On a roll!
27th November 2021
From maximalist murals and nostalgic chintz to exotic prints and cool collaborations, wallpaper is riding high in the interiors style stakes. Amanda Loose gets the hang of it!
I admit it. I have always loved wallpaper; from the 1970s flamingo number Mum hung in the bathroom when I was young, to the fascinating layers and layers she peeled off when we moved house (before swiftly hanging another paper of course). Latterly, it’s been a bit more vicarious, scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest, realising just how popular wallpaper is again.
“We are finding that the demand for wallpaper at the moment is crazy!” says fellow wallpaper fan Laura Tipple of Tipple & Co Decorators in King’s Lynn. “This year we’ve done more wallpaper feature walls than ever before.”
So why are so many of us on the wallpaper trail? Janie Thompson of Thornham Deli Interior Styling thinks the past 18 months or so have played a part.
“I think during Covid people have spent more time at home and have become tired with their surroundings. With so many home improvement programmes on TV, people have become more brave and adventurous and seen how this boldness can lift a room. I think it’s great that people have become inspired and creative by their time at home – after all – the wall can be repainted so if you do make a mistake then it’s not the end of the world!”
Interior designer Nanci Gillett of Burnham Interiors shares this enthusiasm. “I love wallpaper! It is a wonderful way to inject personality and interest into a room. From using it on whole walls to papering the backs of bookshelves, you can transform your space without buying new furniture.”
Kate Thomson of Kate Thomson Design agrees. “I have always been a huge wallpaper fan. I think one of the perks of my job is giving my clients the confidence to try something a bit different and pushing them out of their comfort zone. It’s so easy to just choose a flat paint colour but using wallpaper adds another dimension to a room which can’t be achieved in just paint.
“There is so much choice. A lot of the traditional fabric houses have been releasing contemporary versions of classic ranges. Interior designer Ben Pentreath, renowned for his love of colour, has recoloured some of William Morris’ most popular designs adding a modern and contemporary vibe.”
Personally, I love some of this year’s creative collaborations; from floral stylist Willow Crossley’s with Barneby Gates, featuring two papers both available in two colourways, to the National Trust’s latest collaboration with Little Greene, launching this autumn, National Trust Papers II. It has 42 colourways across seven contemporary designs, based on original patterns from the Trust’s historic houses, including ‘Beech Nut’ (below), inspired by a late Georgian design uncovered at Oxburgh Hall here in Norfolk.
And if you fancy going really big, well murals are also having a moment, with demand “increasing more and more” says Laura. “I love seeing the prints that we get requested, my favourite mural is of a world map we recently hung.”
So how do you take the wallpaper plunge? “If you are brave then you can jump in with strong colour/pattern but if not, you can slowly introduce wallpaper with maybe texture and a simple pattern which would complement the room rather than standing out,” says Janie.
“I would suggest getting samples and putting them on the wall where they are going to be to live with them a few days and see if you still like the pattern you have chosen,” she continues. “Try to create a mood board with your colours – although this sounds rather professional and tiresome, this can be easily done by simply laying the wallpaper, fabric, colour chart overlapping each other to see if all the textures/colours work together. Play about with this until you are happy with the overall image.”
“I love using wallpaper to create a feature,” says Kate. “Bold patterns work particularly well in small rooms where other soft furnishing is not possible. Try it in a cloakroom or small bedroom if you are nervous.”
When choosing a wallpaper print you need to think about the repeat pattern, says Laura. “A smaller repeat pattern will have less wasted wallpaper. I would suggest that you calculate how many rolls you need beforehand, and I also advise people to purchase an extra roll just in case as you never know! We’ve had a situation before where our customer purchased the wallpaper and unfortunately, we needed an extra roll – sadly it was out of stock everywhere!
“We always advise our customers to choose a good quality wallpaper and to make sure the rolls all have the same batch number so the colours match exactly.”
So which papers have caught our experts’ eyes? Nanci’s current favourites are designs from the Guy Goodfellow Collection and Lisa Fine Textiles; Kate, meanwhile, has been getting creative with Annie Allison’s Sisal range. “I’ve used her plain Sisal in a dining room to add texture above some wood panelling and her patterned Sisal as inserts to bespoke dressing room doors. Wallpaper doesn’t just have to be saved for walls!” says Kate.
“I also love Collingwood Coastal, started by Zoe Dunford who lives in North Norfolk. She has produced a series of beautifully illustrated papers showcasing local Norfolk boats (below).”
Laura has been getting busy with wallpaper in her own home. “My personal favourite wallpaper designer at the moment is Emma J Shipley. I adore how she combines majestic animals with bright colours. We have a feature wall in our bedroom called Zambezi in gold.
“We have also decided to have a mural in our dining room which I am super excited about. Murals are such a personal touch to a home and a massive talking point. My taste is very out there so it will be a struggle persuading my partner!”
“I am just renovating a small cottage we have recently bought,” says Janie. “The bedrooms are dark with little light, so I wanted to create a statement wall with depth to detract from this – I have chosen Songe d’ete Marais by Christian Lacroix for Designers Guild. I have also just seen the new Harlequin Colour 1 Collection (top image) – it is just fabulous!”
Burnham Interiors, Burnham Market 01328 730989 www.burnhaminteriors.co.uk
Kate Thomson Design, 07825 566627 www.katethomsondesign.co.uk
Sage Green Norfolk, email@example.com
Thornham Deli Interior Styling, Thornham 01485 512194 www.thornhamdeli.co.uk
Tipple & Co Decorators 01553 760276 www.tippleandco.co.uk