Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Not Your Mama's Wallpaper

I'm just now starting to accept the adage of "What's old is new again", especially as I see things that I wore in fifth grade coming back into style. Its hard for me sometimes (lookin' at you, acid wash baggy jorts, you'll never not look like a denim diaper). But one thing I've been waiting anxiously to come back into style is wallpaper. 

There was a movement that lasted for a while of clean, bare walls. Its great for magazine spreads, but I really appreciate a room with personality, with interest. People have been embracing stenciled walls, wall murals, and accent walls, so I figured it was only a matter of time before people realized that wallpaper is no longer your grandma's decorating tool. I feel like blogs like Oh Joy! have started to usher it back to trend.

When Total Wallcovering asked me to pick a collection of favorites, I thought it might be a great chance to pull from my Wallpaper Folder (yes, this does exist, for dreams of when I stay in an apartment for more than a year or so) and take a look at how to recreate snapshots from beautiful homes in your own place.

As you've seen in my house, I'm obsessed with polka dot accent walls. I did mine in with individual dots, but if you're hesitant because of peeling paint, or you don't want to go through the trouble of tracing, cutting, and sticking on all the dots, you can go the pre-styled route with pre-pasted dotted paper.

At $12.99 a roll, and pre-pasted, an accent wall could come together in less than an afternoon and still under budget.

Pre-Pinterest, I had this image from Domino Magazine saved in my design folders on my desktop through the course of three different laptops. I LOVE toile, and I feel like in a modern color scheme, moving away from the traditional blue and white, it is a really unexpected pop of interest in a room. You don't see it a lot in homes, so when you do its a great deviation from a style Fuck Your Noguchi Coffee Table-style ubiquity. (Is it wrong that i go to FYNCT for design ideas, by the way?)

I love how this toile also has the traditional patterns, but in a more cheerful color scheme.

Sometimes I feel like exposed brick is a myth that design blogs and trendy sitcoms have concocted to make every one of my apartments feel inferior. How come all of the F*R*I*E*N*D*S and everyone on Design*Sponge has a brick wall and I don't?? Is having an asterix in your name the secret?? Maybe they just aren't a Chicago apartment staple. That being said, I think it would be fun to do a trompe l'oeil brick wall in an apartment, specifically in a smaller place like the kitchen backsplash above. 

A brick wallpaper like this one would wipe clean, and I love that it's not sketched or cartoony, but would actually give a space that industrial aesthetic.

If you have a strict landlord, are nervous about hanging wallpaper yourself, or are on a smaller budget, wallpapering the back of a bookcase is also good way to introduce a focal point without having to commit to a whole room of pattern, which can be harder to execute.

Like this grasscloth-backed bookcase could be easily recreated with an Ikea BILLY and a roll of this grasscloth paper.

Finally, I couldn't find any inspiration pictures for this one that I found and am obsessed with, because its totally its own style, but is awesome:

It's called Pucker Up Buttercup, which already makes it great. But I want like, a wall of sassy ladies in my bathroom, or a powder room if I was a fancy bitch with a powder room.

Finally, because I Can't Stop, Won't Stop, please vote for Radical Possibility in the Apartment Therapy Homies! We just gotta make it to the top six to get to the next round, and though we're there now, it's close!


this post was brought to you by total wallcovering. my opinions are my own. thank you for supporting the sponsors that help me keep this blog possible.


  1. i like genuinely really love wallpaper.

    1. ME TOO. i feel like it can go cozy or luxe, but i love it either way.


    omg how do I trick my boyfriend into letting me put that somewhere?? Maybe the inside of my closet?

    1. 1.) wait until he falls asleep
      2.) hang wallpaper in closet
      3.) "whats that babe? oh, it came with the house."

  3. I'm cracking up over the Noguchi blog. Thank you for that!

  4. the 'pucker up buttercup' is a blatant ripoff of Charles Dana Gibson's original 'gibson girls' illustrations and wallpaper designs. He drew them sometime in the early 1900s so I'm sure they're not under copyright, but it's disheartening that this wallpaper site is making no mention of the original artist and just marketing these as somehow original.

  5. omg, i love the wallpaper with the ladies on it. I am totally buying some of this for our new bathroom!

  6. Hi Meg, I'm a writer at Apartment Therapy, and I'm interested in doing a tour of your home. I tried to email you earlier this year, but I'm not sure if you received my email. If you're interested, please shoot me an email. I'd love to make something happen! (carolynpurnell at gmail dot com)

  7. these are all so nice! i know i wouldn't be able to actually wallpaper a wall but i'm seriously thinking of doing a bookcase once i figure out how lol

  8. I am not able to click on the 12.99 to see what brand of wallpaper you are talking about. Could you please re-paste the link : ) Thanks!


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