From its earliest known use in the 1400s, wallpaper was considered a classy way to decorate the walls of a room. At first, only the wealthy had it in theirhomes, but eventually it was affordable even to the European working-class, who saw it as the way to brighten up small, dark living quarters. In the US, it was popular too, but since 1930, it has gone in and out of style as many consumers equated it with what you would see in grandma’s house, not in a modern abode.
Currently, wallpaper usage is on the upswing again, but there are some differences between what wallpaper is made of and how it is used compared to the last time it enjoyed great popularity in the 1960s and 1970s.
How Wallpaper Contributes To Modern Design
The reason wallpaper keeps returning to the decorating scene is that it can add flair to a room, accent a feature wall, and detract attention from an imperfect wall. According to recent reports, wallpaper lasts five times longer than paint and can look as good as new for at least 15 years, depending on use. While covering the room in large floral patterns is out of style, modern wallpaper is used more selectively in many situations:
- To add a single color to a space as an alternative to painting damaged walls
- To add geometric or other patterned accents to a wall or two
- To add texture to a wall that can be more easily removed than textured paint. To create special effects, you can even paint over textured papers
- To add a mural effect to a wall
- To restore a home to its historic appearance or give it a vintage feel
- To add faux painting effects to a room without painting it
- To add digital designs or photography to a wall
- To add a natural feel to a room with the use of fibers such as bamboo, jute, or grass cloth
- To coordinate walls with furnishings by using matching fabric
- To simulate the look of wood
- To experiment with materials such as leather or metal, often complemented by beads, crystals, or shells
Specialty Wallpaper With A Purpose
Unlike paint, which offers a backdrop to art and wall hangings, wallpaper takes a more active part in room design. The pattern, the texture, and the properties of wallpaper can add specialty features such as:
- Scenting or deodorizing a room
- Absorbing sound
- Serving as a bulletin board or whiteboard
- Reducing electromagnetic interference
- Insulating and adding warmth to a room
- Adding special effects with glow-in-the-dark or magnetic properties
- Helping homeowners be more sustainable with eco-friendly wallpaper made from recycled materials
New Technologies Brought Home
Modern printing techniques have allowed wallpaper artisans to utilize scale and color to create larger, bolder designs. These larger designs are often used by decorators and homeowners to create a feature wall in which the wallpapered wall then becomes the art for the room. With open-concept design a sought-after feature in many homes, wallpapering an accent area also helps to differentiate a certain space.
Using the popularity of social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram, homeowners are very tuned in to design and they are not afraid to incorporate it into their homes. Anyone can create graphic interest in their home with wallpaper, based on what they find online. High quality online Ecommerce sites sell wallpaper at discounted rates without the overhead costs of brick and mortar operations so wallpaper is more affordable than ever.
Wallpaper is seldom used to cover every room in the house, as it was in the past, but it continues to play an important role in modern décor as an accent and design statement.
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