If the painful lead image for this article is what immediately comes to mind when you think of wallpaper, you aren't alone. Most of the time when I suggest wallpaper to a client the response I get is a scrunched-up look on the face, followed by a "Really? Wallpaper?"
Designers love to specify wallcoverings, but their clients are often the ones burdened with the task of removing them when it's time to change it out for something new. I understand this though because I've been there too. In the trenches, armed with a steamer, a scraper, chemical strippers, and endless tedious hours spent removing someone else's taste from my walls. But here's the truth; if you properly prep and seal the walls with a quality sizing product [like Zinsser] before you put paper up, it can be VERY easy to remove. Because I know this to be true, I have no fear of wallpaper, and you shouldn't either. But are you a pattern person?
There are people who dismiss the idea of wallcoverings because they're "busy". I would rather say that it's a matter of taste. I happen to think of quality wallcoverings as something that's very glamorous. So if pattern on the walls doesn't appeal to you in say the living room, try something bold and delicious in a powder room. I always say the smaller the room, the bigger the drama! Patterns, motifs, and color trends do change, so you'll naturally want to change them out every so many years, but keep in mind that the classics never go out of style! Think of it this way; you're always changing, constantly evolving, right? If you're home is an extension of YOU, shouldn't it get to try something new on for size every once in awhile?
I LOVE FLAVOR PAPER! Based in Brooklyn, New York these are truly "boutique-y" artisan papers. It's definitely bold, statement-making stuff, and it's super cool. Most designer wallcoverings are on the pricier side, but you have to keep in mind that they're crafted by hand the old fashioned way through a screen blocking process, one color at a time.
No less bold, but more traditional is the divinity of DESIGNERS GUILD. They take traditional motifs like damasks and English florals and make them fresh by following and anticipating color trends. By the way they also make the most exquisite textiles!
Yes, this man is wearing Wallpaper. But why? He's Bruce Bradbury, founder of Bradbury & Bradbury, a small hand-printing studio in the San Francisco bay area that specializes in reproduction prints of both Victorian and Arts & Crafts Movement wallcoverings. When I was in design school I did a research project/presentation on them, and I'll never forget how kind and helpful they were in providing me with information and materials. By the way, the following images feature composite installations. Each element in these projects has to be trimmed by hand, and then applied individually to achieve these amazing and dramatic installations. Normally I would say that "borders" will not be tolerated under any circumstances, but this company does not make borders, they screen print masterpieces. More recently, they have introduced a wonderful Modernism collection that features patterns from the 50's & 60's
Okay, I saved my favorite type of wallcovering for last, grasscloth. It's so elegant and super chic to me, transcending all genres of design. Whether your style is traditional, modern, or a mix of both, woven wallcoverings add sophistication and warmth to any room. I personally try use it in at least one room on every project, and have used it myself extensively.
Just about every manufacturer of wallcoverings has a grasscloth collection, but THYBONY has one of the biggest selections with many sample books to choose from. Follow the link below, or visit you local wallpaper store and ask for Thybony Grasscloths.