Darren Palmer on "The Wonders of Wallpaper"
Wallpaper is nothing like it used to be
The Reinvention of Wallpaper
Wallpaper has to be one of the most misunderstood finishes available. I recall, as do most people around my age, having to slowly wet with steam and then laboriously scrape off old wallpaper that was no longer wanted. I'm talking in my instance about the passing into teenage years when that 1980s outer space, astronautical themed blue wallpaper just stopped being cool. I set about removing it with my folks and we all managed to gauge out quite a lot of the gyprock beneath in the process.
These days are LONG gone. Wallpaper is nothing like it used to be.
The Advances in Technology
With the advances in technology that have come since the 80s, who should be surprised that manufacturers have been able to devise non woven bases for papers? This means that the base of the paper does not split into layers as it's removed, with some parts sticking to the graphic and others sticking to the wall. The non-woven base means that the base of the wallpaper is intact when you remove it, allowing you to remove your old wallpapers with literally 2 fingers on each hand (a finger and a thumb to be precise). Search "Removing Non-Woven Wallpaper" on YouTube to see for yourself.
Non-woven wallpaper isn't your only friend when it comes to wanting texture or pattern as well as colour for your walls. Vinyl wall coverings also allow you to apply and easily remove with a possibility of reuse if you're careful. I know how that sounds, VINYL wall coverings. The word vinyl has so many 80s connotations but there are many options from faux silks, woven grasscloth paper looks to textured ethnic patterns to faux animal hides, the array is near endless and there are options to suit most styles, tastes and spaces.
A Personal Favourite
I have to say I am biased toward wallpapers as I have used them for many years and love how they can add an extra layer of impact to a room. They can be a subtle textured backdrop or a grand and bold statement, the room and your style being the only deciding factor.
There are several personal favourites when it comes to wallpaper brands, at the top of the list is Elitis sold through Seneca textiles. I've used so many of the Elitis vinyl coverings over the years, they're featured on almost every second page of my book, Easy Luxury. They're fantastically textured and have such variety you can really find something to suit any brief.
Another favourite is Ralph Lauren. I know that sounds like they must be extremely expensive and out of reach, the truth is that quite often that is the case, but they have a brilliant array of florals, traditional patterns like herringbone, hounds tooth and pin stripe as well some interesting interpretations of periods like art deco to give but one example. The range features so many textures, patterns and colours it's hard to choose just one favourite
Grasscloth papers are my other big go to in terms of wall coverings. You can buy them from Designers Guild or Boyd Blue, though as with most great interior finishes you may have to buy them through a professional designer or decorator.
Where to Find Wallpapers
There are several companies that even make wallpapers to order or from your own or slightly adapted version of existing designs, porters paints to name but one. Wall Candy wallpapers have designer ranges from the likes of Marcel Wanders and Kelly Hoppen and Eurowalls have a brilliant selection of wall coverings from high durability commercial grade to soft and paintable papers for residential applications.
Paintable wall papers give you the best of both worlds by allowing you to find an interesting pattern or texture but then paint it with the nuance of regular, off the shelf paints, giving you scope to match your wall coverings perfectly to the rest of your interior.
When it comes to covering your walls, don't just think of giving them a lick of paint, think about how you can give your rooms another layer of interest by exploring your world of wallpaper options.