Designs On The Walls

For many, the idea of wallpaper conjures images of bad floral patterns courtesy of labor- and time-intensive installation. But thanks to a bevy of technological advances and an endless array of looks, materials and makers, today's wallpaper can be aneasy and beautiful addition to any home style.

H&D tackles off-the-wall- paper myths by debunking common concerns home owners might have regarding design and installation. So, if the room needs a face-lift, tear down these five tired old wallpaper hang-ups to make room for displaying beautiful walls :


Wallpaper is stuffy and old-fashioned. The real deal: Although wallpaper has been around for hundreds of years, it remains fashion forward. In fact, the fashion industry continues to embrace modern wallpaper by utilizing its patterns in advertising campaigns and pictorials for magazines such as Vogue. Hand-printed, custom, lim¬ited-edition and designer prints created by artists or those in the fashion industry help wallpaper stay ahead of the trends. Wallpaper goes great with the trend toward natural looking, rustic wood, or when softening a modern space. In addition, if properly selected wallpaper gives almost any space a finished and polished appearance.


Wallpaper is limiting. The real deal: Wallpaper is only limited by a homeowners imagination or budget. The old restrictions of wallpaper no longer apply Homeowners can mix and match wallpaper patterns, textures and styles in a home, room or even on a single wall. Fancy a horizontally striped pattern but want it to run vertically? Go for it. By keeping styles and colors of papers complementary, homeowners can get away with mix¬ing, matching and reconfiguring until the interior decorators come home. Try using a large-scale pattern in a small room for an especially striking effect. In fact, wallpaper most popularly is used in small spaces. Designers especially enjoy incorporating paper into a petite powder room to give the impression its more than simply a sink and toilet.


Wallpaper and modernism don't mix. The real deal: Indians love affair, with modern design has only deepened in the last decade. But minimalist modern interiors sometime feel too sterile to be comfortable. As a solution, designers often apply graphic paper on a single wall. They also will juxtapose a traditional pattern — such as floral or chinoiserie in vibrant, updated colors — with clean-lined, contemporary or rustic-modern furnishings. xMiller says the growing popularity of graphically bold black-and-white prints, vibrant colors and large-scale patterns reflects modern aesthetics. Wallpaper also utilizes the latest "green" materials for the environmentally conscious homeowner. These include sustainable grasses, bamboo and cork; recycled materials; and low-VOC inks.


Wallpaper is time-consuming, labor- intensive and expensive to hang or remove. The real deal: New technologies continue to advance wall¬paper installation and removal. Easy-hang wallpapers are known as "nonwoven" or "high-performance" papers. Installing this type of tear-resistant wallpaper can be faster even than painting, once homeowners take into account prepping walls for paint, applying multiple coats and drying time in between. Easy-hang wallpapers can be repositioned without damage to paper or walls. This also makes them reusable. Nonwoven wallpapers do not expand or contract, so there isn't a need for "booking," or folding, wallpaper for a few minutes to allow for such expansion. Once this type of paper is up in its final position, its seams should not separate. Wallpaper removal also has come a long way in the last few decades. Steamers, strippers and chemical solvents are not necessary with nonwoven or high-performance papers. These papers can be removed in minutes with a firm tug at a corner.


There's no art to wallpapered walls. The real deal: With its repeating pattern, wallpaper is de¬signed to shine behind the scenes. As a background element, it is intended to be a unifying detail that complements art, furniture and other decor within a room. Even if a wallpaper design is bold or colorful, it should complement, rather than compete with, the right art.