Wallpaper: In or Out?

If you haven’t noticed wallpaper trending across interior design over the last few years, you haven’t been paying close attention! It’s funny, the reaction you get from people as a designer when you suggest wallpaper to them. More times than not, people associate wallpaper with some dated floral print their grandparents had all over their house. Maybe with age, the wallpaper developed a funny odor or you recall some heinous matching upholstery pieces. Bottom line is, most millennials get a bad taste in their mouth when they think about wallpaper. So why is wallpaper trending again today?

There is no question that wallpaper is the type of thing that goes in and out of style. Just like the many pairs of denim jeans in your closet, one second cropped is in, and the next second they’re out. But, as we all know too well from experience, if we wait long enough, the trends that made sense once before will eventually surface again. I know many of you out there may find this hard to believe, but wallpaper is one of those trends!


Why Wallpaper?

There is a reason wallpaper became stylish in the first place… and no it’s not because entire generations of people before us all shared in having poor design taste. Wallpaper, regardless of your personal feelings on it, has the power to transform a room much differently than that of paint. Offering texture from various textile materials, wallpaper can add dimension and warmth to a room, that is cohesive and truly brings the space to life.

I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you have been in rooms with wallpaper and haven’t even noticed it at all. I say that because while some wallpaper can opt to be bold and in your face, other wallpaper can be so simple that its barely noticeable if you don’t know to look for it. Whatever the type, I believe there is “a home” out there where each style of wallpaper belongs. It all just depends on the type of design you are looking to achieve.


Use, Don’t Abuse!

Now before I go any further, I want to stress that some rooms don’t call for wallpaper and are much better suited for paint. It is very possible to achieve dimension, warmth and even texture with paint. I personally LOVE wallpaper, but I also LOVE paint! The good news is, most homes have room for both!

In my book, wallpaper is a special tool that designers and homeowners can and should use both carefully and purposefully. If done correctly, it will almost always give a room the little something extra it needs, but if you get too carried away, it can just as quickly turn a room on its head.

That being said, the key to using wallpaper correctly is identifying how you want the completed space to feel when all is said and done. It’s a determination that must be established before any design decisions can begin to be made. This will not only help you use wallpaper correctly, but it will further act as your guide in making other difficult design decisions down the road.

What do I mean by this? Well, let’s say you are having trouble choosing between two beautiful sofas (they are both the same price and color, just slightly different styles)… how should you decide? Well, I always like to ask myself, which one of these two sofas best contributes back to my overall goal of making my room feel the way I want it to feel? More times than not, repeatedly bringing your design decisions back to your initial aspirations for the space will prevent you from veering too far off course mid design and most likely leave you pleased with the final outcome.


Buyer Beware

Truth be told, good wallpaper can be expensive. It’s also a bit of a pain to install and a little extra work to have it removed. I still stand strong that, in the right space, it’s totally worth it! Still, to be 100% transparent, here are some potential challenges you’ll want to watch out for when it comes to wallpaper:

  1. Make sure to prep your walls before installation (walls that aren’t properly smoothed beforehand can lead to poor installation results).
  2. Wallpaper is sold in rolls (or double rolls) and can have complicated pattern repeats. Be sure to do you research on how much you will need before placing any orders. I highly recommend using online wallpaper calculators if you have never ordered wallpaper before (or even just to triple check your math)!
  3. Installing wallpaper yourself can be a major headache. Keeping it level, matching end seams, picking the right adhesives… there is a lot to keep in mind. My suggestion, leave it to the professionals (they can also help you with making sure your walls are properly prepped and advise you in how many rolls to order)!
  4. Do your research on the type of materials your wallpaper is made out of,  certain materials will be more prevalent to stains and harder to clean.


My Favorite Brands

Of course I would never leave you guys without sharing some of my “go-to” wallpaper brands! This list ranges from wallpapers that are super affordable and easily ordered online (see left column) to ones a bit more high end and only sold to the trade (see right column). I love and use each for different reasons… which brand catches your eye?

Looking to order from one of these brands that only sells direct to the trade? Email me at info@linniejames.com or comment on this post and I’ll be happy to help out!

xx Linnie

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  1. Very interesting post Linnie, thanks for sharing. I agree that wallpapering a room can create a superb look, but only if the colour, design and layout suits. The strips of wallpaper that characterised older houses seem to have given way to papering entire walls, which to me looks much cleaner and more modern. Wallpapering will never go out of fashion for long, really.

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