Need a new look at home? Try wallpaper.

By Paula Felps 

Although we’ve spent the past two decades ridding our homes of it, today wallpaper is back in style in a big way!

“Everything that goes out of style eventually comes back in style, but that style is always modified in some way,” says Michelle Pollak, a residential interior designer and owner of The Lollipop Tree in Charleston, S.C. “Wallpaper is no different. It’s back and it’s hot, but it’s different than how we remembered it.”

Everything old is new

Pollak says we can expect to see some old familiar standbys, such as floral prints and patterns, making a return. But there are plenty of new twists that make this incarnation of wallpaper more exciting than ever before. Some of the wallpaper trends accompanying this new surge in popularity include:

  • Eco-friendly papers. The “green” mindset has made its way into the wallpaper industry, so look for manufacturers who are using water-based inks and Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper. Many manufacturers have cleaned up their act and are using fewer chemicals, although you have to do your research to know what you’re buying.
  • Bold colors and patterns. Wallpaper used to seem shy, often serving as a muted background, but today, it is bold and makes itself known. “It is more modern, with almost a retro feeling,” Pollak says. “We’re seeing a lot of bold, bright colors and patterns like geometrics.”
  • Formal designs — with a tweak. “The one thing I’m really surprised about is how we’re seeing the return to some really traditional looks, such as large Oriental patterns with a silk-type sheen,” says Pollak. “It’s certainly not appropriate for every room, but done in the proper setting, it works really well.”

Know when to hold it

Just because wallpaper is back in style doesn’t mean you need to go crazy with it.

“This doesn’t mean paint is out! It’s just a chance to work your own style into [designing a room],” Pollak notes.

Not all rooms will work with wallpaper, but there are a couple of spaces that Pollak believes always can benefit from it: powder rooms and children’s rooms.

“The powder room is the only place where someone will be all by themselves, so there’s nothing to detract from the design. If a powder room is done right, it’s going to stand out and make a statement. Wallpaper is my best friend in that room!”

Children’s rooms are a natural because they are designed for a more playful approach, and today’s many wallpaper options allow for unlimited design possibilities, particularly when combined with the right accent colors.

For the most part, finding the look that’s right for your space is a personal decision that varies from home to home, and from person to person.

“There are no hard and fast rules, like fashion,” Pollak reminds. “But also keep in mind that you aren’t going to be switching this up every year, so you need to find something you like, that works for you, and that you can live with for a few years.”

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