Wallpaper, the decor tool seen as quite the wallflower to some, is blossoming into a design winner.
What once may have depicted windmills, roosters and flowers has gotten a makeover with quirky geometric patterns or customized personal photos — not what one might find in Grandma's house. Today, the tacky paper is also durable, washable and fade-resistant.
“Wallpaper is not only back in the biggest way imaginable, but it's fun, modern and customized. I think everyone should use it,” said Christian May, a Southern California interior design blogger and owner of Maison21 Interior Design in Los Angeles.
Jeff Dey, director of business development at Astek Wallcovering Inc. in Van Nuys, said he has seen the resurgence. His company made a shift in the last 10 years, now focusing on digital press equipment and graphic design to produce custom products and murals.
While wallpaper still is produced on paper, it also comes in vinyl for use in high-traffic areas. Some products are printed on self-adhesive materials, allowing individuals to simply peel and stick panels much like decals, making it easy and affordable for apartments, dorm rooms and anyone who may have some commitment issues when it comes to altering their walls.
“Wallpaper is a great alternative to paint,” Dey said, adding that Astek clients range from Hollywood set designers to hotel franchisees and homeowners. “There are so many designs and options to choose from that fit all decors.”
Wallpaper was in its heyday in the 1950s and '60s, even into the 1970s, but many applications were installed improperly or walls weren't properly prepared, leading to removal nightmares. But now, using wallpaper is an easy and cost-effective way to add some punch to a space.
Wallpaper, like paint, can add color and texture to a space as well as a fun factor. Although it's much easier to use than it used to be, most designers still suggest having it professionally installed.
“Trends change and although wallpapering every room in your house isn't for everyone, it has become very popular to cover a feature wall and in a sense bring art to a room,” Dey said. “Wallpaper can and does bring attention and life to a room.”
Astek also partners with the company Design Your Wall, which encourages people to create their own wall coverings. It's that potential to put a bit of personal pizzazz into the equation that May loves. The Cal State Long Beach graduate has developed a line of wallpaper exploding with graphic elements to go along with his Woven Accents carpet line.
“Wallpaper is only one avenue I work with, but I really do love it. I think it works especially well in bathrooms and entryways, small spaces that then don't feel small,” May said. “I like making a statement. Wallpaper can do that.”
Customization is a key element at Black Crow Studios in Los Angeles. Owner Tracy Hiner has taken wallpaper off the walls and onto canvases — and then some. Her studio offers a selection of wallpaper by the roll created by some of her artist friends and canvas prints of watercolor designs in addition to custom projects.
Her works transform a space into an artistic vision from floor to ceiling. By using a large-format printing process, Hiner can create prints for any aesthetic while navigating any architectural feature a room may have.
“It provides a great design element. Each is hand-painted, then scanned and made the way you want it,” she said. “It really is such an extreme.”
Hiner started out in textile design and fashion, but decided to jump headfirst into wall coverings several years ago.
“Wallpaper is not in the background anymore,” Hiner said. “It's coming into the forefront as far as design goes.MORE INFORMATION at maison21.blogspot.com