If you’ve looked through a decorating magazine or two lately, you’ve probably seen wallpaper. Lots and lots of wallpapers, covering nearly every area imaginable, from accent walls and hallways to bathrooms, bedrooms and those Instagram-worthy home offices.
The trend is most certainly evident at Kreatelier, a fabric and home goods store on Providence’s Hope Street. When owner Line Daems expanded the shop last year, she concealed counters, walls, boxes, shelves, back rooms
and countless other spaces in wall coverings and created a corner where
customers can browse different models.
She started seeing wallpaper return about four or five years ago, but it’s really started to pick up in the past two years — a rise she attributes to people stuck at home during the pandemic.
“During COVID, everyone was home,” she says. “You needed to be around something that made you happy.”
It’s not the musty florals and boring patterns you might remember from the 60s, 70s and 80s: today’s styles can be simple or textured, natural or synthetic, bold or serene. Legacy brands like Morris and Co. and Schumacher bring back classic designs with updated colors: think dragons with pops of magenta and florals in moody eggplant and onyx hues.
Customers use it most as an accent wall to make a room stand out, Daems says, but she also sees it used in bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens and small bathrooms. Some workplaces and restaurants use designs that mimic the look of stone, concrete or steel, adding texture and contrast to a space for a fraction of the cost.
You can even have an entire wall made out of clouds or trees, or a beach scene, or have a favorite photo turned into a wallcovering if you want.
Janelle Blakely Photopoulos, owner and artistic director of Blakely Interior Design in North Kingstown, has been using wallpaper in their designs for some time, but has seen usage skyrocket over the past three to four years.
In fact, the only resistance she’s seen comes from husbands who remember the frustration of having her removed years ago. (Don’t worry – today’s materials make wallpaper easier to remove than in the past.)
She sees it mostly used in bathrooms and bedrooms. Bathrooms, she says, are a perfect place to be bold. “It’s a great space to have a touch of personality,” she says. “You can really be bold in a small room like this.”
For the best effect, patterns should stand on their own in one room, she says, and not bleed into another room or hallway.
“We love using wallpaper, but it’s important to balance intensity, boldness, and saturation of color value in a room’s selections,” says Blakely Photopoulos. “You don’t want crazy patterns from room to room – you want your eyes to rest a bit.”
Technology is constantly changing, she says. Today’s wallcoverings are still available in classic materials like grasscloth, and in new formulations woven with cork, recycled newspapers and vinyl, which work especially well in humid spaces like bathrooms. baths.
“There are no real rules,” Daems says. “It’s design freedom – you can do whatever you want.”
Classics with a twist
Adler’s design and hardware center in Providence has been in business for more than a century and has been carrying wallpaper for most of that time, co-owner Harry Adler jokes.
“We always kept it in stock,” he says.
The main difference is that today’s offers are bolder, make from a range of materials, and work with fabrics, paints and accessories.
“We’re seeing fabric-matching wallpaper again,” says Deborah Jones, interior designer (one of four) at Adler’s. “It’s quite wonderful.”
You can wallpaper a room or just one wall, she says, and match drapes or shades to create a welcoming and restful space.
“It’s a way of wrapping the room in this cozy and beautiful cocoon,” she says. “We are all looking today for a kind of cocoon; we all need a place to retreat.
One trend she sees is the use of traditional wallpaper rugsterns in historic homes, but with new color palettes and unexpected textures. Brands like Sanderson and Morris and Co. are particularly popular, she says.
Want to dare? Drape your ceiling in a bold design. If you’re not so brave, Jones suggests starting with something small, like an entryway or a shelf, to dip your toes into the world of wallpaper.
She compares choosing wallpaper to a research project: you really have to do your homework and see what will look best in your home.
“Don’t just go by how something looks on Instagram,” she says. “Come see him in person. Seeing something online doesn’t do it justice.
And don’t try to go it alone. You may have been able to wallpaper a room yourself in the 80s or 90s, but today’s patterns are complicated. Everyone we spoke to for this story had one main piece of advice: having a professional installer measure, prep and install your wallpaper is the best way to go.