For better or worse, wallpaper is making a comeback

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

If you watch HGTV home decorating shows like Hometown or Fixer to Fabulous you may have noticed the trend of wallpaper returning.

Some houses may still have layers and layers from the ‘70s, ‘80s or ‘90s but over the last few years it’s come back into fashion. A Vogue magazine article from November of 2021 says Pinterest searches for wallpaper spiked 41 per cent between 2019 and 2020.

The article also says that trends are shifting from minimalist to maximalist. So transitioning from drab neutral colours to more eclectic colours and patterns.

Karen Sockolotuk at Stan’s Carpet and Drapery Centre in Fort Frances says she has noticed the return to popularity as well.

“We used to carry a lot of books where we took orders every day,” she said. “But with painting and faux finishing it kind of fizzled right out.”

They don’t have the same samples these days but they do help people who are looking for wallpaper.

“We still carry a few books but I find that I tell most of my customers to go online, as they have a bigger selection,” she said. “If they have a problem ordering it I can still order it for them or they can bring it in direct from the company.”

Ottawa-based website quotes designer Kristi Blok saying “Wallpaper is back because pattern is back, walls are just another spot to embrace pattern and print.”

Wallpaper is not being used to cover whole rooms all the time but often accent walls or murals are popular choices.

In a blog on Sara McDaniel writes about accent walls, a wall in a room that’s different from the others.

“The accent wall trend has gained tremendous popularity in recent years, and wallpaper is the ultimate tool to create stunning focal points in any room. With its striking patterns and textures, wallpaper can instantly transform a plain wall into a captivating feature. Whether it’s a bold, eye-catching design in a living room or a serene, nature-inspired mural in a bedroom, it can add depth, character, and visual interest to any space.”

Sockolotuk says the same about accent walls.

“(Customers) are doing a lot of feature walls,” She said. “A focal point wall like behind the head of the bed or it could be in the living room around the fireplace, it just adds a bit of warmth. It’s not like years ago when the wallpapered the whole room. Some people have used it for the backing of a cabinet for a little splash of colour.”

In a recent blog post listed several trends for 2024. One of them was flora and fauna: “I think the pairing of flora and fauna will continue to be big in 2024. It creates whimsicality and brings the outdoors inside, and when the tones are dark, it adds a ton of drama to a space,” says Liz Potarazu, CEO and principal designer at LP & Co.

Another trend noted on was putting wallpaper on the ceiling. “Currently, our preferred method of incorporating wallpaper is on the ceiling. We’ve found that this technique yields the most significant impact in transitional areas like hallways. It’s an excellent way to elevate an ordinary space into something more whimsical and thoughtfully designed,” explains Kailee Blalock, co-founder at House of Hive Design Co.

Large scenic murals are also a popular trend, “One of the wallpaper trends for 2024 will be scenic murals. They are transformative and offer more visual interest and special moments than your typical repeat patterns,” says interior designer Sasha Bikoff.

McDaniel also says that wallpaper has gotten easier to manage when it comes to installation and removal.

“Advancements in wallpaper technology have made installation and removal significantly more accessible than in the past. Many modern wallpapers are now designed with self-adhesive backing, eliminating the need for messy paste application,” McDaniel writes. “Additionally, newer materials and techniques allow for clean and straightforward removal without damaging the underlying wall surface. This convenience and flexibility make wallpaper a viable option for homeowners and renters who want to experiment with designs without a long-term commitment.”

So if you’re looking to spruce up a drab room but don’t want to get into the mess of painting, maybe think about taking a step back in time and trying wallpaper. There are lots of companies who ship all across Canada and the helpful team at Stan’s on Scott St. are always willing to lend a hand.