The surprising yet exciting comeback of wallpaper

I have been reluctant to announce this but wallpaper is back with a vengeance!

It has been pushing the edges of design for a few years and I have been trying to ignore this once prominent design element because I grew up in a house that was fully and completely wallpapered. My parents love when I reference the houses I grew up in!

The wallpaper books I have been reviewing are actually quite exciting. Patterns are large and bold and the colours are out of this world. Large damask, stripe and art deco inspired prints are emblazoned on metallic finishes and raised patterns – even wallpaper with crushed crystals embedded in the pattern.

Anything goes…anything! Pricing has a vast range from as affordable as paint to cashing in your retirement to pay for the product. It is a very good solution for vamping up a powder room, adding a feature to a bedroom wall or to give architectural detail to a stairwell. I am even considering wallpapering my small bathroom in a ridiculously bold bronze and red stripe.

The claim is that the new wallpaper is easier to install and easier to remove, no longer are you bound to a wallpaper for life with an arm cast quality of adhesive that took the drywall with it when removed!

There is a great deal of peel and stick wall fashions on the market as well, I have seen so many inspirational quotes on clients’ walls which are a miniature form of wallpaper. We have a line of ‘wallpaper’ that is actually made from micro thin veneers of slate stone, flexible rock you can apply to your walls – it is very beautiful and would provide an architectural element without the cumbersome installation of stone.

Children’s rooms are the perfect place to try your hand at wallpapering as whimsy and bright colours are expected in those spaces.

We received a new Crown Wallpaper book called 4 walls kids portfolio and it is magical. Full scale murals, wallpaper BORDERS (I know!) and adorable peel and stick frames and scenes which enable you to personalize with your child’s name or their image. The line of products is very sweet with museum quality graphics and eye-popping colours – I may become a fan of wallpaper after all!

I do recommend that you start small (like I am planning to do in my powder room) so you can get the ‘hang’ of it and get used to the size and look of the pattern before committing to a larger space. These patterns are ferocious and bold and sexy – use with caution! This will take a leap of faith and a firm commitment to pattern and colour so be very sure that you want that certain space boldly highlighted.

Wallpaper is not for the faint of heart, it is a hugely dramatic, in-your-face option that will be a complete and consuming focal point – kind of like dying your hair bright purple. People will stare, friends will gasp and say “I would never do THAT!”

Are you ready for the adventure? Are you up to the challenge of what is in store in the newly redesigned wallpaper of the 21st century? I hope so, there is a lot of fantastic fun in this new/old product.

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

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