Bold colours and wallpaper making a comeback

Working in design allows me to experience many new and exciting materials for home design.

Being in design for as many years as I have been also allows me to see colours and materials come full circle, some design trends I love and others I wish would stay in the past!

One of the exciting ‘new’ products on the market is wallpaper, a few years ago we were visited by a rep who told us that wallpaper was coming on strong in design.

I must say that I was skeptical remembering the velvet damask wallpaper in my childhood home – who would want something on their walls that can’t be washed? It is official, wallpaper has made a comeback and I have to tell you that it is glamorous and beautiful. We are using wallpaper in small accent places instead of a full room treatment and the results are stunning.

Other than the exciting new patterns and colours wallpaper has stayed the same over the generations in terms of application and cost. Wallpaper costs more per square foot than the most exotic hardwood but provides a high impact feature wherever it is installed.

A highly patterned wallpaper is effective for covering walls with surface flaws, older plaster or just to give a room a designer look. Some wallpaper is even paintable and can be customized for every décor with a fresh coat of paint.

Another interesting design I have seen make a reappearance is washed (pickled) woods such as oak and maple. This was a very popular colour for cabinets and floors in the late 80’s early 90’s and I am surprised that it has returned so soon to popular design. Flooring manufacturers are issuing bleached and vanilla coloured boards which are a delicious contrast to the deep espresso furniture that is so popular today.

We are also seeing this trend returning in cabinets, it is a refreshing brightness in kitchens and bathrooms after so many years with ultra dark wood.

With the return of retro inspired styles also come retro colourings for interior product. I’m happy to report that beige is being outsold by actual colour in flooring and furnishings!

Colours are bright and vivacious and used in bolder choices such as carpets and furniture. People are coming out of their neutral trance and actually purchasing boldly coloured sofas, draperies and flooring. As a designer, I’m very excited to be able to decorate with colour once again. The past 10 years have been very monochromatic for me.

Lighting has also come to the party. If you haven’t shopped for lighting lately and even if you aren’t in the market for a new fixture – go window-shopping for lights. Our next door neighbor Red Deer Lighting is like the Tiffany’s of lighting stores, walking into their shop is a feast for the eyes.

Lighting is reminiscent of the 70’s globe and drum barrel fixtures with the addition of old world glass and crystal droplets hanging from retro fixtures. It is a heavenly blend of retro and classic with that extra tidbit of glam dripping from the fixtures.

There are many new products bringing back styles from the past, you may see something that reminds you of your first college apartment (shag carpeting) or may discover a love for a colour you had forgotten about. Check out what is new and get inspired!

Kim Lewis is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre. Feel free to contact her at 403-343-7711 ext 227 or email her at