If the walls could talk, they would have plenty to discuss these days. The renewed interest in wallpapers has exploded in recent years, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down.

“From reimagined vintage patterns to modern 60s graphic designs, there is wallpaper for every aesthetic imaginable,” said interior designer Penny Francis, owner of Eclectic Home and co-designer with her architect daughter. interior Casi St. Julian of their own line. of wallpapers.

Francis said the renewed popularity of wallpapers is an extension of a larger trend – that of manufacturers and designers using social media “as a medium to showcase amazing products and installations.”

A design by Amber Ivey from the Best of the South collection.

Computers also influenced the wallpaper renaissance by making them easier, and in some cases less expensive, to produce. In the past, items were blocked by hand, screen printed by hand or screen printed by rotation. Today, they can be printed digitally, which means they can be made on demand.

Interior designer Nomita Joshi Gupta, of Spruce, a Magazine Street wallpaper and fabric showroom, said today’s wide array of options spans the gamut of traditional papers that have a lasting quality – such as those with elegant Chinese motifs, allover patterns, flowers, plants, and retro-inspired tropical palms, to name a few. On the luxury end of the spectrum, she said, there are papers that can be hand painted, embroidered, and even dazzled.

One of Gupta’s favorite ways to use wallpaper is with a custom mural. Some lines offer hand-painted creations; others can be ordered in custom sizes.

“I consider (a mural) a work of art,” she said.

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Local designer Chad Grace favors the use of premium wallpapers for his clients.

Texture and material trends

Textured papers, while not a new idea, are another way for designers to feed consumer appetites for wall coverings. Grass tissue papers, popular in the mid-20th century, regained favor, but innovations in textured papers include everything from the look and feel of stone to lacquer paint and leather.

“I love all the grass, hemp, and natural woven papers that add texture and depth to a space,” Francis said. “Phillip Jeffries, Thibaut, House of Hackney, Cole and Son, Flavor Paper, Schumacher and Flat Vernacular are just a few of the many we love to explore.”

While some papers look to the past for aesthetic inspiration, the materials used for the papers are more environmentally friendly than before. When produced with lots of toxins, Gupta said contemporary papers are made with water-based inks and glues and environmentally friendly practices. They’ve improved in other ways as well – there are washable, easy-to-clean selections and non-flammable papers for commercial environments.

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A design by Robert Malmberg of Pensacola, Florida from the Best of the South collection.

Southern collective

Two years ago, Mark Baker, an independent sales representative who has covered the design market for over 40 years, saw such creativity among designers in his southern territory that he created a website called Best of the South Collective (www.bestofthesouthcollective. Com) to showcase their products in one place.

It includes the Storyville-inspired After Dark wallpaper line designed by Francis and St. Julian of Eclectic Home, wallpapers with native scenes by local artist Annie Moran and offerings from Gupta’s Spruce Collection, as well as papers designed by artisans in Dallas, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama and South Carolina.

“Wallpaper used to be very expensive to produce and it couldn’t be produced on demand,” Baker said. “You had to produce a big series and store it and hope it would sell. With digital printing, that’s an almost immediate gratification.

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The soft colors of this jungle wall mural, designed by Floridia resident Nicolette Mayer, make it restful enough for a bedroom.

That immediacy, coupled with the collective’s mix of talent and the artists’ unique perspectives, has been a winning combination, although COVID-19 has repeatedly delayed the collective’s launch party in New Orleans, now scheduled for January.

Designer Shawn O’Brien, of Shawn O’Brien Interiors, who used Annie Moran’s “City Park” paper in a client’s home, said she uses wallpaper more because of the vast range of choices available.

“It used to be that the look was very expensive and a decorative painter could do something more special,” she said. “Today the possibilities are endless and it’s instantaneous when you add wallpaper to a wall. “

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A design by South Carolina resident Teresa Roche from the Best of the South collection.


Spend what you want

Professionally applied wallpaper is always more of an investment than painting. For best results, Gupta advises seeing and touching the paper in person rather than purchasing it online and having it professionally installed.

But papers come in a variety of prices and can be used inexpensively. Designers’ suggestions include framing a paper like a work of art, applying it to a single element wall, using it in a niche, at the back of a bookcase, in a small room. like a powder room, above wainscoting, in a fireplace or on the ceiling.

“For those with model engagement issues, small spaces are a great place to start,” said Francis.

Interior designer Chad Graci, of Graci Interiors, who said he has always used wallpaper in his projects, adds that the use of bold wallpaper in powder rooms with weird architectural issues, like the one hidden under a staircase, helps to hide imperfections and enlarges the space. .

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Local designer Penny Francis ‘Tassle’ wallpaper.

Graci’s classic aesthetic has long made him a fan – and a design client – of exquisite, hand-painted, customizable papers designed by British design house de Gournay and American firm Gracie, two of the most successful designers. respected wallpaper in the market.

“These are the two I’m starting out with, and I back down if the price is prohibitive,” he said of the premier resources and their timeless wallpapers.

Local flavor

In New Orleans, Graci likes to use customizable papers to add a personalized regional touch to a client’s decor – palm leaves, magnolias, Spanish moss, a heron or a pelican, for example.

Ultimately, designers agree that wallpaper is not just a sure-fire way to transform a space, but an endless avenue for the individuality of your surroundings.

“People love it,” Gupta said. “It’s a great form of self-expression.”

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