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The Ins and Outs of Modern Wallpaper

Wallpaper. Some people love it. Some people hate it. And some people want to love it, but are afraid to because of the wallpapers of the past. No matter in which group you see yourself, wallpaper is coming back in a big way.

Wallpaper Design

If you’re bored with paint, and getting out the stencils and sponges isn’t quite what you had in mind (please no, even if you’re thinking it), wallpaper offers a variety of choices for every aesthetic. Some we love, in the right spaces, include:

  • Nature-inspired wallpaper: With a continued focus on sustainability and a desire to bring the outdoors inside, nature-inspired wallpapers are a great way to incorporate biophilic design into a space. Think floral patterns, botanical prints, and landscapes.

  • Textured wallpaper: Textured wallpaper adds depth and interest to a room. These are great options for adding subtle detail and interest while not taking away from other architectural features. Of course, there are bold options, too, which can be fantastic in the right setting. Think embossed patterns, 3D designs, and woven textures.

  • Metallic wallpaper: Metallic accents add a touch of glamour to a room, and metallic wallpaper is a great way to accomplish that. Silver, gold, and copper accents in geometric patterns or abstract designs can look beautiful in a dining room or powder room.

  • Bold prints and patterns: In recent years, there has been a move towards bold prints and patterns. Large-scale florals, geometric prints, and abstract designs in bright colors can add the wow factor paint simply can’t. We have a client now who has chosen three of these types of prints and we can’t wait to share the finished result!

  • Vintage wallpaper: Vintage-inspired wallpaper has been a popular trend in recent years. Art Deco designs, Victorian-era patterns, and mid-century modern prints all can work in conjunction with the architecture of the home.

Benefits of Wallpaper

While painting a room can truly transform it, the benefits of wallpaper go beyond making a space more visually appealing. Many types of wallpaper are more durable than paint and can last longer without showing signs of wear and tear. Wallpaper can also hide imperfections in walls, such as cracks or uneven surfaces, making them less noticeable. Cleanability is another benefit. Most wallpaper is easy to clean with a damp cloth making it a solid choice for high-traffic areas and areas that are more prone to staining. Wallpaper comes in a vast array of colors, patterns, and textures, making it easy to find a style that suits your taste and decor.

Will it Go Out of Style?

One question/concern we hear most often regarding wallpaper is, “Will is go out of style?” Here at SDG, we don’t design with trends in mind. Our mission is to create personal spaces that function and endure and we can’t do that if we’re focused on what we see on Instagram. Our designs begin with the architecture of the home and ensure a space feels fresh, but not “remodeled.”

When choosing wallpaper, keep these points in mind and your wallpaper choices will endure the test of time:

  • Choose a timeless pattern. While trendy patterns and colors may look great now, they may not age well. Opt for a classic pattern, such as stripes or florals that won’t look dated in five years.

  • Stick to neutral colors. Bright, bold colors may be trendy now, but they may not be in a few years. Choose neutral colors like beige, gray, or cream that can easily be paired with different styles and colors.

  • Consider the room’s overall design. When choosing wallpaper, consider the style and décor in the space. A style that complements the existing decor will always look stylish.

  • Opt for quality materials. High-quality wallpaper is less likely to fade or peel over time, which will help it look better for longer.

  • Experiment with accent walls. Instead of wallpapering an entire room, consider creating an accent wall or even a ceiling. It’s an opportunity to experiment with different patterns, colors, and textures without committing to a full room.

  • Hire a professional. An interior designer can provide advice on timeless styles and colors. A professional wallpaper hanger will ensure that it’s done properly and will look great for years to come.

How much of a Commitment is Wallpaper?

It’s true. Wallpaper isn’t as easy to change as paint, and can be a bit challenging, but it’s generally easier to remove than other wall coverings like paneling or textured finishes. The removal process is usually possible to do yourself with a little bit of patience and elbow grease.

The difficulty of removing wallpaper will depend on a few factors, including the type of wallpaper, the adhesive used, and how long it has been on the walls. If you find yourself in a situation in which you need to remove wallpaper, here are some tips:

  1. Start by scoring the wallpaper with a wallpaper-scoring tool or sandpaper. This will allow water or a wallpaper removal solution to penetrate the adhesive and loosen the wallpaper.

  2. Apply a wallpaper removal solution or fabric softener mixed with warm water to the wallpaper, and let it sit for several minutes.

  3. Use a putty knife or scraper to gently remove the wallpaper. Be careful not to damage the wall surface underneath. If the wallpaper is particularly stubborn, you may need to repeat the process of applying the removal solution and scraping until it’s all removed.

  4. After the wallpaper is removed, clean the walls with warm water and mild soap to remove any remaining adhesive.

Where to Begin?

If you’re ready to dip your toes into the world of wallpaper, a powder room or laundry room are generally safe places to start. They’re smaller spaces so it’s easier to try something outside your comfort zone. Keep scale in mind. A smaller pattern may work better in a powder room as it won’t be so chopped up.

If you’re ready to dive in, bold patterns, colors, and textures work well in dining rooms and offices as those spaces typically have fewer textiles and more hard surfaces than other areas so you won’t have to worry about conflicting patterns.

A Shot of Botox

This Old House likens wallpaper to a shot of Botox for your room. Sure, paint perks it up, but wallpaper offers character and dimension. With the myriad options of papers out there today, from plain papers to grasscloth, the choice can be overwhelming. But the great thing is that modern papers are much easier to hang and remove than the wallpaper our grandmothers hung. Don’t be afraid to take a step outside your comfort zone. After all, it’s only wallpaper!

author avatar
Kara Marketing Director and Office Manager
Kara plays a pivotal role in shaping our interior design firm's narrative, dedicating herself to fostering creativity and connecting with our audience. Since 2019, she has seamlessly managed both office and marketing responsibilities, ensuring the smooth operation of our day-to-day activities. Kara's passion for analytics and strategic planning drives our marketing efforts forward. As an introverted non-designer navigating the extroverted worlds of marketing and design, Kara brings a unique perspective to our team. Outside of work, she embraces her role as a hockey mom, cherishing adventures with her two boys.

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