The Wallpaper Revival

By Tess Wittler

Five years ago, if you’d Googled “wallpaper trends” you’d probably not come up with much – wallpaper was still passé. It conjured up images of 1950s suburbia or a drawing room from the Victorian era.

But today, you no longer need to wonder “Is wallpaper in style?” because it is everywhere – bigger, bolder and more unique than ever before! There are several reasons why wallpaper is back and being used in interior design.

The Wallpaper Appeal

The appeal for wallpaper has blossomed in the last few years, and it is showing no signs of withering away. “The interesting aspect about wallpaper today is that there isn’t one overriding trend,” explains Lorrie Hochuli, Interior Designer for Hochuli Design & Remodeling Team, LLC. “There is so much variety available that it really allows us to show off our personality and customize our homes.”

Gone are the subtle prints and colors. Wallpaper today is often big, bold and bright. Mary DeWalt, CMP, MIRM, President of Mary DeWalt Design Group, explains that she feels the resurgence in wallpaper is tied to another trend rebirth – Bohemian décor – a perfect blend of eclectic and fun.

According to Lita Dirks, CEO, Lita Dirks & Co., LLC, one of the reasons why wallpaper is such a hot trend is because “wallpaper adds comfort and warmth into our spaces. For so many years, we had such simple, clean designs – almost naked – and now people want to bring design character and personality back into their homes.”

Graphic wallpaper adds big personality to this powder room. Photo credit: Beechwood Homes

Dirks notes that the resurgence is occurring in two main areas: texture and drama.

Taken literally, textured papers create a focal point backdrop to a simpler, cleaner look. “Textured wallpapers add another sense to a room – touch – where you can feel the grass cloth, velvet or leather on the walls,” says Dirks. These papers add a tremendous amount of warmth and character to a space.

Texture can also be created by the wallpaper pattern itself. Natural stone, greenery and geometric shapes will add a splash of color and dimension to a room.

Additionally, wallpaper can add drama. Whether an entire wall is papered or simply framed out, these huge images add the element of fun back into a home. “Whatever the imagery is, it’s bolder than life – wonderful large wallpaper patterns of leaves, flowers or geometric shapes,” explains Dirks.

This wallpaper, creatively framed, provides pizzazz to this great room accent wall.
Photo credit: Continental Properties

In fact, that’s one of the greatest appeals of wallpaper for many consumers – the unlimited possibilities of choices. Wallpaper is now printed digitally, so one-of-a-kind designs can be created. Dirks notes, “In the past, designing your own wallpaper was too pricey for most consumers, but technology has made this option affordable.”

Another benefit to today’s wallpaper is that it no longer must be permanent – or at least long-term – as once was the case. According to Hochuli, “Wallpaper is much easier to remove, and for that reason, you’ll see more wallpaper being used in rental properties and dorm rooms.”

Modern Wallpaper Designs for Today’s Homes

Where is wallpaper being used? Perhaps the better question is, where isn’t it being used? Here are some places wallpaper is trending within the walls of our homes:

  • In smaller spaces, such as an office nook or powder room, where larger prints of traditional four-wall wrap expand the perceived square footage.
  • On focal point walls, particularly in bedrooms, where personality can be added with paper.
  • In hallways, which are being wainscoted with textured, or embossed, wallpaper.
  • On large walls, where wallpaper can serve as tapestry or art. Mural-styled wallpaper is also seeing a resurgence.
  • On staircase risers, for a subtle flair — or go bold by wallpapering the entire stairwell.
  • On ceilings, particularly in dining rooms and studies.
  • On open shelving, whether it is in the kitchen or on a bookcase.

Wallpaper as art allows this space to sing. Photo credit: Beechwood Homes

Strategic Wallpaper Applications for Builders

While many builders aren’t always keen on using wallpaper their model homes, there are ways to strategically add it to create memory points throughout. Bathrooms, dining room ceilings and focal point walls are always a great application for wallpaper without overdoing it.

DeWalt offers this strategy, “Because inventory homes often sit, a builder should get creative and use wallpaper to wow customers. Consumers love wallpaper … inventory [homes] would move much quicker with a few strategic placements than those with plain white walls.”

What’s next for wallpaper? Only time will tell – but it looks like this modern wallpaper trend is just getting started, and we’ll see even more creative prints, textures and applications in the coming year.



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