Wallpaper Trends are Bold, Colorful and Textured

Jason Michael White
Updated December 8, 2015
woman applying pink wallpaper
Fresh Eyes For Your Home in Ossining, N.Y., decorated a client’s wall with paper illustrating the places she wants to travel. (Photo courtesy of ©Thinkstock

Home wallpaper has been making a comeback with recent trends including vibrant colors and pictures.

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Wallpaper companies often find themselves stripping walls of pale-yellow paper or paper bordered with flowers.

But that doesn’t mean wallpaper is losing its renewed popularity. Homeowners who strip wallpaper left over from the 1980s might replace the paper with something more contemporary, such as wallpaper that reflects their personality.

“People are using wallpaper to make statements about their rooms and themselves,” says Joanna Cohlan, owner of highly rated Fresh Eyes For Your Home in Ossining, N.Y.

Wallpaper’s made a comeback during the past two years, according to interior design experts. Recent trends include wallpaper with repeat patterns, vibrant colors and pictures, whereas past trends favored natural colors and textures.

Homeowners should hire a skilled craftsperson to apply wallpaper for the best outcome, Cohlan says. A good wallpaper removal company can avoid messes such as mismatched patterns.

Wallpaper installation

Skilled wallpaper service providers know how to apply the paper to a wall, and they have the mathematical skills to understand the repeats in wallpaper, Cohlan says.

“They make sure the seams are seamless, and they know what to do when the paper doesn’t exactly fit the wall, or the wall has a curve to it,” she says. “So many things can go wrong if it’s not done well.”

Poorly applied wallpaper can look crooked or bubble, and mistakes are more visible with complex wallpaper when compared to paper with a simple color, Cohlan says.

“If there’s no repeat and no design, then mistakes are much less obvious,” she says.

Homeowners should hire a professional when they need to remove wallpaper as well, says Corbett Thompson Jr., owner of highly rated C & K Painting in Webster, Texas.

Homeowners often damage sheetrock or wall board when trying to remove wallpaper without hiring an expert, Corbett says.

“We know how to ensure these things don’t happen,” he says.

Also, homeowners might make the mistake of trying to paint over wallpaper, he says. Paint releases wallpaper adhesive and causes the paper to bubble and eventually peel off the wall.

“Wallpaper’s not designed to paint over,” he says.

Homeowners should check references before hiring a wallpaper company, as well as check to make sure the company is insured, Corbett says. That way, if the company does damage a wall, their insurance will cover the damages, he says.

Interior designers have seen homeowners remove wallpapers with solid colors or textures.

“While that’s coming back as well, it’s coming back in unbelievably gorgeous color,” Cohlan says. “It’s coming back in greens and slate blues, and in vibrant colors, as opposed to what was an attempt to have a natural color and textural look. It’s now come back to make a color statement, as well as a textural statement.”

Wallpaper patterns became popular again, but not the same types of patterns as 10 or 20 years ago, Cohlan says.

She’s seeing less abstract patterns and more repeat patterns, including pictures, she says. Homeowners will choose patterns such as dogs, bicycles or bookshelves, as opposed to just flowers.

“It’s no longer just about a floral, pretty look,” she says. “The patterns are making a bigger statement about the room and the owner.”

For example, one of her customers wants to travel the world. She chose a wallpaper design that illustrates the places she wants to travel, including the Eifel Tower and Taj Mahal.

“That was a feature wall behind her bed; she dreams of traveling at night,” Cohlan says. “It not only reflected her personality, it also tied the room together and gave it a much warmer, finished look.”

Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on Aug. 26, 2013.

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