Thursday, August 4, 2016


We have a new client who loves wallpaper. This is somewhat of a flash back. We don't get too many clients with an affinity for wallpaper. Most clients see it as old-fashioned, a harkening back to parents and grandparents and god knows none of us want to be looked at as trendless and stodgy. So I had to do some research, some sole searching and some eating of crow  to find out that wallpaper especially used for feature walls is trending big time.
The simplest use of wallpaper gives a room texture and interest. Imagine this bedroom without the damask inspired wall behind the headboard. Many times I've been stumped as to how to add drama and intrigue to the wall behind a bed. Unless you're taking the headboard up to the ceiling or at least significantly up the wall, that wall can look unfinished and it can dwarf the bed. A curved headboard exacerbates the problem making the use of artwork look as if it's balanced on a pinhead and very uncomfortable. The simple pattern of the wallpaper in this room designed by Valerie Grant Interiors fills the wall in a way no piece of art could.
Wallpaper can also enhance the sense of place and the design inspiration in a way paint alone can't do. Not only does this paper image begin to tell the story of this room but it reinforces the serenity and Asian philosophy that encompasses the space's design aesthetic.
This was the image that started the conversation between my client and me. In making suggestions for a formal dining room in muted greys with touches of silver and gold I came across this image. I thought that in lieu of artwork, adding a dramatic wallpaper on one of the walls would draw one's attention into the room in a way the furniture alone couldn't do.
I had almost forgotten how we had used wallpaper in some previous projects. I found this mural at Anthropologie. It helped to define this nursery in a manner that said childhood without being a themed bedroom, the kind of bedroom that would grow out of fashion after a few months. I'm sorry but making a kid's room into a pirate ship or a Barbie dollhouse loses its charm in seconds and the poor kid is saddled with those Power Rangers long after the kid has moved on to something else.
AliExpress is a company with a division reproducing important pieces of art in sizes big enough to cover an entire wall. Not many of us can afford a real Botticelli and trying to fake your way with reproductions is very tacky but taking important art and blowing up to full wall size can be impressive without resorting to the trick of forgery.
Another technique that comes in the form of wallpaper is the collage.  A  paper consisting of old master drawings and etchings transports this room into a time and place beyond what a few framed pieces on a taupe wall would do. Here scale makes an impact that is hard to ignore.
We employed the same technique using vintage sheet music and posters to a wall in a conference room we designed for a division of Sony Music in Noho in New York.
This use of a map is another way of bringing a sense of place into a room. Even though this is a reproduced map blown up to a huge scale I've also seen this done with vintage maps collaged to fill a wall.
Photographic imagery covering the entire wall can turn an ordinary wall into a true signature wall. This blow-up of concentric cords of rolled up magazine pages adds color and focus.  Even if this wall was painted a single impactful color it wouldn't have the same effect and joy this image brings.
Not surprisingly the comics have also come into play with this wallpaper available through Komar for Disney. Whether you're a kid or an adult this paper is on the edge and very trendy.
Paper has hit the 3D trend and the illusion is breathtaking. The elegance of this wall gives me chills. Produced by Artistic Art Forum the deco inspired trompe l'oeil is mesmerizing. I could look at this wall for hours.

Seascape Fresco, Rome, 2010
Michael Eastman, photographer
Represented by Edwynn Houk Gallery



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