When I worked at Chintz and Company in Calgary, the Crown Wallpaper showroom was just down the street. I used to love going in there, just to spend a few hours looking through the books, putting fabrics and papers together, designing imaginary rooms. Like a new coat of paint, wallpaper can dramatically change a room and unlike buying a purple leather sofa it can be changed when we change our minds. Wallpaper is making a huge comeback in the interior decorating world. I was a bit trepidacious about this trend at first ( remember the borders that were everywhere??) but after looking at the new papers and how they can be used, I think I might have changed my mind.
As with so much else, new technologies have made new wallpapers. Gone are the paste brushes and non-stick ‘prepasted’ papers. I like the fact that there is a truly removable paper now, it comes off easily and does not damage the surface underneath. No steaming or scoring required. York has SureStrip and Easy2; Sherwin Williams has the EasyChange paper. Renters, are you paying attention? The Wallpaper Company has produced wallpaper ‘tiles’ in 24 colors, again totally removable; available in some Home Depots. Re-modern.com is the place to look at 2 dimensional wallpaper tiles that are constructed from bamboo pulp.
I also like the fact that the the layer of the covering that lies against the wall in many papers now is breathable, so no more moisture or mildew problems. Many of the papers are also made with Eco friendly products and some of the new adhesives do not off gas. And wait till you see the patterns and textures. Everything from soft, hardly noticeable classics to vibrant, huge prints in every color and decor style imaginable. Just for the fun of it, check the Crown Wallpaper site (crownwallpaper.com). Farrow and Ball shows paper designs in black and white, you click for the colors you want to see. Designerwallcoverings.com will custom make your wallpaper. Flavor-Paper does hand silk-screened papers, custom designed too, that are like no other papers I’ve ever seen. ( scratch and sniff... no kidding).
Along with all these new papers and tiles come what we used to call decals and are now called wall art. Even tromp l’oeil murals. So, new products, new styles and new ideas. Next column will be a bit more about the use of wallpaper in the home.