Aug 11, 2016

It Looks Good on Paper...


Rendezvous Stripe

Let’s be honest, wallpaper used to be something which, as far as having a sense of style was concerned, was right up there with hanging a print of the Blue Lady on it;  filling up a nearby bookshelf with a whole bunch of these or sitting down for a bit of chicken in the basket accompanied by a bottle of the very latest in sophisticated wines...

Blue Lady

Mmmm. Classy.

And less of the tittering at the back. We all went there at one time or another.

When we did its almost certain that the wallpaper we had in our homes had been inspired by a particularly bad trip. And I’m not talking about one you take on the road.

Some of the more popular wallpaper designs from its heyday in the 1960’s and 70’s were absolutely hideous.

Wasn’t anyone in on the joke?

Take this design for example. Or these three little beauties.

Quickly, someone fetch me a pair of pliers so I can remove my eyes.

Three Wallpapers Collage

Horrible. At a time when we all lived in fear of imminent nuclear annihilation, make no mistake, these wallpapers would, along with cockroaches, survived and gone on, like the dinosaurs, to rule the earth for millions of years.

Maybe that was the plan all along?

Doubtless there are children of that grim age today, assorted 40 and 50 something’s who are able to look back at the time when their parents had made the fateful decision to repaper the lounge?

That meant the appearance of one of these little beauties. Which meant that DIY Armageddon was coming.

They were so heavy that there was every chance you’d put your back out just by picking one of them up. That or risking the sudden and swift destruction of a kitchen work surface as the book plummeted through it to the ground.

Nevertheless, the task of the entire family was to then dutifully look through the several billion different option it had to offer, taking good care to unanimously decide on the most lurid, tasteless and downright abominable design in the whole catalogue.

Because this is how it was back in the day. We may not all have skeletons in the cupboard. But, like it or not, we’ve all had some macabre wallpaper at one time or another.

And you know, people may now scoff at the easy conformity of a plain wall with a covering of matt magnolia paint. And they will. Yet, considering what that simple and comfortable option succeeded, it’s one that, in truth, remains one of the most popular options for our home interiors.

Eye Mirror

And laugh all you like. But as decorating options go, it’s simple, clean, bright and contemporary.

It works.

Yet, for all that, it seems that wallpaper is making a bit of a comeback.

You’d best sit down.

Because not only is wallpaper making a DIY comeback in our homes, it is doing so to such an extent that you could almost say it is strutting its stuff in triumph.

With one of the reasons for this being the increasing popularity of the so called 'feature wall'.

This gives you the opportunity to exercise your imagination on one part of a room, that or one piece of wall in particular with an absolutely wild and very heavily patterned piece of wallpaper that would, if it was used all over the room, quite probably send you on your way to quiet insanity.

Yet, in just one part of the room, it becomes a striking feature in its own right without taking over.

If wallpaper is just too retro for you though, you can go for a patterned fabric, a framed piece of wallpaper or using a slightly bolder paint colour.

It’s a trend that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the interior designers of some of the world’s largest hotel chains.

Holiday Inn Executive

Take Holiday Inn for example. They’ve taken to putting a strong pattern on the wall just above the bed in their rooms. The standard paint job in there would otherwise be quite bland and uninspiring yet, by making a feature of part of the walls here, they are drawing attention to it and the bed that resides immediately beneath it.

And what do you go to a Hotel for? Yes, above and beyond anything else, it’s for the bed.

That pattern there makes it stand out. It might not be to everyone’s taste. But it works.

The knack to getting the idea of having your very own feature wall to work is by calming its overall effect by ensuring that the other walls in the room are painted in soft, soothing and undemonstrative colours.

Like here for example. A strong theme in and around the focal point of the fireplace with a more neutral colour throughout the rest of the room.

And yes, if you read ‘a framed piece of wallpaper’ above and wondered if that really meant what it says, then yes, yes it does.

Framed Wallpaper

In fact, framing some wallpaper samples can work exceptionally well, especially if you have a series of three or four such ‘pictures’ on one wall. It’s also an inexpensive way of adding a talking point to your room with bargain frames easily available at such places as Ikea and Wilko.

One of the great advantages of  framing is that you will need one roll of paper which is pretty handy if you are on a budget but still want to use a wallpaper design that is a cut above all the rest.

Something by Osborn & Little for example.

You could also check out Timorous Beasties for example. The company was established in Glasgow in the 1990’s by two textile design students who, from humble beginnings, have set up a studio that produces a range of diverse design options and has become, in the process, a multi award winning and internationally acclaimed business.

Take their London Toile wallpaper for example. It starts at £90 a roll-but the minimum order is just the one roll.

So you can get the ultimate designer wall covering in your home without breaking the bank. It might end up breaking lots of your neighbours envious hearts though!

(Just tell them Loft Blinds gave you the idea and let them know where we are).

So there you have it.

Wallpaper hasn’t gone away. It isn’t extinct, nor has it ceased to be. It isn’t even making a comeback.

Because its already here and making an impression in our lives and homes once again.

The simple secret to its successful renaissance is the old adage that you’ll hear with regard to DIY and home improvements over and over again.

Less is more.

Wallpaper no longer has to smother a room, to drown it out so completely that it is all you can, and will, ever see in that room.

But what it can do and offer is an idea, a suggestion, a hint of something else, a theme or break in the conformity.

And you know what?

‘New’ wallpaper works.

Give it a try.