November 19, 2010

What's New in Wallpaper

Wallpaper is undergoing a major revival in terms of colors, fibers, design and usage.  Based on interviews with representatives from some of this country's leading wallcovering manufacturers, a picture has emerged of an industry on the cusp of a significant shift.

With this posting we start a three part series devoted to the changing look of wallcovering. In the past, walls were covered with a product that was primarily paper or cellulose-based material--hence the term wallpaper.  And, the general public continues to refer to the product as wallpaper, even though over the years the materials have evolved to include a broad range of substrates that provide superior adhesion and ease of removal to say nothing of advancement in the manufacturing process itself that makes the end-product ecologically sound.  Due to the changing composition of wall products, the industry term wallcovering was coined which covers the full range of offerings.

Kristen Doyle has been in the industry for 24 years, most recently with York Wallcoverings.  As an Account Manager for York, Kris has seen the shift in wallcovering usage to include many custom designs that feature dramatic wallcovering patterns used as accent pieces to complement more traditional applications. In much the same way as the right accessory can make the outfit, the right wallpaper placed in the right spot adds dimension, warmth and excitement to any room.  In the photo below Kris is sharing some of the new dynamic York patterns.
Over a century of wallcovering expertise: The hand-30 years, Kris-24 years, Gary-55 years
When asked to talk about industry trends, Kris had this to say, "a fast growing segment is in the Room Mates line which offers self-adhesive decals and appliques".  These products are perfectly suited to children and teenagers' rooms because they are easily installed and just as easily repositioned.  Enhancing this line is York's stable of Disney characters.  York recently acquired the Disney character license and they have been introducing exciting new products based on some of the favorite Disney icons.  There are also decals of some of our leading sports teams including a full line of Ohio State symbols.

 Other trends that Kris referenced include the popularity of paintable patterns.  Usually offered in standard white (it would be kind of hard to show a white on white pattern on this blog), these paintables are offered in many different textures and enable you to create a custom look without a custom price tag.  This is a perfect solution for individuals who have a very specific look in mind.

Kris also commented on the very interesting designs that are showing up in transitional patterns which blend the best of traditional and contemporary looks.  In the same vein, damasks which have always been popular, are now showing up as large scale patterns creating a traditional look in an unconventional way.  A younger audience is using dramatic new designs in unique applications--think accent piece above a fireplace mantel instead of a painting or mounted in frames or covering a wall behind a bed in lieu of a headboard.  One of my favorite application ideas is to use a mural in a half-bath.  If the room is small enough one mural would be able to wrap the entire bathroom.  A tropical beach scene or a Paris street scene could make this a standout attraction.

A really exciting addition to wallcovering is the addition of sand and glass beads to create dimensional, textural surfaces that take any room from the ordinary to the extraordinary.  Everyone is starting to re-discover wallpaper and designers are adding it to their extended line including the home maven herself,  Martha Stewart.  Outside of the USA, China, Russia and India have become primary players in the wallpaper resurgence.

Popular wallcovering colors and textures are: Spa Blue, Aqua Pear, Mineral Green, Burnished Metallics, Velvety Browns, Animal Skin patterns and cork textures.

Hop onboard the Wallpaper Express.  Whatever your design preferences, there is something for you in the vast array of wallcovering offerings.

Wallpaper is Moving Up

Wallpaper is moving up the design chain
It no longer is a homeowner's bane

With green ways of creating
And removal concerns abating

 New patterns add a homey edge
That helps one their home decor hedge

Against boredom and decorating blight
Though some combos can cause a mini fright

But in the end, the result is pure charm and glee
It is not enough to let a barren wall be

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