Wallpaper from way back breathes new life into design

Every few years, I hear design hounds proclaiming that “wallpaper is back”. The truth is that for some of us, it never went away. We’ve been watching as new technologies have enhanced design options and made product more user-friendly and affordable. If you love wallpaper and murals as I do, I think you’ll enjoy this post, and maybe even take away some inspiration for your own project.

Traditional wallpaper is cool again

Swedish wallpaper brand Boråstapeter has been making lovely wallpapers for over a century.  Its newest collection Alla tiders hus (houses of every era), celebrates that history by embracing six distinct  styles—which they designate as turn of the century, Art Nouveau, Twenties, Sweden’s Middle Way (that would refer to the Thirties, when Sweden embarked on a political and economic blend of socialism and capitalism (hence, a middle way), brick houses, and new builds.

The hand-picked designs are inspired by Boråstapeter’s huge archives and patterns discovered in an old house, as well as some that are newly created by Boråstapeter to suit modern architecture.

All of them are printed in at least one original colourway, as well as shades that align with contemporary interior décor. These are a few I found particularly pretty.

Another way to put art on the wall

Venerable wallpaper maker Graham & Brown, which has been around for more than 75 years, has launched a collection of customizable wall murals drawn from the collection of the TATE Modern Museum that includes works by such artists as J.M.W. Turner, Claude Monet, Ethel Walker, Jessica Dismorr and Vincent Van Gogh.

Trädgårdsstaden wallpaper from Boråstapeter uses green, white, and pale orange on pastel blue to create a cheery cherry blossom (1920s).

Having to pick among the most famous works of art in the world was tough, says Graham and Brown Head of Brand Alan Kemp.  “It has been a truly exhilarating project to work on,” he says. “TATE has a vast archive containing some of the most iconic pieces of art in the world (and) we are thrilled to be able to bring these great pieces into the home. “

Graham & Brown’s wallpaper and mural archive has over 30,000 pieces, comprised of in-house designs and historic works, some dating back over two hundred years. The works above from the TATE Collection are (left to right) by Duncan Grant, James Whistler, and J.M.W. Tuner.

In Swinging, Kandinsky used colour and geometry to create a sense of movement that’s almost musical. (Graham & Brown)

A leading wallpaper manufacturer in  the U.K., Graham & Brown has expanded its collection to include paint, wall art, and soft furnishings. They sell direct to customers and through a global network of retail partners.

A pioneer of abstract art, Piet Mondrian, moved from landscape painting to geometric works such as Composition with Yellow, Blue & Red (1935).

Sustainability Note: Graham & Brown shifted to renewable electricity, immediately removing around 2,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year and reducing carbon emissions by 29 per cent. All 23,000 tonnes of paper used each year comes from sustainably managed forests, and wallpaper/paint is made with  water-based inks.

By Francesco Sleter, this Graham & Brown wallpaper mural is a preliminary design for the State Dining Room at Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire.

Vicky Sanderson

A self-confessed Opinion-ista, Vicky Sanderson has been writing and talking about décor, design and lifestyle issues for almost two decades, and has tested just about every home product known to humankind.

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