Banish the blank wall—wallpaper is making a comeback. Revived with a fresh, modern feel and stripped of its dated reputation, wallpaper is resurging as an interior design option. Done well, wall coverings work. Rich textures, daring graphic prints and glamorous flocked patterns are just a few of the myriad selections available.
When Kimberly Abel began decorating Laura and Jesse Daigle’s Southdowns home, she kept the couple’s streamlined aesthetic in mind. “Laura’s style is not trendy, so I went for a neutral, textured covering.” Abel papered the sitting room and the powder room in Phillip Jeffries designs.
“When wallpaper was first suggested, I was hesitant,” says Laura Daigle. “But I started looking closer at other people’s homes, and I noticed their textured wallpaper. I got comfortable with the idea.”
Today’s homeowners typically hesitate because they remember the wallpaper of yesteryear: garish color combinations riddled with busy prints. The backlash from bad wallpaper was fierce. Coverings were ripped down—not with ease—and paint has reigned supreme ever since.
Despite its dubious history, wallpaper is making a return in homes nationwide. In the South, grasscloth is a popular choice, as are tone-on-tone patterns and large prints in subdued hues. Even subtle metallics and opalescent wall coverings are re-emerging. “Homeowners are willing to take a chance again,” explains Mary Ellen LaPlace, showroom manager at Designer’s Market. “Of course, many still err on the traditional side. They’ll choose a familiar pattern that has been updated with contemporary color ways.”
Although few are likely to paper every vertical surface in sight, a well-chosen wallpaper can artfully transform a room. Look for this trend to ease back into kitchens, children’s bedrooms and powder rooms, among others.
“I’ve always thought of wallpaper as a great form of texture that can add warmth to any room,” says Abel. “I honestly don’t know why people stopped using it.”