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It seems that wallpaper has been around forever — or at least for 2,000 years, dating to when the Chinese started to hang decorated rice paper on their walls. Since then, wallpaper has been popular, reflecting designs and patterns that have changed to suit the fashion of the times.

When modernism came into style in the last part of the 20th century, white walls with little embellishment became very popular and wallpapers fell out of favour. Today, wallpaper is fashionable again and its role in the overall decorative scheme is a vital one. The choice of wallpaper affects the mood and style of a room, and can influence the choice of other furniture and soft furnishings.

When designing a space there are a variety of elements and tools to help you add texture, pattern, colour and depth to a space to create a layered and well-designed scheme. Wallpaper is the easiest and least expensive way to drastically transform a space without needing many other elements. Wallpaper is beneficial not only for its aesthetic appearance but it also adds to the longevity and durability of your walls. Even when working with solid colours, wallpaper is most beneficial, durable, and cost efficient since it adds a protective layer to the wall that is cleanable and washable. It further can add very subtle texture and depth for more visual interest which cannot be achieved with just a simple flat coat of paint.

Reception room, Coach House, Pangbourn by SJ Designe

There are a range of cleaning capabilities for each product most are washable with a light sponging or there are also many with scrubbable surfaces for an even greater durability and cleaning strength. With the new “paste the wall” technology this allows you to peel it off the wall in a single strip – when you do come to change your scheme there is no mess or hassle.

Old patterns were surface prints that had no texture and were limited in pattern, style, and colour range but with the new technologies now available Companies have explored different ways to introduce new colours, textural surfaces, and contemporary detailing.

 

Coach House, Pangbourne by SJ Design

Like paint, wallpaper has a range of price points to keep all of us in mind, and in the long run wallpaper will last longer than paint – saving you long term expenses. Wallpaper is durable and cleanable to meet the needs of different styles and applications, holding up to the wear and tear of children or conditions in high traffic areas. Research has shown that wall coverings can last five times longer than paint but generally wallpapers have a lifespan of between 10-15 years. A painted wall chips and cracks over time, and requires more frequent cleaning to keep it looking fresh. It likely needs repainting after only a few years and in turn requires more work which can now be a process messier than wallpapering.

In instances where you want to hide a wall because they are damaged, cracked, uneven, or not perfectly square, wallpaper can be helpful to mask these imperfections that will be more noticeable when only painted. Both paint and wallpaper have the ability to liven up bland spaces but wallpaper goes a step further with its ability to disguise flaws which can be much less time consuming and tedious than fixing all the little, or big, imperfections throughout the wall.

 

William Morris recognised the importance of wallpaper when he advised in one of his lectures;

‘Whatever you have in your rooms think first of the walls for they are that which makes your house and home, and if you do not make some sacrifices in their favour you will find your chambers have a kind of makeshift, lodging-house look about them…’

Wallpaper can help bring warmth and depth to a room that cannot be achieved by paint alone. It can also give you the ability to really show off your personality and style with the range of patterns, prints, and colours now available. Wallpapers that have metallic details can play with light, others with intense patterns from small to medium to large can visually alter the shape of the room. There are so many options now available from grass cloth, linen, glass beads, flock, textural vinyl and even digital wall murals which is on-trend at the moment. Recently I created a mural across a set of wardrobes for a teenager’s bedroom which makes a great focal point to their room.

So come on just give it a go!

For more information on how wallpaper could work in your house or if you want to discuss your interior project with Samantha, please get in touch on 01494 882219 or email sj@samanthajohnsondesign.com

Boys Bedroom mural design by Samantha Johnson

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