Wallpaper: A Thing of the Past?

Since I’ve started working at the Design Studio, I’ve been thinking I’ve been wrong about wallpaper. I thought about all of the houses I’ve lived in with ugly dated wallpaper. (The ivy! The tea kettles! The trees! The borders of chickens!) I’ve also thought of how horribly difficult it is to remove it. The gel, the “Paper tiger” that scores the wall, the spray bottles, the sponges, and the scraping, scraping, scraping… Is it worth it? There are some really beautiful wallpapers out there that could possibly make it worth your while. And if you don’t venture towards something trendy and opt for something more neutral and subtle, you won’t have to try to remove it when it goes out of style.

The Ghost of Wallpapers Past:

Like many, this is what I think of when I think of Wallpaper. Nightmare!

Luckily for us, in the 21st century, time’s are a changing. Wallpaper isn’t covered in avocado colored patterns, fruit, and farm animals. No more bass swimming upstream, and calls of the wild. You can get gorgeous rich looking patterns to last well into the next decade. Environment and air friendly gels and pastes so your house doesn’t smell like a glue factory. You can even get peel and stick decals for the wall that can be easily removed so you renters can get your security deposit back. What’s better than that?

Simple Wallpapers:

This wallpaper is simple, subtle, and let’s the rest of the accessories speak for themselves.

This white and taupe wallpaper has a beautiful damask pattern and is neutral in color giving the furniture and decor a chance to pop. You can easily change and add accessories with color with a neutral wallpaper, instead of trying to accomadate a crazy pattern.

Candice Olson has some of my favorite wallpapers on the market. Clean, crisp in color, and hip in design. Some are a little bold, but wallpaper can be applied in small doses too, so it’s not a shock or overbearing in a whole room.

Wallpaper as an accent:

You can apply wallpaper in a closet for a fun little burst of color. Perfect for pretty pattern that may be overbearing for a whole room.

Why not put a wallpaper on the ceiling? You can get textured wallpapers to replicate a tin ceiling that are paintable to any color of your liking. I like this idea here, to put a cute pattern on a children’s room ceiling. When they are little, they do stare at the ceiling a lot. Why not give them something to look at?

Wallpapering one wall as an accent is a great idea to add dimension and depth to a small space. And easier to remove than a whole room.

Grasscloth Wallpaper:

Grasscloth is a textured, natural approach to wallpaper. Typically used as an accent, Grasscloth can be hard to clean and may look patch-work like on a large scale.

This grasscloth is applied to the top half of the room only as not to look overbearing The white trim and light furniture compliment the darker tones of the grasscloth.

 This darker grasscloth looks very earthy and natural with all of the other brown tones in the room. This picture shows how pieces of grasscloth don’t always line up, and can look like a large patch work quilt. Some would say it’s part of it’s charm.

Grasscloth close up. It has tons of texture, and character.

Textured and Statement making Wallpaper:

You can get wallpaper now a days with velvet, glitter, and even sparkles. But before you turn your place into Studio 54, here are a few other fun textured ideas.

Here’s that neat textured wallpaper for a ceiling I mentioned. Paintable, and great for a victorian remodel.

This wallpaper by Graham & Brown adds shine without adding too much flash. It’s obvious by looking at the furniture that the owner wanted a retro feel. Here you have retro glam, with style. And a definite conversation piece.

Reserving special wallpaper to a small space packs a bigger punch than the whole room. Like this picture, where it’s just above the fireplace.


Unlike forest and beach scenes of the past, Murals of modern are kitchy, and cool.

I pulled this adorable Mural off of Apartment Therapy’s site. It’s so cute, I would even use it, and I don’t have kids.

Murals in small spaces can act as a piece of art.

As you can see, wallpaper has transended time, and small spaces, to make a home feel warm, comfortable, glamourous, or kitchy. With so many great options out of the norm, why not choose wallpaper? With murals, textures, colors, and fun pictures, you can personalize any home. Even a rented one. Happy papering!

*I apologize to any photos I couldn’t site, for I’ve lost track of their location.


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