“I Love Lucy” made it funny. Bad taste made it ugly. But wallpaper, the often mocked and maligned wall covering, is making a luxurious, tasteful comeback.
It’s easy to find examples of awful wallpaper, and they’re not limited to the discount bin at your local paint store or a storage trunk in your grandmother’s attic. An $18 million Park Avenue co-op that hit the market in July includes room after room of what Curbed NY writer Jessica Daily calls “horrid floral wallpaper.”
Elegant, modern wallpaper is harder to come by — and with some designs selling for $200-plus a yard, it’s not for cheapskate remodelers — but it’s an intriguing option for anyone who wants to add texture and depth to their walls.
Here are three artists and wall covering designers whose creations may make you consider renovating some of your home’s interiors with wallpaper.
Maya Romanoff gives new life and sophistication to a 70s fabric — polyester. His Fabricadazzle wallpaper is composed of partially recycled polyester and is made to resemble a classic, natural fiber weave. The extra-wide wallpaper — 54 inches — can also be ordered as upholstery or drapery. Each roll is 58 yards long. The minimum order is 10 yards.
For those who want sparkle, Maya’s Illinois studio also makes a glass bead-embedded paper called Beadazzled Sparkle Geode. It can give a room a night-sky look, and the flexible paper can cover curved walls, columns and unusual surfaces as well as flat walls.
Maya, who studied at the University of California Berkley during the 1960s, experimented with tie-dye art during that era, bringing the basement project craft to the level of couture. He and his company have grown to “step beyond the ordinary” to align his affinity for organic beauty to “beautiful and unexpected surface coverings.” Maya’s awards include the International Furnishings and Design Association’s Trailblazer Award and the International Contemporary Furniture Fair Editor’s Award.
Samples and rolls of wallpaper can be purchased on the Maya Romanoff website as well as select design centers in the U.S, Europe, Asia, Africa, Middle East, Central and South America, Australia and New Zealand.
Pennsylvania-based York Wallcoverings is returning to its roots. When it opened in 1895, its papers were “printed on presses that laid the paint so it was thick and textured, giving it a hand-painted look,” writes Lisa Selin Davis, of the Wall Street Journal. In 2013, York began using the century-old machines again to make its Sculptured Surfaces collection.
The Sculptured Surfaces collection features designs by Ronald Redding, “one of the most revered and respected designers in the wall covering industry” who has created more than 10 luxury collections for York.
Some wall coverings include recycled glass beads, embroidery, mica, glitter, sand and Swarovski crystals. York wall coverings are available in upscale design studios as well as some chain stores, including Sherwin Williams.
Liza Hathaway Matthews
Liza Hathaway Matthews, a contemporary abstract artist, offers some of her designs as wallpaper and fabrics. Currently, she takes custom orders only. She would love to find a company to print and manufacture her designs on a large scale but hasn’t yet found the right one.
For homeowners and interior designers with a “one of a kind” mentality, Matthews’ lament could prove a strong selling point.
“I want my metallics to have sheen and vibrancy as well as the colors to have the right hues once they are transferred on paper and fabric,” she says.
The Baltimore artist’s work has been featured in Town and Country, Home & Design Magazine, and Luxe Magazine.
Matthews, a contemporary abstract artist, gleans inspiration from nature, design and pattern. She uses oil, acrylic and charcoal pencil to complete her paintings, some of which lend themselves well to wallpaper prints.
Ready to Hang Paper or Hang Up on the Wallpaper Trend?
How do you feel about wallpaper? Have you stripped too many walls of ugly paper during a home renovation to ever consider wall coverings? Or are you tempted by the new designs and textures? Please join the conversation and share your thoughts below.