Wallpaper has been way off the trend radar for years. But now it is making a comeback—and it’s nothing like what Grandma put on her walls this time around. We asked a few of the most innovative companies in the field what is driving the return to papering walls.
“Wallpaper is back because of fashion!” Gina Shaw, VP of Product Development for York Wallcoverings told us. “Consumers see all the great color, design and texture in apparel. It inspires them to decorate the home in a similar fashion. They are tired of plain painted walls.”
Graham & Brown cited ease of use as a primary driver in the return of wallpaper. It is easier than ever to hang, and even comes with user-friendly pre-pasted options. It is also washable. Just as importantly, wallpaper is now much easier to remove, which is especially important when consumers are changing their décor more frequently than in the past. Clearly, some of the biggest objections to decorating with wallpaper have been eliminated.
Another key factor, says Gina Shaw of York: “Anyone can afford wallpaper. There are all levels of price points available.”
Meanwhile, Avery Thatcher from Juju Papers had a different perspective. “The comeback of wallpaper is being driven by the fact that the two major current forms of wallpaper production are both exceedingly popular right now. Hand-printed and digital. “
Thatcher believes that the current obsession with old-fashioned, handmade things is already obvious in diverse categories, from prohibition-era cocktails and wood-fired ovens to handlebar mustaches and crating using weaving and knitting techniques. Each example bears the mark of being handcrafted—something that is increasingly sought after in today’s era of cell-phone and big-screen lifestyles. Hand-printed wallpaper fits nicely into this category. Juju Papers prints everything by hand, using all environmentally friend products (another current trend).
“On the flip side,” says Thatcher, “digital printing is revolutionizing the way wallpaper can follow trends by creating a product that is intended only for one application or one season. Digital-wallpaper designers can produce a design and bypass all of the investment and warehousing involved with the handmade. They are also not limited by expense related to color. Digital wallpapers can follow trends in a way never been seen before.”
York’s Gina Shaw agrees that there are many more fashionable and eclectic choices available today than there were in the past. This includes not only new and exciting designs, but also many great choices for texture, like grasscloth, cork, mica and other natural materials.
“Wallpaper is the one purchase that can change an entire room dramatically and quickly without changing your furniture and décor,” Gina went on to say. And, as Lindsay Brand of Graham & Brown pointed out, “It can add the look of metal, wood or brick without actually using those materials.”