Tuesday, January 13, 2009

wallpaper...


One of my regular posters, mrsben, brought up her love of wallpaper on the previous post.

Well, I share that love. I can get lost looking at wallpaper books. See, this is one of the many geek moments that run through my daily life. If you ever doubt the geekness, all you need is to picture me leafing through stacks on dusty wallpaper books at a little paper haven in North Hollywood, Ca.

A few years ago I the wallpaper "mecca moment" when I was given a tour of YORK wall coverings in York, Pennsylvania. The place and the people that work there are amazing. They do everything from original designs, print & produce all the papers they sell there along with having an incredible room that is filled with catalogued vintage papers that are museum quality papers. I was generously allowed access to everything they do and I can tell you it was one of my design geekiest moments. I still talk about it to all my friends and they roll their eyes and are scratch their heads as to how my extreme uncoolness has wound up on TV. I wonder too.

So, which paper is right?

There are SO many.

The decision making process is pretty much the same for the paper of the wall as it is for paint color, light fixture or a drawer pull:

1) What type of style and look are you going for?
2) Can you live with the bold print that you love in the book, on your whole wall(s)?
3) Do you want to add texture through a grass cloth or a bit of glamour by adding an updated damask?

Wallpaper is a classic look and being used more and more by decorators and designers all over the world in some incredibly well designed and high profile projects. The running theme for a long lasting classic look is to go with a choice that does the same exact thing you look for in a paint color. You use it to create a mood and tell a story.

Proceed with caution with some of the great looking "hot new trend" papers. Trends in decorating are no different than trends in fashion. They're trends and the law of the land means they will be out of fashion at some point. If you want to add a bit of excitement with pattern, you can look to pure classics like pinstripes, damasks & florals that feel updated and fresh by the use of new muted colors, or a slight original spin on the old design. Sometimes, just by a designer minimally tweaking a traditional pattern like a damask with a new flourish or more negative space in the layout can give this classic a crisp & updated perspective.

You can go simple and soothing with a single color and slight texture to add interest. This gives your room the same effect as paint would but with the added texture it goes a step further and can make a boxy, uninteresting room come alive.

Going with a bold print or color will surprise you. What may seem "busy" in a sample book can actually feel "just right" in your room up against the beige microfiber couch and the solid linen slip-covered chairs. This is a great way to add interest, but beware, prints can be tricky. If you're the type who gets bored with certain styles easily and are always changing out the throw pillows because they feel outdated to you, going with a print may not be your calling.

If you need another reason to look at the new papers, they are easier than ever to install and remove when you are ready for a change-AND-they've gone green! Walnut Wallpaper has a gorgeous and modern eco-friendly line of papers that are like works of art.

Choosing the wallpaper that is perfect for your room, like anything else, is about figuring out your lifestyle and how you really want to live. Knowing who you are when it comes to designing your home is always one of the biggest key elements.

-angelo surmelis
above papers:


35 comments:

Dawn said...

woo-hoo!!!

I LOVE wallpaper! All my friends think I'm crazy and that I have "grandma" taste, but I think it's gorgeous and beautiful. All the new papers out there along with some vintage ones are SO BEAUTIFUL! YOU ROCK MY DESIGN WORLD!

THANK YOU.

Seth said...

If I didn't love you before and admire your talent and writings, I certainly do now! LOVE wallpaper and your take on it is spot on. Well done Mr. Surmelis. Well done. Carry one.

KYLE said...

Well, it has to be said but I think it has. Over and over again. You are rockin'! I love your enthusiasm for all things design and your way of talking about it. I feel like your show contains your style and doesn't allow for your brilliance to shine through. You're better than that, but I still watch. How did all this start for you? Is this where you thought you'd be? Have you adjusted your goals based on what came your way? Future? This is my Diane Sawyer interview moment.

Darlene - Our Creative Life said...

Wallpaper?? I'm in the process of taking all my wallpaper down! Hey Angelo, I have a question for you...I want to redo my master bedroom, but we have lowered slanted ceilings. The walls are 5' then it goes into the slant of the ceiling. The room is also not very big so do I paint up to where the ceiling starts or paint every surface the same color or can I break up the color??? I wish I could show you a photo of it.

angelo said...

Hi Darlene,

Wallpaper is tricky. There is a lot of outdated unappealing papers out there is some old homes that do need to be taken down, but there are also some very fresh and stylish new ones that can make for a wonderful makeover. It really is a matter of taste.

Now, to your question. I think I can visualize about what you mean. It depends on what color you're planning on going with. If you're staying pretty neutral and fairly light, you can put the color everywhere, including your ceiling in order to minimize the lowered slant in contrast to the walls. If you're ceiling is white and your walls have color, the architectural feature of your slanted ceiling will become more noticeable. Some people want to accent that. If you are looking to diminish that contrast, then using the same color on walls and ceiling will do that for you. Now, if you are going with a wall color that is darker or bolder and you still want to minimize the ceiling detail but don't want to go that dark or bold on the ceiling, just by having the paint store lighten your wall color by a tone or two and then using that on the ceiling can give you a similar result as painting the whole room the same color without going too dark everywhere.

It really is a matter of choice and what you are ultimately trying to accomplish. Look to other design choices you've made around your home for a hint on following a cohesive theme.

Bedrooms tend to be neglected and they deserve to be just as well designed as the rest of our rooms, maybe even more so. Supposedly we spend most of our time in them. Have fun with it!

-Angelo

Debra said...

These papers are simply gorgeous. I think that I may have a new way of looking at wallpaper. I have to say that anytime I ever hear about wallpaper I get a knee jerk reaction of disdain. I have seen so much truly hideous papers, many of them in our homes growing up.

These, I can get into. Thank you for, once again, helping me see things a little differently.

Jenny said...

I love these papers and a lot of them on their web sites. This opens a whole new world of possibilities AND decisions. I don't know if I should thank you or be upset that you gave me one more beautiful think to think about. LOL!

Matthew said...

I LOVE wallpaper. This proves I'm right. These papers are so cool! Great pot and advice. Love your style and show.

Lisa said...

These wallpapers are gorgeous. Choosing one would definitely be difficult, but I think you're right about trying to focus on what t is you're trying to accomplish. Thank you so much for inspiring me daily to be less fearful about design. 24 Hour Design is on everyday and everyday I watch. Hearing your voice and seeing your bubbly personality bound from the screen makes me feel like I can do stuff.

Your new show, Rate My Space, is really amazing. I was impressed with what you could do in a day and with little money, but this show is just breathtaking.

geek said...

I love the wallpaper. It looks so good

Dave L said...

Now I have a new obsession. Wallpaper. So cool looking. Who knew?

Stephanie said...

Now THIS is wallpaper I can live with. I want it all! Gorgeous stuff Angelo.

CHERYL said...

WOW! This is not your grandma's wallpaper. Nice.

Tim said...

Thank God for you.

Ma'dame French said...

Wallpaper has come a long way but after having spent days....NO weeks removing it at a re-do several months ago I can't imagine attempting that again;) But I sure love some of the ones you have here;) French

Drew said...

I too have had awful experiences removing old, hideous wallpaper! If only the papers that crossed my path looked like the ones you're showcasing!

angelo said...

French, you are correct!

Removing wallpaper isn't always the easiest thing in the world. I have spent more days than I care to remember watering down, scrapping, wire brushing and everything else with hard to remove papers. Some peel easily and others not so much. Most new papers are easier to put up and take down.

Maybe they will help us forget those awful wallpaper memories.

Sharon said...

Thank you for the info and the beautiful wallpaper inspirations! They are envy inducing.

Tiff said...

wallpaper! WALLPAPER! Where have THESE been all my life. Honestly I have been surrounded by some of the most God-Awful wallpapers anyone has eve seen. Growing up it was horrific and when I moved out on my own I had to toil at scrapping off hideous wallpaper from at least 50% of the places I lived at. I have always had an aversion to them and wouldn't even entertain the idea. When I saw this post I instantly had a knee jerk reaction. I thought you had lost your mind. I read. I really looked at these pics and then I checked out the links and OMG! The clouds parted. I was living in the ugly underbelly of the wallpaper world. This is the "other side." A humble Thank You.

mrsben said...

Good morning Angelo. Bet you can guess what I've been doing the last two hours. Thank you so very much for this posting. (The links have been bookmarked.)

I see that you may have converted some people to think beyond 'painted' walls...'Another step for Mankind' and "notch in your belt Angelo". :)

For those who have expressed the hassle of stripping it; may I share a few tips?

Prior to application, the key is preparing your walls with a clear sizing over primed/painted walls.
'Zinssners' carry two optional products for this purpose. (Follow Manufacture's instructions.)

To assist in the actual stripping process, a 'scorer' is a great tool to use. (Follow instructions on the package.) For the second layer, there are a number of wallpaper stripping agents on the market, but I have found a environmental-friendly solution of hot water 'n vinegar OR liquid fabric softner 'n hot water, work just as well. Amounts half 'n half, saturate small portions at a time, scrape with a putty knife at the point when it is damp. For the residue of the glue that is left, a mild solution of T.S.P. 'n water will take care of the task. Voila you are done! Not only do you now have a bare canvas to work with but you have just completed one of the best exercises for your Abs and Arms the no other exercise can compete with.....grin. (One must keep a positive attitude.)

HAVE A BEAUTIFUL WEEK in your warm 'n sunny part of the world. (It's -35 F here today.)

Dee said...

I want them all! OH WOW. These papers are gorgeous. Thank you for the inspiration. I'm off to look at wallpaper books!

mrsben said...

I debated about adding this P.S. and be banished from your blog forever....smiles....BUT may I also add.....

many of those who do design Wallpaper are also the same who design our Fabrics.

Anonymous said...

The example that is fourth from the top (red/black) is stunning. I my living room is a perfect square. 17' x 17', with floor to ceiling windows on the western side. What effect would I get by putting that wallpaper on the other three walls? I have white furniture and chrome accessories. I would want the paper in a grey/slate blue, with large black embellishment that would go in a single line around the perimeter of the room, how it does in the example. Would the black be too stark?

angelo said...

Hi Anonymous.

What you're talking about would work great. The picture is actually of a room painted red with black decals. They are available through the last web link at the bottom of that post. The decals are a great way to experiment since they are peel & stick AND not permanent. You can paint your background/wall any color you choose. Pretty swell.

-A

amiable amy said...

Wow! I love the designs! You are truly having a keen eye on the details of wall paper. I love those...so elegant!

leah said...

i seem to have a strong pull towards vintage all paper...not sure why..the designs, texture...who knows. i do know i have a locker full of it.

the shapes in the photos here are delish. delightfully wispy and organic and yummy.

Nick Klaus said...

I have a love-hate relationship with wallpaper. On one hand, I see a lot of potential, and a lot of designers are drawing inspiration from many great sources. On the other hand, I can see a lot of wallpapers that (in my mind) just flat-out don't work. I am excited to see where the textured wallpapers go

angelo said...

Wallpaper is kind of like one of those things that you either love or hate -OR- in the case of NICK/KLAUS, you love/hate. I'm right there with ya kids! There are many I have wanted to rip off the wall and this was at public spaces and other people's homes.

Then, there are those few that you come across and it's kinda magical. I sort of see anything that has a lot of bad style to it (like the wallpaper scenario) as something with tremendous potential.

mbkatc230 said...

I almost didn't read this post, as I also have a knee jerk aversion to wall paper. Having been traumatized by removing horrid paper from our home over the past 10 years, I thought I detested it. These rooms are gorgeous, and I'm looking at it in a new light. However, can't say that I will ever use it again, I really do love my husband and value our marriage lol! I did show him the black and white room with the Gretsch guitar - THAT he could get into. Thanks for a new way of looking at an old nemesis. Kathy

beddow said...

I love wallpaper so I am glad to see someone with your status and talent give it some support.
Also glad to have found your blog!

ofifteen said...

love that chair in the second image, beautiful!

ofifteen
'designing your life'
http://ofifteenblog.blogspot.com

Callie Grayson said...

I am so in love with the wall paper that is coming out these days! so many to choose from.
great post!

Paris Atelier said...

Wonderful post! I'm trying to choose a paper for my study and I am having a very difficult time of it! This post is not helping *wink* there are so many lovely images :) Thank you!
xoxo
Judith~

pamela said...

first time here..thanks to the blogger who left this adrress..wallpaper????this is not your parents wallpaper!!!!!its more like diy ART...ART for sale Hey Angelo, thanks for always being yourself..you r so special God Bless You

Pamela said...

love your blog as well as the wall paper...should fall in the ART dept

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