Site Information

  Loading... Please wait...

Free Local Delivery On Orders $699 and Up! | All prices Include Tax! | Easy Finance!

Furniture & Interior Design Blog

Is Wallpaper Back?

Posted by

Wait, Wallpaper? 

As they say, history always repeats itself.

The concept of wallpaper has been around for thousands of years. The concept became wildly popular in the early 1500’s as a way to spruce up your spaces when a simple coat of paint just wouldn’t do. In recent memory, wallpaper experienced a renaissance in the 1960’s and 70’s but died out in the last 30 years. However… it’s beginning to make a comeback… Again.

Vibrant colours, abstract patterns, new school production processes, and sophisticated prints are all playing their parts in bringing back the subtle art of hanging wallpaper to bring new life to a room in the house.

Wallpaper History 101

The Chinese were hanging decorative rice paper rolls on their walls for a couple of thousands of years already, before the Europeans started to play with the idea in the 16th century. England and France were leaders in European wallpaper manufacturing, with one of the earliest Euro representations found on the back of a London proclamation of 1509 and became wildly popular after King Henry VIII was excommunicated by the Catholic church - caused by Britain’s fall in trade agreements with the rest of Europe. The English had always imported tapestries, but with trade at a standstill, wallpaper became the next best thing.

The rule of Cromwell imposed a rather boring lifestyle of people, and so during the Protectorate, manufacturing wallpaper was halted. In the 18th century, wallpaper again experienced a fall from grace thanks to the Seven Years’ War and the Napoleonic Wars - huge import taxes were imposed on French goods so wallpaper became a scarce commodity.

Towards the end of the 18th century, landscape wallpaper popularity was revived in England and France by way of so-called Panoramic Papers - the largest of which being the 1804 20-strip wide panorama, Sauvages de la Mer du Pacifique - depicting the voyages of Captain Cook which resides in Massachusetts. Other panoramics soon were hung in the White House. The advancement of steam-powered printing processes in Britain allowed wallpaper to be mass produced at scale, and wallpaper soon enjoyed yet another boom as a way to spruce up rooms in poor neighbourhoods. These new renditions could be painted over, and washed, making them much more durable and practical.

By the 20th century, wallpaper was one of the most popular interior design touches, and big manufacturers like Sears featured designers like Andy Warhol. The 21st century saw wallpaper used as a lighting accessory - in that LED’s and digital printing processes were incorporated into some wallpapers from London-based Meystyle bringing a new level of popularity and use in both interior design and the world of fine art and installations.

Common Myths

People have resisted wallpaper over the years for many reasons. It became a symbol of the rich and powerful during the 15th-19th centuries, and as such was sought after by the middle and lower classes. When production processes opened the doors to these social groups, the penchant for wallpaper wore off quickly. But other factors besides societal perception and economy are also to play; there’s been myths circulating about wallpaper for decades.

First, a common misconception says that wallpaper is permanent… It’s not. Wallpaper can be removed in a variety of ways, and can always be replaced, or updated. Another common misconception in the modern day is that wallpaper is just too expensive - but modern design ideologies tell us that accent walls are great, inexpensive ways to jump on the wallpaper bandwagon.

Like all wall treatments, wallpaper requires that you prep a wall for installation. Just like priming a wall for paint, wallpaper needs its own primer. When this is done properly, removing wallpaper simply requires warm water, steam and a scraper. Further, it won’t damage the integrity of your walls if you take the time to prep the surface first.

Wallpaper is out of date? Not anymore. Will it be in 15 years? Perhaps - but who wants to live their life that way? Not us. From a renters perspective, wallpaper can be incredibly tasteless, so the desire to put up your own wallpaper or paint over it in a rented space can easily present itself - landlords will most likely ask you to refrain from putting up your own wallpaper because of the subjective nature of such specialized prints, patterns and colour palettes - but a purchase of Luan (cheap plasterboard that can be tacked up) provides a fresh canvas that can easily removed when you opt to move out.

How Wallpaper Was Used

Traditionally, wallpaper has been used as a replacement for expensive murals, scenes, and even maps that needed to occupy massive interior wall space. Wallpaper production made the inclusion of such grandeur accessible to more and more people, so it was used as not only a way to display wealth and status, but also to give life to the home. In recent times, it’s been used as the latter - a creative way to breathe some colour, intricacy, and life into a room within the house, office, or studio space.

New Wave Trends

Wallpapers have evolved, and over the course of 2016 and 2017 some major new trends are beginning to emerge and they all involve wallpaper as a focal point for upbeat, contemporary interior spaces. Floral prints are first on that list, blossoming from large scale prints to old school botanist-inspired vintage textbook type illustrations. The floral form, while strikingly modern in some instances, can also be interpreted as a throwback to the classics of 16th century French nobility. Flowers can exude a delicate wealth, and can become symbols of the aristocracy - making their ability to provide major thematic juxtaposition in industrial spaces uncanny.

Next is the geometric-inspired wallpapers of 2017. These images and patterns are ripe with the crisp angles and clean patterns of chic, urban playspaces. Because of their boldness, geometric wallpaper prints do very well as accent walls, or in smaller rooms like bathrooms, foyers, and even ceilings. Their versatility is realized when you begin to investigate less chaotic prints, and embrace their spontaneous, juvenile, fun-loving qualities.

Animal print wallpapers are a whole ‘nother story! Powder rooms, parlours, hallways and libraries are being draped in everything from ebony alligator skin, to rich ostrich. This exotic accent draws from wallpapers intrinsic past as a tell-tale sign of status - nowadays, snake skin in an office is not only eye-grabbing, but powerfully chic and postmodern.

Other wallpaper trends include mimicking natural materials like stone, brick and even wood panelling, and throwback references to the fine art past of the process, bringing forward the storytelling roots of wallpaper. 

Lacey Grey Fabric loveseat Pallucci Furniture | 32 E Broadway Vancouver, BC | V5T 0B6 | Phone: (604) 568-4855 | Google+

Monday to Saturday: 10am - 6pm | Sunday & Public Holidays: 12pm - 5pm

All sofas include 1 year free warranty and a 30 day price guarantee. Copyright © 2014 Pallucci Furniture. All rights reserved.