Dear Readers, This column is just for you. Every other week, I’ll answer one of your interior design questions. Just send me an email with your question and I’ll reply right here. This week’s question:
“You wrote about the popularity of wallpaper last week. I like wallpaper but worry that it will go out of style sooner rather than later. It’s not always easy to remove it, and painting over it never looks good. How long do you think this trend will last and do you have any tips in case I decide to use it?”
In 2014, I wrote a column, “The wallpaper revival.” I wrote it after seeing much of it on display during a trip to the Design Center. It wasn’t just paper but fabric, grass, vinyl, metal, and cork. It was coming back in big, bold, graphic, and colorful patterns and textures. Given that this was five years ago and that virtually all walls (and ceilings) in this year’s 18,000 square foot San Francisco Decorator Showcase was covered with this type of treatment, I don’t see the trend going away soon.
Your question reminded me of a formal dining room that I frequented in college. It was in the house belonging to my roommate’s parents. It was a beautiful, old home in Hillsborough. The dining room walls were covered in a hand-painted treatment. I now don’t remember if it was paper or silk. But, decades later, it is still there, still stunning, and not the least bit dated. So, whether a wall covering is new to the market or was designed years ago, the point is, good design is good design and that will never go out of style.
Many people hesitate to make out-of-the-box commitments when it comes to decorating their homes. The commitments don’t even need to be terribly expensive or labor-intensive. It just takes a bit of self-confidence or a sense of adventure (or trust – if working with a designer) to stretch the norm. Many years ago, I wanted a client to paint her foyer ceiling persimmon orange but I couldn’t get her over the finish line. We eventually chose a soft green. It was pretty but, in my opinion, persimmon would have been spectacular especially with her dark, wood-paneled walls and crown molding.
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If you like to change your décor frequently, today’s wall coverings tend to be easier to remove than before. There are strippable coverings that can be removed without water or chemicals and don’t leave an adhesive residue. There are also coverings that peel off the wall, which may leave some residue but can be removed with soap and water.
If you are still hesitant, think about using it in a small room. Powder rooms are a perfect place. Or, take a look at your ceilings. Is there an area that is easily outlined by walls or molding? A foyer or a formal dining room are good places to look. If you have a traditional home with chair rails or wainscot, you could just cover the space above or below it.
The price of wallcoverings range as wide as the choices available. They can be $25 to $500 a roll and can also be priced per square foot. This all depends on the materials, design, and the way it is manufactured. Having seen so many fantastic designs these past few years, I’m sending you a little nudge to go for it!
Have a question? Send to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Ask a Designer” in the subject line.