People ask me fairly frequently, especially those who were homeowners in the ‘80’s: “Is wallpaper coming back?” My answer is always, “Wallpaper never left!” The problem is, when the home fashion world gets ahold of or promotes a trend it can suddenly become all the rage and people will move heaven and earth to get their hands on however much of the item is required to be secured into the “socially acceptable” category.
This is precisely what happened with wallpaper. It was grossly overused for several years to the point where folks never wanted to see the stuff ever again, which is sad, because…
There, I said it. I love the stuff and always have. Years ago in my hometown in Minnesota, some enterprising family took a vintage farmhouse near my home and turned it into a “store” for the Habersham Plantations brand of furniture and lifestyle, and it was absolutely lovely.
Wallpaper, draperies, fine furniture, accessories; it was the most gorgeous thing my 20 year-old self had ever seen. I was familiar with the home; a classmate of mine had grown up in the house, and I was stunned by the difference that the rich design elements had made in changing the atmosphere of it. It was long ago and I never forgot the impression it made.
But the element that I remembered most (and the topic of discussion here) is the wallpaper. It made the wall surfaces softer and more inviting, like fabric. It added a layer to the rooms that enhanced the other furnishings. It complemented artwork and accessories. It just made the house seem more alive and lent it personality that it would not have had otherwise.
So how did all these homeowners end up disliking it so much? It could be summed up in a word: overkill. If a little is good, a ton of it is even better, right?
Not in this case. Wallpaper has proven over the years to be best used in selected ways in specific spaces, so what sort of rooms benefit most from wallpaper, and which rooms should I use it in?
You can use wallpaper in:
Dining Rooms: one of my favorite spots for wallpaper. You can get away with a lot more drama in dining rooms, since you rarely use them and when you do, it’s an event (guests over for dinner, holidays, etc.) Use more dynamic paper in this space or even murals or scenes.
Front hallways/foyers/stairwells: an excellent design statement as guests come in the front door. Or a boost of endorphins for you if your favorite paper is what greets you every day when you come in from picking up the kids. Use a moderately-sized pattern here (not small and safe) for best impact.
Half-baths: yes, yes, yes. Half-baths can be like little jewel-boxes. You can have a bit of design fun here with color and pattern because you’re generally not in there for more than 5 minutes, so you can go a little wild.
Guest rooms: Again, these are not often used and wallpaper can cozy up a space and add interest and softness as well as the thickest quilt. Your guests will love it.
Where Not To Use It?
Generally only ONE PLACE, and that place is the bathroom. During the Era of Wallpaper Craze, the bathroom was a favorite place for people to use it. Steam can and usually does loosen wallpaper and the bathroom can be a disastrous place to hang it. No wonder folks began to hate it, after repairing the curling edges of paper over and over again. No wallpaper in the bathroom, guys.
There are other fun and creative places to roll it on: nooks and crannies in old houses, your big new gorgeous dressing closet, the breakfast nook, your personal office space. Even kids’ rooms, although you may have to be cautious here: they can outgrow a style or theme very quickly. To add a signature look to your home, give wallpaper a try. For beautiful designer selections and expert help and advice, schedule a consultation today and let this be your year to get your living spaces where you want them to be: rich, inviting, and just your style.