It’s Not Your Grandmother’s Wallpaper

Wallpaper, or wallcovering, is making a comeback in home and office interiors. And your grandmother may not believe the new ways you can add drama, energy, texture, shine, nature, or other sophisticated touches to any room. Modern wallpaper designs that look like fabric, wood, brick, natural stone, cement or metal are just a few of the striking interior decorating trends that are increasingly being seen in wallcoverings.

Today’s patterns include just about anything you can imagine. Thanks to digital printing, wallpaper designers are able to stretch their creative vision such that you can add images of ancient art, contemporary crafts, historical events, favorite places or other inspirations to your room décor in a unique way.  Wallcovering can become not the just the backdrop, but an integral part of the design scheme itself.

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Every wall is a blank canvas, and wallpaper can make it art.  Adding some unexpected textures and bold patterns can add a creative spark and create a more dynamic space, giving your room a layered look that draws the eye around. Try creating one accent wall with wallpaper. A large-scale wallpaper design will be more like an exclamation than an accent.

Powder rooms can provide a great space for wallpaper. When used on the ceiling with crown molding, it can add great architectural detail.  Lining the back of bookshelves can be another decorative use for wallpaper.

If you have bad memories of tearing off old wallpaper and you are worried about what happens if you tire of it and may want to remove it, fear not. Today’s wallpapers are so much easier to deal with. There are even temporary wallpapers that you can pull off and you only have to wipe the wall beneath with a damp sponge.

York Wallcoverings, for example, has converted all of their collections to prepasted Sure Strip Wallpaper that is “completely removable guaranteed.”  Once installed, it can be easily removed from walls after years of hanging with nothing left behind.  It comes off in just one strip!  This is great for those of you who had that bad experience trying to remove old wallpaper like I have!

As a child, were you ever told not to touch the walls?  Why not have a wall that invites touching? Grasscloth is one type that was popular in the 70s, but today’s versions have a more refined look and may even have fine metallic threads woven into them.  Available in a variety of colors and textures, grasscloth can be woven into just about any design concept, it even gives you the option of creating your own patterns and designs by simply cutting it into the shapes and sizes you want.  It also is eco-friendly since it is produced from natural elements.

            Other textured wallpapers include recycled wood, glass and sand; embellishments with embroidery, crystals, metallics-- even hammered metal discs.  Tactile and visually rich, these accents add texture without distraction, glamour without glitz.

            Also fun to the touch are the shimmering wallpapers made with specialty inks that create luminous shades of copper, bronze, silver, platinum, gold and brass.

            Today’s flocks are another wallpaper grandma won’t recognize. While it was a luxury product at the turn of the century, flock descended into a cliché by the late 1970s, when most was made of brittle viscose rayon. Now, flock designs made of velvety-soft fade-resistant nylon and incorporate a wide variety of materials that are flocked onto the surface making for walls that provide dimensional interest.

            Whether you use the term wallpaper or wallcovering as you are looking for new decorating ideas, you will find a fantastic range of materials, the opportunity to reflect your personality and interests, and numerous ways to make your space special and meaningful.

Submitted by Cheryl Smith, Decorating Den Interiors, (973) 701-0550,