Add some flair with today's modern wallpapers
When you think of wallpaper, what comes to mind? When I was 9 years old, we moved into a new house; new to us, that was… the house definitely gave evidence of its former owners with its wall-to-wall shag carpeting, and dark 1970s wallpaper. I remember experiencing a “wallpaper removal party” that consisted of numerous adults, buckets of water with dripping wet paint rollers, and lots of putty knives. It was a tough, messy job, but someone had to do it! After all the hours of soaking and scraping, up in its place, went the prettiest pale pink and green wallpaper I’d ever seen, wrapping around the open dining room/living room floor plan. In retrospect, it was like the inside of a bowl of frosting, with its streaks of pastels and thick texture. But, hey, it was 1987 and between the wallpaper and the chintz sofa, our new house soon felt like a page out of a magazine!
Huge, pictorial tapestries were the inspiration behind the invention of wallpaper in the 1700s. Colorful and intricate, they warmed up the stone walls of the elite class. But, they were expensive. The first wallpaper gave the less-wealthy elite a more affordable option. The wallpaper was sometimes hung in loose strips on the wall (just like tapestries), and was sometimes pasted to the wall (similar to today). With the development of steam-power printing in the 1800s, the availability and affordability of wallpaper spread to the working class as an easy way to brighten up their small, dark living quarters.
Wallpaper rollers were used to transfer the images onto the paper. Each wooden roller would have its own design with a corresponding ink color, eg green leaves pattern, and was then rolled onto the paper via a four-color print machine. We sometimes come across these antique rollers and list them in our Etsy shop. They are beautifully sculptural on their own, with faded traces of the old ink, and some people make them into lamp bases.
Wallpaper has gone through surges in popularity over the years, and has reemerged recently in the most beautiful, modern designs. The wallpaper books at paint stores seem to be sticking to the 1990s classics, so don’t start there for inspiration. You can find fresh, relevant styles online… Here are a few of our favorites:
Rifle Paper Co. - Peonies (in Pale Blue, but we love the Copper)
Note how one small wall of paper makes this entryway pop! Only the practicality of a clock is added to the wall; the artwork is in the paper…
Etsy is a great source for modern wallpapers from around the world, especially removable ones! These are a great option for rentals, since there’s no wallpaper glue. The paper peels off just like a sticker, leaving no residue or damage. Total heart eyes for this design by Etsy shop: patternsCOLORAY.
A nursery is the perfect spot to add something special… You can play it safe with monochromatic or metallic geometric prints, or make it magical with something a little more storybook. We love this image for its playful, imaginative quality! And the color palette gives you plenty of options for keeping it neutral or swinging it more masculine or feminine. Enchanted Forest Mural - www.anthropologie.com
We often get asked about our wallpaper (on the front left side of the store). A great balance of modern and rustic, it’s neutral enough for almost any space - large or small!
Cole & Sons - Woods
So, don’t be afraid! Start with a simple Pinterest search like “modern wallpaper” or “nursery wallpaper,” choose your little spot (the smaller the wall, the more dramatic the effect!), and let your creative juices bubble over...