Is Bold Wallpaper Coming Back In Style?

Many people remember the wallpaper of long ago, a trend that produced kitchens covered with repetitive colors and patterns that looked like every other house on the street. As people spend more time at home these days, home design trends focus on personalization and self-expression, and bold wallpaper meets this aspiration perfectly. Janelle Blakely Photopoulos, owner of Blakely Interior Design in Rhode Island, says she has noticed a surge in the popularity of wallpaper over the past few years, per Rhode Island Monthly. Wallpaper is used as a backdrop for Zoom calls in home offices, accent walls in living rooms, and even appears on furniture or framed artwork. Bathrooms, in particular, are really transformed by the use of bold wallpaper. "It's a great space to have a punch of personality," Photopoulos says. "You can really go bold in a small room like that."

Personalizing your home space through bold wallpaper design is even more attractive now that a peel-and-stick version is available. Forbes points out that one reason why many people avoid decorating with wallpaper is because of the task involved, both installing it and removing it. The new peel-and-stick method is easy to use and remove, making it possible for homeowners to try eye-catching new designs and patterns as often as they wish. With so many styles to choose from and creative ways to use wallpaper in home décor, it's easier than ever to personalize a space with bold wallpaper.

Booming during lockdown

During the spring of 2020, an extraordinary thing happened. As people were required to spend more time at home, their focus began to shift away from what they were missing and more on what they could do during that time. Knitting, photography, baking bread — many people discovered new outlets of creativity during those days. Enthusiasm for home decorating became a way to revive their spirits and refresh the atmosphere of the environment where they were spending so much time. Line Daems, owner of Kreatelier, a home decor shop in Rhode Island, explains, "During COVID, everyone was at home. You needed to be surrounded by something that made you happy" (per Rhode Island Monthly).

Choosing a new wallpaper became a popular pastime for many people, and the industry reflects how the trend took off during this period and continues to climb. In 2020, the value of the U.S. wallcovering market reached $5.4 billion, and it's expected to increase to $6.6 billion by 2026. This increase is attributed to a renewed interest in home improvement that was sparked by the time individuals spent at home during COVID-19, according to Cleveland.

Texture and dimension

This newfound eagerness for home décor has inspired people to research ideas on how to personalize their homes in vivid new ways. Many have found that "traditional" décor like wallpaper, with its exciting new designs and applications, affords them endless possibilities for self-expression. They've discovered that the term "bold" has come to mean different things, such as geometric shapes, stripes to elevate height, or a glittery palette that opens up a child's bedroom and makes it feel magical (per The Best Wallpaper Place).

Bold can also mean texture for impact and dimension. Wallpaper design carries endless possibilities, including the opportunity to mimic natural materials, via TotalWallcovering and Decor. Wallpaper made from a high-quality digital photograph of natural stone or wood imparts a powerful visual impact at a fraction of the cost of the original materials. Some wallpaper is made of foam to embellish its depth and dimension. Wallpaper that resembles exposed brick brings an industrial chic look to a living room or bedroom. Shiplap wallpaper can create a dramatic effect across an otherwise empty space, instantly transforming a home into a farmhouse retreat.

Artistic expression

Another reason that bold wallpaper is making a comeback is due to the contributions of independent artists. The Vale, a design firm based in London, specializes in textiles that feature prints uniquely created by in-house artists. Melinda Marquardt, its founder and creative director, describes her purpose in what The Vale offers its clients: "My style is unique. It's boutique, really high-end and special because we're bringing original artwork to the home. That's been the goal since the beginning," (per The Vale London). Marquardt finds inspiration for her designs everywhere, especially while traveling. She remembers beautiful images from her trips and transfers them into vivid patterns on her wallpaper designs, such as the interiors of churches she's visited in Florence, Italy.

The opportunity to explore bold, independent wallpaper design is expanding through the emerging market for SIY, "Style it Yourself" projects as well. Spoonflower, recently acquired by Shutterfly, offers customers the opportunity to personalize unique wallpaper designs created by thousands of independent artists, according to Business Wire. Customers are enjoying this new creative outlet as they decorate their homes, and this trend is causing the wallpaper business to boom even more. Hilary Schneider, Chief Executive Officer at Shutterfly, states, "We are so excited about the impact Spoonflower has had on our family of brands and helping our customers to unlock the 'creative within' themselves. This expands the brand's reach past photo personalization and positions Shutterfly as a premier destination for stylized self-expression."

Making an impact

Finally, wallpaper can make a big statement simply by where it's hung in the home. Paper an accent wall for a stunning impact, or create a polished look by covering a half wall in a bold print above a chair rail or wainscotting. Wallpaper can also be added to the door of an armoire or the back of bookshelves as a whimsical and decorative detail, per Cleveland. However, even a bold design can be used to create a warm and relaxing atmosphere when it is paired with a coordinating fabric or window covering. "We're seeing wallpaper matching fabric again," observes Deborah Jones, an interior designer at Adler's Design Center and Hardware in Rhode Island. "It's quite wonderful," (via Rhode Island Monthly).

Kelli Menendez, the founder of the design studio Half Full, explains to Camille Styles how wallpaper can be framed and hung on the wall "for a removable artwork feel." This technique makes it easy to change the style of a room simply by swapping out the wallpaper inside the frame, and it's also simple to transfer the artwork to another room or home. Keeping furnishings simple will amplify the effect of a strong print such as an Art Deco design or a black and white pattern, according to Hovia. It's exciting to see how today's bold new styles and techniques for using wallpaper will complement your style and bring happiness to those who spend time in your home.