Wallpaper Revival

By Julia Dilworth

Lately in the world of interior design, it seems you can’t swing a throw pillow without running into the historically disgraced staple of grandmother’s past — wallpaper.

Infamous for blanketing homes in atomic patterns of green, orange and brown, could this former paper pariah actually be staging a comeback?

“In higher-end design, wallpaper could borrow a classic line from LL Cool J: ‘Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years,’” says Jennifer Scott, interior designer and co-founder of design firm A Good Chick To Know.

Photo courtesy of agoodchicktoknow.com

It may have never left, but this wall treatment has definitely changed its tune.

And to catch us up on wallpapering in the modern age, A Good Chick To Know (made up of Jennifer Scott and Megan Baker) took Décor Addict to interior design school on the following:

What is distinguishing wallpaper now from its (shudder) past?

As we see wallpaper grow within the modern mainstream design communities, we see a lean toward bolder, more colourful uses. Today, the paper is actually being treated as a form of artwork within spaces, rather than simply a wall application. Graphic, modern prints in high-contrast colours seem to be most popular right now.

What are some of the hottest wallpaper styles?

Our faves are ones that reference the midcentury popularity, either in pattern or colour, but with a modern twist. Another top style that we’re stoked to use is a stunning multi-colour ombré that looks like a defibrillator screen — it’s awesome! There are also companies that allow you to design your own wallpaper. You send them a pattern file and they print to the appropriate size and paper. Personalized design is huge right now, so we see this trend of design-it-yourself papers being increasingly popular.

What are the benefits of using wallpaper?

The biggest benefit of opting for wallpaper over other treatments is texture. You just can’t achieve that tactile sense with paint. Whether it’s a woven fabric or a vinyl, papers offer a temptation to touch and feel the design that allows people to be interactive. That’s way more fun.

Is this stuff fussy to use? Or could any novice Décor Addict pull it off?

We suggest sourcing a great wallpaper hanger if you decide to try out the trend; we’ve done it on our own and so do many other people, but it is a little messy (whether you are opting for pre-pasted or not) and some papers can be quite delicate. For us, it just isn’t worth ruining the paper or misaligning it, because once it dries, you can’t alter it.

How is wallpaper on the all-important budget?

The cost doesn’t need to be high — the range in price is massive (from $30 per roll to into the thousands per roll). We usually play with papers ranging around $80 to $150 per roll, because it’s a cost-effective, playful addition to many projects. At that price, papers are of good quality and durability and offer fun, fresh patterns that suit our style.

Photo courtesy of agoodchicktoknow.com

Photo courtesy of agoodchicktoknow.com

How do you feel about wallpaper’s cousin, the stencil?

That depends on what type of stencil you mean. We’re all about the hard stencils that you use to spray paint typographic elements with — we just did hot pink lettering on stairs in a loft and it was super fun; however, we’re not really loving the stick-on stencils or decals that have been popular in recent years. It’s money better spent to go for a more permanent wall covering, one that won’t peel away or look too ‘crafty.’ While it might seem intimidating to take the plunge into a permanent paper, it will achieve a far superior end result and really, if you get sick of it in a few seasons, paper over it.

What tips do you have for those timid to wallpaper?

Ease yourself into it and start with a much smaller space: many homes have unexpected little nooks that are fun to wallpaper, especially if you use a bright or bold pattern. Awkward small spots are given strength and confidence when intentionally brought to the forefront and wallpaper is a great way to do that. Think of an office nook in a closet, which we see a lot of in this age of super-small spaces, with a strong wallpaper to ground it and make it feel more substantial than it actually is. Bathrooms and powder rooms are also a fun place to take your first steps into the world of wallpaper: they are small enough that it’s not a huge design or financial commitment, but it can offer up a huge impact. At the end of the day, wallpaper is a fun element to design and you should have fun playing with it.

You can find more tips from the talented chicks Jenn and Megan by heading to agoodchicktoknow.com.


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