Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Paper the walls with prints

A decor fashion returns, and runway trends show the way

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It was everywhere -- living rooms, kitchens, stairwells, even ceilings. And then it wasn't.

Wallpaper's past appeal had a lot to do with its durability and knack for covering up wall imperfections, says Edmonton interior designer Lori Elms. But its popularity also stemmed from being an easy, accessible, do-it-yourself decor project for the average person.

In the '60s and '70s, the layering of prints was huge. Bright, bold, floral wallpaper was hung above a wallpaper border and then a different wallpaper was pasted below. Yellows, oranges and avocado greens topped the list of choice shades for these elaborate combos.

In the '80s, mini prints began to dominate, especially those in pastel colours and slightly more discreet patterns. But when the '90s hit, everyone looked at their walls, scratched their heads and began peeling it all off.

"It kind of got overdone, which is probably why it totally dropped off by the '90s, because we were sick of it," Elms says. "It was one of those trends that was done to death."

Elms said interior decor fashions always tend to mirror what's trending in clothing fashions.

And that's one of the reasons wallpaper has come back into style.

Today, the vinyl wall coverings come in similarly bold proportions that mimic what models are wearing on the runway.

"Prints are back. The patterns are big and graphic. Interior design is a lot about texture now, and a lot of these wallpapers offer texture in a very visual way because they're literally three-dimensional," Elms says.

"And I think there's a whole generation that hasn't seen wallpaper for 20 years, so for them, it's fresh and new."

Elms says we're in an era where prints are being layered again.

Homeowners went through a simple, more minimalist, decorating phase in the last decade, handcuffed to neutral tones such as greys and taupes. That eventually morphed into our current obsession with colours and prints.

Today, we're seeing bigger patterns, stylized florals and geometrics. The more mainstream wallpapers tend to come in modern blacks, whites, greys or silvers with a bit of a sheen.

Thankfully, we're no longer wallpapering every inch of our homes, as was typical 30 or 40 years ago, save maybe in bathrooms or powder rooms.

Elms says it's more about using wallpaper to highlight a feature wall in a living room, bedroom or entryway.

One thing that hasn't changed over the years is the wet-and-hang application process, meaning homeowners should count on some scraping and peeling in a their not-too-distant future.

But right now, wallpaper fulfils a home-design craving, which outweighs the thought of having to remove it.

"It's fun again. It's fun to work with."

 

-- Postmedia Network Inc. 2013

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 21, 2013 F8

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