The roll of a lifetime 

When positioned strategically into a particular space, such as a dressing room or foyer, wallpaper can transform an ordinary wall into a design statement.

In 1989, two years after I graduated from college, I got a job as an editor for an interior design trade magazine. The focus of the publication was wallpaper, or “wallcoverings,” as it was referred to in those days. Homeowners at the time installed wallpaper, and very often, a coordinating border, on almost every wall, even, on occasion, on the ceilings of their homes. It was dizzying, in retrospect, with a sea of floral, stripe, trellis, or ribbon patterns washing over from one wall to the next, and the next, and the next. It was all very fussy, and almost enough to make you a little seasick. 

The decorating buzzword of the day was “coordinating,” as in: “Every decorative item in the room — from the wallpaper, border, and comforter to the billowy fabric window shade and valance, wastepaper basket, and tissue box — must match.” Wallcoverings manufacturers made wallpapers that could be ordered with all these coordinating items, and more.

Eventually, the wallpaper market became oversaturated, and people stopped buying it. Interior designers weren’t specifying it as often, and homeowners thought it was less expensive and easier to paint rather than install paint’s paper counterpart.

Over the last few years, however, wallpaper has had a comeback, with interior designers and homeowners using it, often on one wall, to make a statement. Wallpaper has become more sophisticated, with patterns and colors that incorporate texture into, and don’t overwhelm, a space. Large-scale florals, light and airy geometrics and metallics comprise some of today’s wallpaper options. They look particularly beautiful in a powder room, or accenting a dining room wall, and often become the focal point — a work of art, so to speak — of a room or space.

Consequently, then, the next time you’re redecorating, consider using wallpaper. It’s a wonderful way to make an interior design fashion statement — as long as it doesn’t match the tissue box!

 

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