March 17, 2022 | Updated: April 11, 2022
Wallpaper nowadays is light years away from our childhood memories of drab and lacklustre, peeling wall coverings. During the last decade alone, there have been tremendous advances. Wallpaper is trendy again, but it has never really gone out of style! Trending wallpapers today are based on improvements in production, design, textures and quality, an exciting and affordable option for transforming our homes.
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This article looks at the best ways to use wallpaper throughout the home. We will also compare how our predecessors used wallpaper and how trending wallpapers are being exploited in contemporary décor. Finally, we will provide a list of frequently asked questions to remove any doubts you might have.
✏ Table of Contents
– Best wallpaper trends and ideas
Counter-intuitively, wallpaper is actually suited to any space in the home, even bathrooms and kitchens. This is the case if you are just renting a house. Wallpaper is a fantastic option for personalising your home.
The natural habitat for wallpaper is the living room. It represents one of the most potent decorative tools for transforming a space thoroughly. The key to exploiting trending wallpapers successfully in the living room is to match furniture and architecture with decorative motifs.
Wallpaper should match existing decorative elements, not the other way round. In other words, a more traditional design works better for a living room with timber floorboards, big fluffy sofas, vintage light fittings etc. It doesn’t have to be boring or staid, however. The following trends are ones to watch in 2022.
Consider bright colours, dramatic motifs, packed wall-to-wall prints that make a bold statement.
In 2022, it is all about home beautiful, converting our habitats into places of joy and delight. Places where we want to spend time.
Increased appreciation of the natural world and awareness of our finite planet means that all things plant-related are trending right now.
Geometry and nature combined have a subtle and timeless hybrid nature. Guaranteed to stand the test of time.
The mathematical and empirical logic of geometry always looks smart on walls. Right now, metallic accents and pastel shade backgrounds are all the rage in geometric motifs.
Skins Clarence Taupe 53×1005 cm (Available online & in-store)
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Frame a painted or scenic wallpaper panel with profiles – depicting a realistic scene – or bold geometric pattern. Specifically suited to bedrooms and areas with a dreamy and whimsical ambience.
The hallway is where deliveries arrive, where we remove our coats and shoes. That is why the walls require extra protection. As a result, wallpaper has long been a popular choice for hallways, as it can last up to 15 years, which is three times longer than paint.
However, we also want to create a welcoming ambience at the entrance to our homes. Wallpaper over a chair rail or wainscot panelling is the solution. Add border details for added visual interest. The picture rail serves as a border for adding timber, tiled, or washable wallpaper below. Meanwhile, we can go with a more decorative option above.
In Victorian times, wallpaper was considered the ideal decorative treatment for nurseries and children’s rooms. The Victorians correctly understood the importance of stimulating children’s imagination by exposing them to fairy-tale landscapes and wild animals, for instance.
Nowadays, wallpaper continues to represent a visually stimulating decorative covering. But not just for children’s rooms; trending wallpapers are also popular in adult bedrooms, especially as a headboard.
There are two ways to use wallpaper as a headboard. Either paper the entire wall behind the bed or frame a panel with decorative profiles. Both options are both appealing and functional. In any case, make sure to choose a resistant and washable wallpaper for the headboard.
Skins Clarence Taupe 53×1005 cm (Available online & in-store)
Skins Clarence Coal 53×1005 cm (Available online & in-store)
The first use of wallpaper in the UK goes back to the 16th century when individual sheets, panels of paper measuring 40 x 50 cm with monochrome woodcut designs were fixed to walls.
Initially, the custom was limited to middle-class homes, where it was commonly used to line cupboards and small anterooms. However, as manufacturing methods advanced, with the introduction of paper rolls and improved printing by the 18th century, wallpaper became more widely accepted across social classes. With the patenting of a wallpaper printing machine by Potter & Ross in 1839, the UK’s love affair with wallpaper was well underway.
Today’s wallpaper references some of the historical fashions popularised by the aristocracy before mechanisation helped democratise home décor. These luxurious wallpaper trends are now affordable to the general public.
When trade with China first opened up to Europe, the UK became obsessed with all things Chinese. This even had a name for applied arts and decorative crafts: chinoiserie.
Hand-painted wallpaper featuring large scale scenes with non-repeated motifs was suddenly all the rage during the 1700s. The patterns depicted characters working at their crafts or landscapes filled with exotic flora and fauna. Curiously, the trend never caught on in China. It was produced exclusively for export.
Painted wallpaper today is a luxury product, a handcrafted product. The client can choose from a range of options with a unique, customised design. Like a wall mural, the depictions, patterns and colours are made-to-measure to a specific room. They are usually painted onto silk, which is treated and backed with rice paper to be subsequently reassembled on site.
Hand-painted wallpaper is often associated with floral patterns or chinoiserie, the kind you see in grand mansions. However, Milan-based studio Fabscarte has given it a contemporary twist. This team of artists employs a mix of techniques to produce their creations, all of which are fully handmade, with the goal of reinventing traditional decorating for a new age.
Flock wallpaper gained popularity as an imitation of the fabrics, velvets, and silks traditionally used to cover the walls of grand houses. The first technique used leftover wool fibres sprinkled over patterns made with glue. The designs mimicked the embroidered wall hangings in decorative floral motifs.
Textured wallpaper, popular today, is the modern equivalent, resembling fabric but mounted on rolls. The effect is three dimensional, tactile and decorative. Textured wallpaper represents a great alternative to paint and is washable, hardwearing and opulent. Textured wallpaper is suitable for covering entire rooms or feature walls.
Plain wallpaper with a fabric effect texture and a slightly wrinkled appearance. Available in four different colours (Aegean, Beige, Coal and Taupe).
To combat its dated image, after the 1970s and 80s, developments in the wallpaper industry included coated options. Instead of paper, wallpapers featured harder, more resilient backing. Coated wallpapers, for example, were easy to clean and extremely durable. Laminated wallpapers and metallic finishes, on the other hand, added dramatic visual flare.
Today, vinyl wallpapers are highly appropriate for the kitchen. The PVC backing makes them easy to wipe down and provides improved hygiene and resistance to detergents. Moreover, metallic papers have a foil backing which adds to their lustre.
Ever since industrialisation made wallpaper more affordable, it has been a favourite in UK homes. The period between the wars represents the heyday of wallpaper. By 1939, in fact, 100 million rolls were being produced annually (up from 50 million at the turn of the century). During this time, Hollywood and British cinema heavily influenced popular styles and motifs among both the working and middle classes.
Right now, the recent improvements in digital printing and manufacturing have opened up wallpaper to new frontiers. Today, fashion and industrial designers can unleash their artistic flair to elevate wallpaper to new heights.
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Bold colours and patterns, stripes and motifs combined, layered geometric motifs in pastel shades, metallic accents and framed panels are all going to be trending this year and next.
The generic term grasscloth includes some textured wallpaper options that feature natural fibres. The fibres are aligned across the width of rice paper. Each roll is unique with an individual character. Raffia, seagrass, bamboo, hemp, and jute are among the most popular fibres.
This year is seeing trends in bold colours, pastel shades with metallic motifs, greens in multiple shades combined with one another. As well as softer off-whites, creams and grey hues.
In the 1980s, paint surpassed wallpaper in popularity. Ragging, marbling, stippling, and other effects become ubiquitous. However, wallpaper never completely disappeared and, today, both options are commonly combined within the same room. The feature wall and wainscoting have breathed new life into both finishes being seen together.