By Karen Corinha for The Sun Chronicle
Wallpaper is back in a big way! Some may say that it never left, but I have seen the number of lines decrease significantly in the last 18 years and even saw one of my favorite companies (Eisenhart) go out of business.
But all that has changed. Pick up any design magazine and you will once again see wallpaper on the walls, whether in a rustic farmhouse or contemporary waterfront home.
Wallpaper has evolved and is no longer the same product that you may remember from your childhood. Of course, there are still collections that have large patterns, or toiles, but what I sell the most are simple, textured patterns and small prints in lots of beautiful colors.
Using wallpaper in the kitchen or bathroom is a great way to add some visual interest to a room. Be sure to select a washable paper or even a vinyl. The new vinyls are not like the mirrored metallics of the '70s.
I often use a collection of vinyls from Thibaut Wallcoverings that are shown in their Textured Resource 4 book - named Bankun Raffia - an embossed vinyl paper that comes in 11 beautiful colors. We used it in orange in a beautiful white kitchen in Foxboro and it is really stunning.
Why not just paint? The paper adds an interesting element of texture that works with other large and small patterns in the room but does not overwhelm. In addition, it holds up better than most paints and, unlike the eggshell paint on your walls, is scrub-able and adds depth and dimension.
If you are lucky enough to live in an older home that still has grass cloth on the wall, do not take it down. Grass cloths are back and are can be found in hundreds of colors. I put up a grass paper in my dining room that even has a printed geometric pattern on it. They are showing grass cloths with a pearl glaze that reflects the light and others with metallic strands worked through it.
Another type of grass cloth is made from real woven palm raffia and is versatile enough to work well in a formal or casual setting. Its natural irregularities are what they say "create the beauty of this textured paper," and the natural straw color works well with all different kinds of furnishings.
This week, the largest interior design show in the country, called "Market," is being held. Home furnishing manufacturers all descend on High Point, N.C., to debut what they predict will be in your local stores next year and hopefully your home after that. Designers and buyers walk miles and miles through furniture, lighting, artwork and accessories, and carpet showrooms choosing collections for next year, and are often on the lookout for new vendors or solutions for their customers.
One of the newest trends is furniture made with a coating of textured paper! Thibaut, my favorite wallpaper line, also manufactures furniture and is debuting a line of parson's-style tables with textured patterned finishes. HGTV's home furnishing line has a couple of these pieces already and they work with a variety of personal styles.
If you are considering changing a room color, why not look at the beautiful wallpapers that are currently out there? How about papering the wall behind your bed?
Looking for inspiration? Houzz is a wonderful site that you can get lost on with thousands of images of other people's homes. Thibautdesign.com is another wonderful resource. Both of these websites will inspire you.
Karen Corinha is an accomplished and regionally recognized interior designer who specializes in creating high-style, affordable solutions. She is also a regular columnist for The Sun Chronicle.