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Wallpaper Revival

Hello everyone! A few years, the mere mention of wallpaper could cause many people to suffer from horrendous 1980’s peach floral flashbacks. Yes, wallpaper was proclaimed dead in the wake of the modern pure painted wall. However, design almost always proves itself cyclical and that holds especially true for materials and techniques that have deep historical roots while also remaining open to evolution and fresh approaches. The last couple of years have showcased this trend shift and confirmed that wallpaper, full of modern patterns, striking finishes and unique applications, is indeed back at the forefront of design. From personal to retail use, this modern take on a surface classic is worthy of a second look. Let’s ponder! — Chloé

While visiting the Paboom pop-up shop in Vancouver this holiday season, I spied a fabulous tree wallpaper and noticed how well it fit the space. It was also intelligently placed as the seating area of the shop was in a dark corner with little natural light. The creation of just one small feature wall of print anchored the store’s decor and brought whimsy and brightness to the corner.

What’s different about this new approach to wallpaper? It is less focused on traditional patterns and classic finishes. From bold geometry to gradient effects to customizable drawing surfaces, the wallpaper revival is bold and full of modern design. One key to this trend’s success has been home decor and wallpaper companies partnering with notable designers to create buzzworthy and well-designed collections.

I have particularly noticed metallic wallpaper jumping to the trend forefront. The look can be dazzling and is particularly well suited for dark spaces. In a dim shop, a metallic feature wall facing a natural light source could bounce light around in rather helpful ways. Hologram foil, mixed with colour, elegant surfaces, bold prints – metallic effects are an intriguing facet of modern wallpaper.

Another noticed trend? The rise of textured wallpaper and tone-on-tone tactile patterns. I particularly love the look in pure white (how striking is that Braille wall?) Bold all-white patterns are popular too like the repeating bookshelf pattern above.

I’ve noticed wallpaper being used to mimic other building materials and while this can be a difficult look to pull off, it looks fantastic when done right. Who says you have to be stuck with the surfaces your shop or home came with? Marble, wood planks and concrete are just some of the modern ways architecture and wallpaper mingle.

While I like the look of entirely patterned rooms, one interior design approach I love lately is small but mighty wallpaper applications. Feature walls, dividers, nooks and crannies — a pop of pattern can really make a room or shop design.


image via ferm living

Yep, some wallpaper can require a lot of labour and money. One must also tangle with rent/lease agreements that forbid traditional wallpaper application. Perhaps that is why removable or repositionable wallpaper products are rising in popularity. Another great approach? Ferm Living sells sets of removable stickers that, when applied across a surface, mimic wallpaper without the hassle.

Wallpaper has such potential when it comes to styling, product photography and brand aesthetic. I love the look of a black and white backdrop for brightly coloured toys or wallpaper cut into unique shapes to create an artful furniture backdrop. Oh and what about a wallpaper background that mimics the pattern or theme of a collection?

Wallpaper can also be used brilliantly in retail interiors and product displays. Line some crates as shelving, make a striking set of stairs or create a patterned cupboard. Dressing rooms are fantastic nooks for modern wallpaper greatness.

A constantly evolving chalkboard backdrop, a giant photograph, 3D florals, a patterned ceiling, wallpaper made from newspaper or ornate sticker arrangements — wallpaper lends itself swimmingly to retail art installations.

Wallpaper on exteriors is slowly but surely stepping into the spotlight. Liberty of London used one of their signature florals to wrap an entire shop building. Wall & Decò has created an extensive exterior wallpaper collection (see more here). So much potential for creating bold looks and erasing unattractive walls and facades.

Wallpaper can be a time, effort and financial investment but its dazzling style potential can make it worth the leap of faith. Whether you choose to create subtle paper backdrops for your next product photo shoot or a bold geometric print feature wall, modern wallpaper is a evolving trend ripe for exploration. Until next time, I am off to ogle a pattern swatch book or two… — Chloé

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One Comment

  1. […] a new direction. Bold patterns and unique treatments have replaced the wallpaper of yesteryear. In my latest post for Rena Tom, I talk about the various elements of this wallpaper revival including the general […]

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