It’s OK to use wallpaper again.

Wallpaper. Yes, Its Back.

No, don’t go running. Don’t scoff, don’t turn up your nose. Wallpaper is back. In a VERY big way, and if you dismiss it out of hand, you are missing something really cool in home decor these days.

No chickens, no sunflowers, no howling coyotes. Lots of beautiful prints and lots and lots of texture. And, surprisingly, borders are not dead and forgotten, either. They have been re-tooled and are being used as the bridge between upper and lower papers on a feature wall.

So, we know that good decorating is all about making your space calm, relaxing, functioning and comfortable. Textured paper on all four walls helps set a mood and a feel much more in-depth than paint. Remember grasscloth? It’s back, but the colors are different, the textures are more refined and varied, and the prices range from ‘faux’ grasscloth at the big box store to Imports which remind us that if we have to ask the price, it’s out of our price range.

Big florals and botanicals are leaping out of the pages. Big as in 30-40 inch repeats. Prints which will make you believe you are sitting in a jungle. Or a flower garden. Or a wind-swept  field of lavender or wheat.

They keep coming back because they are timeless.

Remember the big leaf paper on the walls of the Beverly Hills Hotel? You’ve seen it in tons of movies. It’s called ‘Martinique.’ It was designed for the hotel in 1949 and has been on the walls ever since. The company which produces the paper, CW Stockwell,  has re-introduced it this year as part of an updated collection of timeless large prints.

Craftsman styled homes are as popular now as ever, and the iconic papers from William Morris, “Bird with Pomegranate,” “Acanthus” and “Willow Boughs ”  fit into today’s design styles, just as they did when they were designed in the 1870s.

bird with pomegranate wallpaper
willow boughs wallpaper


Those of us of a certain age went through the ‘faux’ painting era. It was difficult. I admit I took it so far as to stone-paint some curtain rods. But faux is back, too, but this time the faux is fantastically reproduced on wallpaper. A  concrete wall by Piet Boon looks exactly like the real thing. Or what about leather? Yup, faux leather for your walls.

piet boon wallpaper

There was a time when the curtain fabric was replicated as upholstery fabric and wallpaper. It got to be a bit much because these rooms seemed to overwhelm, probably due to the often garish colorways. But the new collections of paper and fabric are so well done they really do give the impression of a living space. Like House of Hackney’s Palmeral Luxury collection.  I surprised myself when I saw a room done in this collection and stopped, thinking, ‘I LIKE this.’

palmeral collection

Everything is easier.

And one of the best things about the  ‘new’ papers is the ease of application and removal. Some are even re-useable, so home ownership isn’t a pre-requisite to considering wallpaper. And you can also have a paper custom-printed. Yes, YOU can design a paper; use a drawing your child made, or a collection of photographs, or a wildflower painting your best friend gifted you. It’s limitless. 

Up your decorating game — look at this.

House Beautiful is one of my favourite shelter magazines, has been for a long time. I admit they were a bit stuffy, but I loved the traditional rooms they featured.. they have changed their focus a bit, and now also have a fabulous Facebook presence.  This month’s issue is all about color. Beige and Gray move over. ( No, you don’t have to leave —  just move over.)

Their April cover:

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7 thoughts on “It’s OK to use wallpaper again.”

  1. Love the texture and timelessness of grasscloths and the fun of the new faux papers! And that they are easier to remove? That’s the biggest selling point for anyone that has scraped off layers in an old house like an archeological dig!

  2. I really missed wallpaper. I secretly missed the large botanical and Jacobean prints of the 80’s. Not that that particular style is back, it’s just that look had a richness to it. Grasscloth and large prints are my favorites right now.

  3. I’m glad it’s back too. I am SOOOO tired of plain. I think our lives need some colour right now.

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