The Wallpaper Revival

Our New York editor reveals a brand-new way to spruce up your walls quickly.

Deck the Walls
There’s a wallpaper revival going on. This time it’s less labor-intensive and more creative.

Everyone is discovering wallpaper, and I am baffled that it took so long. Knock, knock marketers, anybody home? How hard is it to upstage sponge painting and Fred Flintstone walls? In any case, if you are not quite ready for paper and paste, I would like to suggest some commitment-free wall coverings. These wall designs are easy to apply (note that I did not say hang or install) and should you have a change of heart, they are a snap to remove.

First on my list is Wallbands by the wallpaper and textile firm twenty2 based in Brooklyn. Husband and wife designers Kyra and Robertson Hartnett created five modern styles in multiple colorways, printed on 15-feet-by-13-inch prepasted bands. To apply, you simply dip the wallband in water and sponge it onto the wall and then, when you’re ready for a change, just loosen a corner and pull to remove. No wall residue, no damage. My favorite? Gala. It’s William Morris meets Fantasia.

Top: twenty2s Wallbands line offer a host of colors (racer and fern shown) in several different patterns. Above right: Bliks various lines are an easy-to-change way to brighten any room. Above: Wonderful Graffiti can custom design removable wall text to read (and look) however you want.

If you’ve got a playroom or child’s room in need of a face lift, check out WallCandy, by WallCandy Arts and Keith Haring Wall Graphics, by Blik Surface Graphics. WallCandy Arts has licensed Marimekko designs, BoBoo Cars (buses, trucks, and cars on parade), and Unikko (the classic blue poppies) and then printed these colorful images in panels with UV ink that is durable, cleanable, and backed with a static adhesive that makes the product removable. To adhere to the wall, simply peel, place, and smooth. The panels can be lifted off the wall without a trace and reused. WallCandy leaves a bright singular impression, but act fast to ensure that they are in stock. For a more random wall design, look to Blik Surface Graphics. They’ve just added Keith Haring images to their line of self-adhesive (and removable) decals. Blik offers a wide assortment of colors in more than 30 designs, ranging from groovy paisleys to your own barrel of monkeys. And check out Wonderful Graffiti from Wonderful!. They design non-textured surfaces with type. You choose a quote, recipe, song lyrics, poem, whatever, then select your color, size, and typeface, and they’ll set it for you. Their friendly Web site ( makes it easy for you to have the last word in any room, and as with all commitment-free wall art, application and removal is a piece of cake.

While you may vacillate over what to do with your walls, you know when it’s time to reupholster. If you’re ready to commit to a fabulous fabric, consider velvet. Velvets started making it back to the mainstream a few years ago when designers began translating traditional luxe velvet into bright colors and juxtaposing it with more casual fabrics, like linen. There it is again, that notion of casual luxury. These days, look for velvets in brighter, more daring colors woven from cotton, mohair, linen, and silk. Manuel Canovas has expanded its velvets to include oversized cut velvet florals (Genova), with colors that change from dark to light, depending on the reflection and angle. Rio, from Canovas, takes a playful swipe at velvet stripes by varying the widths and presenting them on very loose natural linen.

Brunschwig & Fils pays homage to traditional deco velvets with their Ondes Figured Silk Velvet, a lively mix of two-toned circles. Renowned decorator Thomas Jayne created a deco-inspired pattern of interlocking pinwheels that might also appear to be abstracted chrysanthemums. The result is Pinwheel, a printed velvet shown in deep jewel tones and browns that works with either modern furniture or period pieces from the 1920s and 1930s. Brunschwig’s feisty cotton velvet leopard print (Zambezi Grospoint) typifies the trend toward more stylized animal prints, perfect on a bench or a Queen Anne chair. But the Verel de Belval line at Brunschwig really raises the bar with their Les Forges de Vulcain Velvet Print, a gorgeous cotton velvet Rococo-style toile depicting the mythological scene of Venus asking her husband, Vulcan, to forge weapons for their illegitimate son, the hero Troyen Enee. If this beautifully depicted design doesn’t get you to commit to including a velvet piece in your home, I give up.

Also from Brunschwig & Fils is a revival of textile designs by the great French designer, Paule Marrot. The 2005 collection boasts five of Marrot’s patterns, including a bold stripe, a plaid, and a rain drop-like design (La Pluie). I love this line, but I am particularly charmed by Hugues Capet Cotton Print. This delightful print with roosters and sunflowers creates an updated French country feel and is available in three bold color selections.


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