Monday, April 26, 2010

An Argument for Wallpaper (Part 5-Unusual Uses)

One of my "tricks up my sleeve" as a designer is to use wallpaper in creative ways. Even when wallcovering was a naughty word, I could usually convince my clients to use it sparingly.

The Closet. One of my favorite ways to use it is in a closet! It is so decadent and unexpected. I especially like it when used in a nook or cubby of a closet.

Or gracing the walls of an elegant dressing room like Aerin Lauder's chic' Chinoiserie wallcovering in her "closet".

I think this home office/craft room is adorable and fresh. What a great use of an extra closet. And the brightly colored floral is so whimsical with the aqua painted desk and doors.

This was Tinsley Mortimer's Upper East Side closet adorned in Scalamandre's blue and white toile with Chinese dragon. It is a tight space, so I love how she played it up by using a bold pattern.

The chandelier paper in lipstick pink is great in Miley Cyrus's Dressing Room. I have used the paper in black on black in a Powder Room and the scale of the pattern is fantastic.

This may be one of my favorite papers and I think it looks so chic in this closet.

And another view....

The bookcase. I often talk to my clients about accenting the back of bookcases with a contrasting color, or better yet paper. This is an inexpensive trick as it usually only takes a roll of wallpaper and can be self-installed with ease if need be.

It is a great backdrop to books, accessories, or better yet, left empty.

I love how this damask pattern, from Laura Ashley, matches behind all of the shelves. It adds an elegance to a plain bookcase.

This paper highlights the soft, blush pink of the upholstery and adds some pattern to the room.

I love the contrast of the colorful paper on the dark paint. So rich.

The Ceiling. In my opinion the most undervalued surface in the home. I love to paper them. Always have.

It adds warmth and unexpected pattern to the space. I especially love the paper used on this entry ceiling. I love how it ties in the window treatments and compliments the artwork. If it was used on the walls it would fight the art, but not on the ceiling.

An even bolder approach is to paper the walls and ceiling in the same paper as in this room. This paper, from Osbourne and Little, is flocked on top of metallic background so it has a lot of texture, depth, and reflective qualities.

Another paper from O&L that I have used many times on ceilings. It seems to call for it with its starry feel.

The Feature Wall. I struggled with if I should include this in the post. When it is done well, as in the picture above, it is perfection. But when it is done poorly, well you know where this is going.

There needs to symmetry and a purpose for doing it.

It can not be a decision based on finances. The, "I love this paper, but I can't afford to do the whole room so I will just do one wall" use is often obvious and a failure. I would rather my client wait until they can invest in it or use the pattern in fabric for a pillow somewhere.

If it is done right, it can be magic!

It allows the opportunity to use a much bolder pattern than you would otherwise consider and create real excitement.

When done right, it can make the room.


Thank you for letting me wax on about wallpaper for 5, count them, 5 posts. I have made my Argument for Wallpaper, now I hope you have found some inspiration and courage.

I would be remiss if I didn't include a list of my Go-To wallpaper lines. There are tons of them, but these are some of my favorite residential companies.

Brunschwig & Fils

Cowtan and Tout, Colefax & Fowler, Jane Churchill, and Larsen


All are available through designers and if you saw any papers that interested you through out the posts, I would be happy to provide samples and pricing. Just ask.

I hope you enjoyed this insight into the possibilities of Wallpaper.

I am off for a little R&R in the sun. I may post, if inspired, while gone or I may be too wrapped up in cocktails at the pool, lunch with friends, walks on the beach, hours with my nose in a good book. You know the drill.

I be back to posting for sure May 11th!



all images from Google Image and include Elle Decor, Southern Accents, Veranda, Harper's Bazaar, House Beautiful, Real Living, Traditional Home.

An Argument for Wallpaper (Part 4-The Living Spaces)

We have looked at using wallpaper in the Foyer, Bedrooms and Baths, but in this post let's look at wallcovering options for larger spaces in your home. There are many reasons to consider using paper in your Living Room, Dining Room, Great Room, Family Room, etc....

It is a wonderful way to give color, pattern, individuality, and interest to a room. I love the way this "vine-y" (yes, it is a word in the design world) pattern gives height to this space.

It mixes well with plain upholstered furnishings to give the room punch.

Or I love, love, love the matching pattern on the walls and sofa in this green and ivory pattern from Thibaut.

This raffia-like texture gives so much warmth to this Family Room.

The Home Office! What a fun way to dress up your work place. That paper would draw me to work every morning.

This green and white floral is so fab from Elle Decor and I worship those faux-bois fabric covered foot stools.

If you have lunched at Bergdorf's as of late, you may recognize this fabulous wallcovering and those gorgeous periwinkle leather canopy chairs all designed by Kelly Wearstler. So elegant.

The accent of the blue colorwash paper is so fresh with all of the white woodwork and furnishings.

Love the blue and white mural in this Dining Room. I love how it is a serious nod in an otherwise relaxed space.

This Chinoiserie paper makes this Dining Room. And that background color. Amazing.

Using paper in larger, more lived in spaces is bold, but I know you won't regret it.

Tomorrow: Unusual Uses



all images are from Google Image and include images from Elle Decor, Thibaut, Southern Accents, Veranda

Sunday, April 25, 2010

An Argument for Wallpaper (Part 3-The Bath)

Bathrooms are a space where you can go a little nutty; a bit crazy if you like with wallpaper. The spaces are typically smaller and you don't really spend all that much time in them. A bold wallpaper is great for a bit a drama.

Like in Gwyneth Paltrow's bath where she used Imperial Trellis (can you tell I am obsessed) in tone-on-tone black. It looks so crisp and fresh with the white cabinet.

The reflective nature of this paper has a wonderful masculine feel with the darker tones.

I love the light vine feel of this paper with the painted commode. So sophisticated and airy.

This Scalamandre' wallcovering was originally designed in the 40's for Gino's restaurant in NYC. Movie fanatics may remember it from Royal Tennenbaum's as it graced the bathroom in their home and appears in the background of a scene with Gwyneth Paltrow. I love the zebra motif.

This paper with the floral and branches is fab-tastic. So colorful and fresh.

A more subtle approach in a bold pattern. I really like the way it works with the grey counter top and vintage floor.

Such an unusual pattern and fabulous colors. It take a petite 1/2 Bathroom and makes it something really special.

This yellow and grey botanical plays nicely off of the marble floor and shower. It warms up the space and makes it a bit softer.

Bathrooms make such a great place for wallpaper. If you don't want to commit any where else in your house consider the statement you can make in a bath.

Tomorrow: Living Spaces



all images from Google image.

An Argument for Wallpaper (Part 2-The Bedroom)

Today is my second in a series of posts on great uses for wallpaper. Yesterday covered Foyers. Take a peek back in case you missed it.

When I design bedrooms for my clients , I use it as an opportunity to make a departure from the flow of the rest of the house. My goal is for the bedroom to feel unique and interesting.

Wallpaper is a great way to achieve this.

The bedroom above is done in one of my all time favorite papers, Imperial Trellis, which was designed by Kelly Wearstler for Schumacher. It comes in fabulous colors, in wallcovering and fabric, and I love it for all things. Walls, drapes, beds, clothes, bags.

One of my favorite bloggers, The Zhush, did a great post on her love of Imperial Trellis last week. Check it out at

You will see at least one more example of Imperial Trellis through out my week long look into wallcovering.

Wallpaper can be fun. This colorful and whimsical paper would add charm to any room.

Or is can be soft. This large scale mural by designer Kate McIntyre has a wonderfully soft feel and I love how it was paired with the icy lavender. This space feels so serene; tranquil.

I really like the scale of the tone-on-tone pattern in this bedroom designed by Celerie Kemble. It is over-sized, so it is impressive without feeling busy.

This is a wonderful way to play up the angles of a room. It creates such an intimate space.

There is nothing better for a kid's room. So wonderful with all of the pattern and color.

I love the coordinating upholstered headboards to the walls. It really extends the space.

And I absolutely love the use of the stripe mitered on the ceiling. (More on papered ceilings later in the week) It creates a great tent-like feel.

Ahhhh Chinoiserie. Just Bliss. Love the deep turquoise lamps (Christopher Spitzmiller I am guessing) and that fantastic rug in this Miles Redd designed space. So unexpected and perfect.

Tomorrow: Baths



images from Domino, Southern Accents, Traditional Home, Elle Decor, Kate McIntyre, Celerie Kemble, House Beautiful, Veranda, Miles Redd

An Argument for Wallpaper (Part 1-The Foyer)

An Argument for Wallpapering Foyers:

Friday night I was out with good friends and I was chatting with one of my best friends, "A", who is in the process of purchasing a new home. She has become obsessed with all things design. You know what it is like when you can't stop visualizing your new space and what you want to do to make it your own. She exclaimed, "I want to wallpaper every room. You have to stop me!" I smiled and thought to myself, "Why??? Go for it".

People often confess to me quietly that they, "actually like wallpaper", the way you might tell your priest you used to rob banks for a living or that you often do hard drugs in your spare time. It is typically apologetic and whispered. Being an interior designer I guess they feel they can reveal their true feelings about papering their walls. They know I won't judge them.

When did it become such a taboo to wallpaper???? Why are people so fearful of using it???
The only other way to get the depth, pattern, and rich mix of colors is to hire a muralist to custom paint your walls. Amazing, but can be very costly.

Wallcovering turns tiny, ordinary spaces into something special.

It protects your walls and depending on the finish is washable. Putting practical reasons aside though, it looks fantastic.

This actual picture from Southern Accents inspired one of my clients to paper her Foyer. She had been hesitant to "make the commitment" to paper until she came across this issue and fell in love. We ordered every color way of the paper, but unfortunately none of the colors were right. We did a similar damask from another company and she LOVES it. She "can't believe she almost considered only painting it."

Some people are fearful of too much pattern (I am in the other camp, never too much pattern) so textured papers are a wonderful option. I just love how this linen look paper adds warmth and texture that paint would never allow.

So for the rest of the week I will be blogging about beautiful ways to use wallpaper in your home. The big shelter magazines are touting, "Wallpaper is Back". It never went anywhere in my opinion, but I am glad people are embracing their, "Inner Wallpaper" again.

Consider papering your Foyer. It is a space you do not spend much time in, it ties together all of the rooms in your home, and with the walls being so cut up it allows a bolder paper.

Tomorrow: Bedrooms



images from House Beautiful, Southern Accents, Domino, Carleton Varney, and Google Image.