Many in the interior design industry thought wallpaper had reached its zenith during the hippie revolution of the 1960’s and ‘70’s and would, thankfully, fade away forever. The days of walls covered with garish orange and green geometric patterns and accented with peeling corners would quietly die away. But, after spending several decades being considered a design pariah, wallpaper has made a roaring comeback.
Wallpaper has only been around since the mid 1700’s developed during the reign of Louis XV when it was considered an embellishment to highlight excessive wealth. Wallpaper created from silk, velvet and gold thread became extravagant statements of power. Over the past 300 years some wallpapers have become classics. William Morris created Willow Bough in 1887 and it is still being produced today.
Hand-block design processes that were considered art were difficult to re-create using modern machinery and some of these processes were lost to history. In the mid twentieth century, patterns were cheaply produced to represent social movements, artistic rebellion or political statements, following trends that proved short-lived. Home owners feared the curse of out of style wallpapers limiting their ability to resell their home. Wallpaper’s popularity rose quickly and fell quickly until its use practically fading away.
Today, wallpaper’s ability to add depth, texture and pattern to a room make it an almost indispensable addition to current interior designs. New production techniques have added higher quality, richer colors and extended durability. Wallpaper has finally found a new stability brought about by designer’s ability to allow the wallpaper to become a gentle, soothing bedroom background or a dramatic Indian landscape covering an entire dining room. Today wallpaper is no longer simply available in paper. Some brighten a room with metallic surfaces, some soften a room with highly textural linens and some bring nature into a room with grasscloths.
Wallpaper has once again become an art, available to the masses, with a quality that can endure for generations. When we want to add interest and beauty to a room, wallpaper once again shines and offers us so many possibilities to enjoy and love.
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