Let's celebrate: wallpaper is here to stay! And that's a godsend for aesthetic and practical reasons. Firstly, the practical; not every house is blessed with smooth, paint ready walls. Sometimes you peel away that lurid or dowdy paper and discover an ugly surface. Then, wallpaper can cover a thousand sins and no one need ever know what lies beneath. With walls, sometimes beauty really is only skin deep! If it's really awful, lining paper can be used under wall paper for extra camouflage. Lining paper can also help if you're papering over bright paint with pale paper, so that the colour doesn't show through.
Fashion aside, high end wallpaper has always been a thing of beauty. For absolute, jaw dropping, mind blowing opulence, you can't go past De Gournay. De Gournay bespoke wallpapers are hand painted onto silk. Some papers are covered almost entirely with gold or silver leaf.
Left to right: Badminton on 22k gold guilded silk, Portobello
Left to right: Temple Newsam, Willow on sterling sliver
Above and below: Windswept Blossom, Erlham in custom design colours
De Gournay's designs are not subtle but they are the best example I know of, of what can be achieved with wall paper if you bold. As with desserts; the full fat option is just better!
For those of us who are not Marie Antoinette here some wallpaper options that are (more or less) affordable and very inspirational.
One of my all time favourite wallpaper sources is Spoonflower. Spoonflower is one of the most amazing online shops (more about that another day). Here you can choose from a range of wallpaper and fabric patterns or upload your own designs and they will print them onto fabric or wallpaper for you.
In my opinion, one of the coolest designers on Spoonflower is Holli Zollinger. Her colour schemes are genius. They're different, they're exciting, but you could easily live with them (or I could anyway). Her Elephant and Umbrellas and Foxen designs are whimsical but contemporary at the same time. At last count there were 544 different patterns and colour ways in Holli’s shop; more there than I could hope to represent. So hop on over to Spoonflower and check them out!
It would be impossible to talk about wallpaper and not mention legendary Australian designer Florence Broadhurst. Broadhurst opened her wallpaper business in 1959 and continued producing paper until her death in 1977. As much as 54 years on, her designs still look as though they could have been created yesterday. If you want to go bold with wallpaper, Broadhurst is a fail safe way to go. You would be hard pressed to make these designs look bad.
Horses Stampede is one of my all time Broadhurst favourites. The design has a beautiful undulating movement to it that conjures up thoughts of brumbies wild and proud. Guaranteed to add energy to any room and to make you walk a little taller every time you see it.
If you are a fan of De Gournay's designs, then Broadhurst's Egrets will strike a chord.
Japanese Floral is the first Broadhurst design I ever saw and I still love it.
Cockatoos would be at home in any house
I can’t pretend that Broadhurst papers are cheap, but buy a roll and use it creatively. Paper a wall, an alcove, frame a piece or lay it underneath glass on a table top or behind glass on a kitchen splash back. A little of something wonderful is so much better than a lot of something passé.
Wallpaper is not quite as popular in New Zealand as it is overseas (especially in Britain) but Vision Wall Covering's Fantail is my kiwi favorite It has been around for a while now and has all the makings of a classic; it's bold but liveable and that fantail reference really resonates.
So there you have it. An ode to wall papers. Searching for wall papers on the internet is a scavenger hunt; one brilliant find leads to another. How anyone ever commits to hanging just one on the wall, I don't know!