Wallpaper has never gone out of style. But it’s also had a hard time shedding its reputation as old-fashioned and intimidatingly permanent—until now, that is. Wallpaper, and perhaps the design industry in general, is simultaneously loosening up and embracing nostalgia. As Manhattan designer Danielle Colding tells Natipernavigare, “everything that’s old is new again,” and “there are no rules anymore.” Today, wallpaper represents the harmonious union between timeless design and youthful innovation, depth and buoyancy.
So if you've been avoiding it because it seems impossible to take down or could make a home feel dated, we're here to change your minds. Aside from architectural nuances and major renovations, wallpaper is the best way to personalize a room. Its sole purpose is to breathe life into a space and make it feel like your own. If anything, the revival of wallpaper tells us it’s time to be fearless and have a little fun. So read on for five modern and bold wallpaper trends that give the old school design choice a fresh new look.
Standard repeating patterns are pretty, but "non-repeating murals possess so much possibility, says Payton Cosell Turner, cofounder of Flat Vernacular. Like painted murals, they are the best storytellers of a space, with the capacity to communicate and capture moods, themes, and aspirations. These hand painted, hand printed murals cover your walls in fine art from floor to ceiling and draw upon the beauty of transience, imperfection, and the earth that grounds us. Some are abstract while others are scenic, but all will transport you to a world beyond your walls.
In the digital age, innovation is endless. Modern, photorealist interpretations of classic designs are popping up everywhere, whether it’s a botanical print contemporized or a graphic, digitalized geometric pattern inspired by a blueprint. “I’d like to see these concepts evolve even more and incorporate modern architectural moments” mixed with organic touches, designer Britt Zunino of Studio DB tells us. Turner also loves geometric “patterns that change gradually over the course of a wall," as they can bring a nice sense of movement while still feeling modern.
“The world always needs more chintz,” L.A.-based interior design guru Emily Henderson aptly notes. And lucky for us, gone are the florals that look like they smell of mothballs. Designers are now laying traditional schemes, like toile in quirky motifs and electric tones, for prints as whimsical as they are sophisticated. Or, if the wallpaper itself is a classic trad, they look incredible when paired with offbeat and unexpected architecturally modern furniture and decor pieces. Designed this way, "even a classic like de Gournay doesn't take itself too seriously," says Colding. That juxtaposition between cutting-edge and tradition is just so fresh and interesting.
While there’s definitely no shortage of bold, forward-thinking wallpaper trends, we’re also seeing a more subtle approach. Translation: Beige does not have to be boring. That is, so long as there is real or perceived texture, interactions with light, or even a two-dimensional design. Zunino mentions seeing more grasscloths and faux suedes, which are particularly well-suited for the color-averse. These will bring depth a space without insisting upon the spotlight. Monochromatic iterations of a bolder hue continue to maintain a presence, too. If you're thinking, "no way, we always need color," look for an Impressionistic take on clouds in the sky. Ombrés, low-contrast marbleized prints, and tonal faux suedes will bring depth to room without stealing the spotlight.
Painterly, watercolor-inspired designs are continuing to reign supreme. “Variations on this theme, either over-blown or a microprint patterns, make it feel fresh and modern,” Zunino tells us. These wallcoverings incorporate an artistic approach to become works of arts themselves. Think rich pigments, evocative brushstrokes, and a whimsical elegance.
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