Did you know that it is possible to have an overwhelming emotional response to wallpaper? It is indeed. I was sixteen years old when wallpaper first hit me hard: I walked through the front door of my family’s apartment, having just been unceremoniously dumped by my gorgeous and much-fawned-over French boyfriend, only to discover that in my four-hour absence my parents had covered the kitchen walls in paper adorned with French love poems. I plunked myself directly down on the kitchen floor and cried.
The next time wallpaper made me tear up was a decidedly better experience: my downstairs neighbor, Stephen Haskell, offered to paper a couple of walls in our living room with leftover rolls produced by the designer wallpaper company he runs, Cavern Home. When I saw the results, my heart went all aflutter: my semi-dilapidated, cream-colored, decidedly run-of-the-mill living room had been transformed into a thing of beauty. I now watch episodes of America’s Next Top Model happily ensconced in a piece of art.
I sat down with Stephen to ask him a few questions about the best ways to use wallpaper in small spaces, and where wallpaper trends are headed.
What are your favorite ways to use wallpaper in small spaces?
Wallpaper can utterly transform a small space. I always say that your walls are your biggest canvas – they’re your greatest opportunity to make a design statement. I’m a big proponent of using wallpaper on a single accent wall, which is not only more affordable than covering an entire room, but also allows you to choose a more graphic pattern, perhaps one that would be too loud if it covered the whole room. I’m also a huge fan of wallpapering your ceiling, which adds a surprising element to any space.
Love it! So what are some other fun ways to incorporate wallpaper into your décor?
Wallpaper can be used in so many ways beyond the traditional wall coverings – it can work well as small splashes of color and pattern on your kitchen cabinets, the back of a bookshelf, or behind a door. You can also frame and hang pieces of wallpaper as if they were paintings. This is nice because it leaves your wall intact and allows you to take the art with you when you move, so I’ve seen renters go in this direction. I also once saw a refrigerator covered in wallpaper…it looked fantastic!
Um…my refrigerator might be getting a facelift – that idea is awesome! I love Cavern Home’s styles; what are some of your favorite looks?
My favorite wallpaper styles are bold, graphic, and sophisticated. I love wallpaper that reveals something unexpected when examined closely: when the pattern works as a large-scale repeat, but then on closer inspection you realize that it’s actually made up of something like horses or tigers. I also especially like patterns that blur the line between wallpaper and art: in Cavern Home’s “Artist Edition Series,” Tom Slaughter’s “Watertowers” and Miky Fabrega’s “Identica” are both patterns created from original artwork for interior design consumption.
Lately I’ve noticed a lot of throwback patterns based on styles popular in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Where do you think the trends are headed?
I think modern wallpaper as a trend shows no signs of stopping. With recent developments in digital printing technology, we’re now seeing more texture and color gradation than the traditional process of silk screening allows. As designers push the limits of the medium and as home decorators get inspired to make bolder design decisions, I think we’ll be seeing graphic patterns for years to come.
I am so totally on board with this trend, and am presently scouring our apartment for more things to wallpaper (my husband is restraining me from attacking our refrigerator with a glue stick). I’m thinking lampshades, hanging art, bookshelves…just so long as I steer clear of French sonnets, I think it’ll all work out beautifully.
Jordan Reid can also be found blogging at Ramshackle Glam.