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A Closer Look at Wallpaper’s Comeback in Interior Design

Limited-edition Millennial Jungle wallpaper, $150, by Graham & Brown

Wallpaper is a cycling trend that has gone in and out of style throughout history. But there is so much more to these transient prints than meets the eye.

To understand wallpaper’s role as a room embellishment, you must first get to know its origin, why it became ubiquitous, and what you can do to make it work in your home.

The Origins of Wallpaper

The use of wallpaper is documented as early as 600 years ago. Used to decorate the interiors of cabinets and shelving, it was a fun pop of color and texture that added uniqueness and details to a space without the need to hand paint surfaces that may deteriorate over time.

The earliest uses were by merchants and middle-class individuals to allow their homes to mimic the refinement of the aristocracy. However, the wealthy soon caught on to the trend and created intricate patterns and combinations of wallpaper that allowed them to transform entire rooms into works of art.

The Timeline to Modern Success

Photo by Claire Rendall via Unsplash

Whenever minimalism is popular, it’s usually immediately followed by 10 to 20 years of maximalism or the implementation of patterns and colors to allow a space to feel full and robust.

The 1960s and ’70s favored minimalism in home design to make a space appear more expensive and streamlined. In the mid-1990s, sensibilities shifted—consumers preferred more ornamentation, pattern play and color saturation. Following that was a resurgence of simple, clean interiors to usher in the new millennium. Today, wallpaper is back in high demand, and while it may not last very long, those who appreciate a little extra zhuzh in their interiors can rest assured that the pendulum will likely swing back.

Current Wallpaper Trends

Photo by Dan Gold via Unsplash

Today’s wallpapers skew sleek and modern—replicating the look of luxurious materials such as marble or wood.

Bold prints and colors are still popular when used to a smaller degree. For example, instead of filling a room with a print of monstera leaves, pick one or two accent walls—preferably one complemented with strikingly beautiful furniture—which will create the illusion of a larger space.

How Can You Make It Work for Your Space?

If you love the idea of wallpaper but are not ready to commit, you can “try it on” without affixing a single decal or panel to your wall.

Snap a picture of the intended room and use image editing software to place the wallpaper over the selected wall. If Photoshop is not your strong suit, smartphone apps such as Primer make it foolproof by using augmented reality to overlay decorative items like wallpaper and tile onto a room in real time. This will allow you to visualize the colors and patterns before taking the leap.

If your preferred pattern is not on-trend, don’t sweat it. Your space should be one that you find beautiful and comfortable; create that for yourself.

Are Wallpaper Trends Regional?

Photo by Vinicius Amnx Amana via Unsplash

Like all home decor, the popularity of different wallpaper prints and textures is dependent upon location. Phoenix and Scottsdale favor more natural looks that align with the colors and textures found in the Southwest landscape. If you are not sure which look is best for you, research local design studios to find professionals who can customize a according to your home. Although it may seem daunting to work with pros, it is the best way to achieve your vision.

Roger Marx is a contributor to the Innovative Building Materials blog. He is a content writer for the construction and home improvement industries with an interest in landscaping, outdoor remodeling and home renovation. Roger is focused on educating homeowners, contractors and architects on innovative materials and methods of construction that increase property value and improve sustainability.


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