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Bringing back texture

Back in the spring, Oprah declared that wallpaper is back.

Back in the spring, Oprah declared that wallpaper is back.

But is it really? That depends on what you want to do in your home and, to a lesser degree, how much you’re willing to spend.

If rock bottom is your bottom line, then a simple paint job is probably the way to go. But if you were planning on spending a little more to get a really nice paint job — perhaps one with murals, borders or faux finishes — then you might want to consider wallpaper.

That’s because in the cyclical world of fashion and home furnishings, wallpaper is hot again.

Making a statement
Decorators say that if you’re looking for drama, texture, warmth and personality, wallpaper is the way to go.

Designers Jason Oliver Nixon and John Loecke have wallpapered virtually every nook and cranny of their house, including the interior of a glass-fronted bathroom cabinet and the inside of a closet.

For their foyer, they chose a pink and blue floral pattern and embellished it with paste-on coloured rhinestones.

The guest bedroom has a directional vine pattern on the walls that takes the eye to the ceiling, where there’s a complementary but contrasting pattern of swirling flowers. Anne Goldsmith, a decorator in suburban New York, says you can make a bold statement in your bedroom by papering just the wall behind the bed. “It can just be really fun — a focal point in a boxy plain room without a lot of architectural detail,” she says.

Good in a down economy

With stylish patterns selling for a reasonable price, wallpaper doesn’t have to cost much more than a really good paint job. Scott Salvator, a Manhattan-based designer, says wallpaper is the perfect choice in a down economy because it decorates the room.

Should you do it yourself?

There are many do-it-yourself books on the market, but you probably don't want to wallpaper yourself unless you're supremely patient and good at following directions.

Options for the design-challenged
Let's face it: The average person does not have the eye of a decorator. But even the design-challenged can be a little bit adventurous with minimal risk.

Start by putting wallpaper in smaller spaces like a hallway or foyer. If you fall in love with an expensive pattern, hang it on just one wall and paint the other three.

Paper it up
• Designers John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon offer some tips on how to decorate with their favourite wall covering:

• Create a “jewel box” in a tiny space like a foyer by covering the walls and ceiling with a single pattern, then jazzing it up with paste-on rhinestones or pearls. An entryway is also a good place for a pricey paper that may be too expensive in a larger room.

• Use complementary patterns in rooms that open into each other, like a dining room to a kitchen to a pantry. Unify by using different shades of the same colour.

• Pick two separate but complementary patterns for the walls and ceiling in a bedroom, like a curving vine pattern on the wall that draws the eye to a floral pattern above.

• Tropical designs are hot. Loecke and Nixon papered a pink-tiled bathroom with a banana leaf pattern in contrasting shades of green. The bold design is famously associated with the Beverly Hills Hotel.

• Consider dramatic wallpapers for halls and passageways.

• Use a rare, expensive or powerful pattern on a “feature” wall in a room, where it can serve the same function as art.

• Woven and grasscloth papers are good for unifying wall space along a multi-storey staircase and can also serve as a neutral backdrop for a diverse art collection.

 
 
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