Wallpaper might be one of the last things you think about during a build, but it’s one way to create the ‘wow factor’ that’s vital for bringing your interiors together, and infusing your personality. Designer Avalana Simpson shares some tips
The UK’s love affair with wallpaper originated in the late 15th century, but it was the French that came to dominate the industry. One of the most famous manufacturers was Jean-Baptiste Réveillon, who had a royal warrant and produced lavish papers for the aristocracy at his factory in Paris. Modern, bare walls later came to prominence as the on-trend interior choice but now, wallpaper is back. It’s come a long way.
The wallcoverings of today can go way beyond what can be done with paint, and as a designer I’ve learned first-hand how colour, patterns and hand-drawn scenes can not only add colour and interest to a room, but also form the basis for a whole interiors scheme, delighting the homeowner and wowing their guests.
SEEK OUT INSPIRATION
I love clashing prints, bold colour and a maximalist approach to design. I do believe that as we step into 2022, most homeowners will change their outlook on walls, and opt to be brave and bold when it comes to colourful walls and patterns. However, if you’re not sure where to start with your room makeover, then seek out some inspiration. Hotel-style is a huge trend in home interiors at the moment, largely due to restrictions on travel – and I always find that hotels are a great reference point when it comes to dramatic wallpaper. Don’t be afraid to translate hotel style onto a smaller scale in your own home – you can take inspiration for all parts of a design – from walls, furniture, lighting and other finishing touches. Beyond hotels you could look to fashion, nature and social media for design inspiration.
MAKE A STATEMENT
Textured and patterned wallpaper can manipulate spaces and add or eliminate architectural detail. An added advantage is it can cover up any imperfections or oddities in your walls. A big mistake many homeowners make is playing it safe when it comes to their wallpaper selection but walls and even ceilings are the perfect place to add some designer flair and make a statement – so don’t ignore them. Intricate murals are very impactful compared to the traditional wallpaper repeat designs. The more unique the better! Be drawn to things that sing to you, whether that’s nature inspired full of botanicals, a quintessentially British landscape or Chinoiserie with ornate flowers and birds.
Consider working with a designer who can help create a custom wallcovering or mural and adjust their collection to align with your colour palette. It makes no sense to have put so much time and effort into the exterior of your property to settle for walls, textiles or soft furnishings that you aren’t 100% happy with. Invest well so your choices will stand the test of time.
SCALE & PROPORTION
Like paint, wallcovering options can fit every budget and creative mind. To help you choose, I suggest you keep in mind two simple things – scale and proportion. In a small room, for example, a large- scale pattern may not repeat more than once before it meets the skirting board.
This would be rather like seeing only half of a painting. Instead, try a smaller pattern with a shorter repeat or go for a mural on one ‘statement’ wall.
A larger room can handle bolder colours and larger patterns. If you have a small room, but prefer a large print, make sure it has lots of lighter colours or space to balance the effect. While maximalism is a key trend for 2022, eyes still need ‘resting places,’ so muted accents and white space are still key elements to complement busy or bold designs.
Wallpaper can manipulate our illusion of a space. For example, a vertical stripe can give the impression of greater height to a room with a low ceiling. Large patterns which are rich and dark will make a large room feel more intimate, while using open patterns in light colours or ombre walls make a space feel bigger and adds depth.
POWDER ROOMS & BATHROOMS
Bathrooms are now less confined to being clinical, all white walls and a contemporary feel throughout. Even those who like clean lines and modern bathrooms are becoming more confident about going busy and bold on walls or in little alcoves. Colour, rich patterns and stand-out murals are a popular choice for bathrooms and powder rooms to create spa-like sanctuaries for the homeowners themselves to relax in, and appreciate every day.
One of the key bathroom trends we’ll see more of is a fusion of Eastern and Western design – it’s here where we can get an Eastern experience in all its glory. Adding a completed oriental scene to your bathroom wall creates an instant focal point. Silvers and deep greens add harmony while hand-drawn Herons wading through silvery lily ponds and framed by interesting foliage results in a show stopping and perfectly balanced theme.
Avalana Simpson is founder of Avalana Design