Popping up everywhere, from bathroom walls to kitchen ceilings and even cabinet interiors, wallpaper has officially made a comeback. The beauty of wallpaper is it allows you to infuse a touch of individuality into your living space — whether you choose a subtle floral pattern or a bold geometric design. We asked local Nashville design experts to share their wisdom when it comes to selection, hanging and more, and here are the suggestions they made:
- Seek inspiration
- Start with a small space
- Consider going bold
- Embrace the artistry
- Get creative with location
- Let your home tell a story
- Research the best resources
- Opt for professional installation
- Have fun and go for it!
Rowanne McKnight, co-owner of Julia Kipling, a locally owned bespoke wallpaper company, tells us, “When looking for wallpapers, search Instagram, Pinterest or your local paint store to narrow down what you like. Then, go ahead and make that appointment with your favorite designer and wallpaper installer. They will be an asset, we promise!”
Julie Couch, of Julie Couch Interiors, suggests we might find our creative spark in current trends such as big, bold patterns and exciting grasscloths. “My current favorites are from Phillip Jeffries — watercolors on grasscloth, which are artful and organic, and Cole and Son patterns like Nuvolette and Ludlow. They feel a little retro but very sophisticated,” she says.
Start with a small space.
Sometimes taking the conservative approach is your best bet. Julie says, “I think it’s best to start small and try a wallpaper you love in a powder room or on a dining room ceiling. It really gives you a feel for how much color or pattern you’ll want to live with. Wallpaper really does make the space feel very special, and it’s a simple way to personalize your home.”
Consider going bold.
Ashley Meier, of Ashley Meier Interiors, shares, “I used [a wallpaper] called Valdivia from Anthropologie last year, as well as marbleized and agate patterns, which are all beautiful. I especially love the marbleized patterns, but I think going this direction only makes sense if one of them happens to work within the existing decor, and you love them.”
She also says Ink Blot in Gris, by Porter Toleo, is a favorite. “I haven’t had the chance to use it yet, but I’ve seen it in entryways and on ceilings, and I think it’s just brilliant. Each roll is unique — they are handmade on Japanese papers. I love bold uses of black and white, and the organic forms, so this is at the top of my list. Other favorites are Brunschwig & Fils‘ ‘Les Touches’ — I love the movement, and it can be used a thousand ways and combines so well with other fabrics. Also, Schumacher‘s ‘Fern Tree.’ I am getting ready to install it in my bedroom in the Sky colorway.”
Embrace the artistry.
Wallpaper murals are taking the design world by storm, an artistic expression that offers a variation on the typical patterned wallpaper covering. We first introduced you to artist Charlotte Terrell last year in this article, shortly after her first custom artwork-turned-wallpaper was installed. The trend continues to gain in popularity in various artistic presentations.
Elizabeth J. Williams, of New Hat Projects, which specializes in custom wallcoverings, says, “We worked with local designer Jessica Stambaugh this year to create two wallpaper murals that were fitted above custom benches and framed out with connecting millwork for local yoga studio Hola Yoga. It’s a beautiful result that treats the wallpaper like a piece of art.”
New Hat’s Kelly Diehl adds, “People are looking to wallcovering to create immersive artworks for both commercial and residential interiors. Happily, the artist collaboration remains a trend you can spot throughout the international design industry inspiring products like fine china, rugs, textiles, and wallcoverings, among others.”
Get creative with location.
When contemplating placement, the experts say you shouldn’t be afraid to think outside the box. Elizabeth of New Hat says, “Ceilings are at the top of the list this year, which we approve of even though a common reaction to wallpapering a ceiling is something like, ‘No thanks, that will be a pain to remove.’ The reality is many wallpapers these days are more accurately called ‘wallcoverings’ because no actual paper is involved. Therefore, there’s no torturous, piecemeal stripping. The way contemporary wallcoverings are engineered makes removal a cinch, especially when installed properly in the first place.”
She goes on to add, “We’d be remiss if we didn’t also mention hallways and powder rooms will forever be ideal places to make an unexpected and bold statement with wallpaper.”
JoAnne of J. Haynes Interiors shares several creative ways to up your wallpaper installation game. “We are especially enjoying some of the newer looks inside bookcases or built-in cabinets,” she offers. “By pulling an accent color from the room as a backdrop for accessories, the space becomes far more interesting and more a part of the room.” She also suggests considering one accent wall behind a bed, saying, “This treatment imparts character to the room while still leaving alternatives for the completion of the room.”
Let your home tell a story.
“As far as the best way to incorporate wallpaper in a home, make sure it either works with your existing decor (if you are happy with it) or it is part of a new design scheme you love,” advises Ashley Meier. “I think homes are most impactful when they tell a story from room to room, so spend some time thinking through whether or not the wallpaper contributes to your overall aesthetic. It is always hardest to practice restraint when it comes to design decisions, but to end up with a great result, being proactive and planning always pays off.”
Research the best resources.
So, where can you find the best wallpapers? If you want the very best wallpapers, go to an interior designer. Ashley Meier says, “You’ll have access to trade-only resources of the highest quality. On the other hand, Anthropologie and Serena and Lily have some great papers for the DIYers out there. Just don’t forget to hire a professional installer!”
Rowanne of Julia Kipling looks to local artists as a resource. “Locally, Electra Eggleston’s amazing collaboration with her father has been a wonderful story of art and family and incredible talent. Their collaborative designs are gorgeous and timeless,” she says. “We have also enjoyed being fans of New Hat. Kelly and Elizabeth, the founders, have been trailblazers in custom wallcoverings for residential and commercial spaces. Outside of Nashville, we adore Faye Bell. Similar to Katherine Stratton Miller [of Julia Kipling], she has merged her fine art with her graphic design skills to create a stunning line of unique and chic wallpaper designs. Both Faye and Katherine sell their original art through Artist Collective, allowing creative lines to overlap there, as well.”
Elizabeth of New Hat Projects says, “Our collection of ready-made wallpapers offers many ways for you to inject color and refined patterning into your life. Additionally, if you and your interior designer are looking for something tailor-made for your home or business, look no further than us for beautiful, custom wallcoverings — it’s our specialty.” She adds that some of their other favorites include Adelphi Paper Hangings, Pierre Frey, Hermes, and Kelly Wearstler.
Opt for professional installation.
“Our best advice is to meet with a professional paperhanger before you even choose your wallpaper,” says Kelly, of New Hat Projects. “He or she can tell you exactly how much paper to order for your project, and also give you advice on the type of pattern and material that works best for each room. Wallpaper is one of the most memorable investments you can make for your home and should be treated accordingly. We also recommend buying lots of samples. No matter how large your computer is, you cannot truly grasp the scale, color and feel of the material on a digital screen.”
Have fun and go for it!
The name of the game is enjoying some creativity and infusing a unique element into your home. Rowanne of Julia Kipling says, “Our biggest piece of advice is to jump right in and have fun! After figuring out what looks you prefer in your space, get some professional help. A great designer can help you cut through the clutter and fine-tune your vision. It will be well worth your money in the long run.”
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