If your taste runs toward retro, Bradbury & Bradbury offers historically accurate reproductions and “reinterpretations” with a contemporary flair, beginning with the Victorian era and ending with the Swinging ’60s. The “Victorian” and “Arts and Crafts” collections include all the various wallpapers used at that time — friezes, borders and patterns for both walls and ceiling. The “Mod Generation” collection, intended to be installed as a feature wall and not for an entire room, lacks the flamboyance and fluorescent colors associated with that era, but today’s homeowners seem to prefer mellow to outlandish, said Steve Bauer, the firm’s owner and chief designer.
For a singularly bold statement, Rhode Island School of Design professor Oren Sherman’s digitally printed wallpaper is also intended as a feature wall, or, as he put it, “to be the star of the show.” The patterns are 52 inches wide and feature large areas of bold color in organic, floral shapes; the patterns can also be custom-colored. Sherman’s collection will be available in June.
Should your sartorial analysis point you toward textured natural materials, York Wallcoverings, one of the largest wallcovering manufacturers in the United States, offers ones that are dyed or uncolored, striped or woven, plain or printed.
If you’re ready to try anything, York and UK-based Graham & Brown offers hundreds of choices, but the vast majority at both firms are patterned paper, still printed with the same machinery that transformed the wallpaper industry 125 years ago, but to radically different effect.
For example, York’s Aristocrat (ND7057) is a traditional damask floral pattern that might have graced Grandma’s china or her walls, but here the pattern is four or five times as big, printed in cream-colored ink so thick that it creates a 3-D effect, and the silver-blue background is a reflective pearlescent ink.
Many of Graham & Brown’s wallpapers add humor and pizazz. Its Frames (52050), with its playful line drawings of picture frames on a cream-colored background, has been a huge hit with homeowners who routinely embellish it with family photographs, children’s drawings and postcards. Mermaids (50-513) has frolicking mermaids and Mirror-Mirror (50-514) with its overall, silver-gray reflective pattern reflects the colors of the furnishings in the room where it is installed.
Katherine Salant has an architecture degree from Harvard. She grew up in Fairfax County and now lives in Ann Arbor, Mich. If you have questions or column ideas, she can be contacted at www.katherinesalant.com or email@example.com.