bath room.  Texture subtly renders a large room more inviting.    Do it right this time with the proper prep and the assistance of professionals and you will fall in love all over again.  If you find your surroundings uninspiring, wallpaper could provide the allure it’s lacking.