Why Wallpaper Is For The Cool Kids

So if you follow me on Instagram, you will already know that I'm a wallpaper addict.  For me, it's an expression of your personality and adds interest and individuality to any space, big or small.  I totally blame my parents for my extrovert decorating style.  When I was very small, we lived in Somerset in a 70's new build.  Can I also say at this point how much I LOVE 70's houses?  Massively underrated, big windows, large square rooms and logical layouts.  Anyway, my parents were quite adventurous with their decorating ideas.  After painting the stand alone TV box green to match the sofa (seriously), they moved on to the bedroom where my Dad put purple flock wallpaper not only up the walls but across the ceiling too.  Obvs they were well ahead of their time.  Or off their heads.  Either is possible.

I was 8 when we moved back to London and my mum took full advantage of the fact that I was too young to make any decorating decisions myself and wallpapered my room in two different colour ways - yes, two - of Laura Ashley Fleur De Lys.  Not just any colours though, pink and purple.  Luckily for me, two years later we temporarily emigrated to Hong Kong and the psychedelia of my bedroom was left the joy of the American renters who stayed in our house whilst we were gone.  Upon our return when I was 14, I took the styling of my room into my own hands.  Obviously heavily influenced by my mums trend, I choose red diagonal stripes on one wall, white diagonal stripes on the other.  A Wickes special.  With countless James Dean and Marilyn posters purchased on Saturday's from that massive poster shop on Carnaby Street which you'll remember if you were a London based teen in the eighties.  See below.  I look like an extra from An Interview With A Vampire.

WTF.  I wasn't even a Goth.  I don't know why I'm looking like one. 

WTF.  I wasn't even a Goth.  I don't know why I'm looking like one. 

So after this very dodgy start, my wallpaper obsession was born.  I've used wallpaper in every house I've ever lived in (that's nine since I met Joe in 1999) so I like to consider myself a bit of an expert on the subject.  So in an attempt to convince you to give it a try, here's my reasoning.

Less into the backcombing nowadays.  Please note that my hair colour is supposed to be ombre.  I haven't forgotten to do my roots.  Photo courtesy of Colin Poole.

Less into the backcombing nowadays.  Please note that my hair colour is supposed to be ombre.  I haven't forgotten to do my roots.  Photo courtesy of Colin Poole.

Wallpaper Rocks.  True Fact.

Wallpaper is too cool for school.   Design has evolved significantly over the last 15 years and the world is now your oyster when it comes to variety.  From textured paper to natural photography, from murals to classic patterns, just choosing one out of the thousands of designs available is hard.  The wallpaper you choose to use in your space is a perfect expression of your personality and can transform a room.   Whether it's subtle or outrageously out there, wallpaper will make you stand out from the crowd.

Forget currently crushing, I'm currently considering getting rid of the kids so I can decorate their rooms in this paper as I've nowhere else to put it.  Home of the lovely Emilie @stellaandthestars.  She's an IBA winner, she knows her stuff.  Paper from The Loft & Us.

Forget currently crushing, I'm currently considering getting rid of the kids so I can decorate their rooms in this paper as I've nowhere else to put it.  Home of the lovely Emilie @stellaandthestars.  She's an IBA winner, she knows her stuff.  Paper from The Loft & Us.

It's An Investment.  Seriously.

So I absolutely swear by my favourite brand, Cole & Son.  I've used their papers at least six times and they have always been solid as a rock.  Miles The Worlds Best Decorator loves them too and that's enough for me.  But they aren't cheap.  At around £80 a roll, you're looking at £300 to decorate a standard sized feature wall.  But if you choose wisely and on gut instinct, you will never tire of it.  One thing I would say is never choose a paper for these reasons:  a) you're buying it because you think it's 'on trend' or b) because everyone else has it.  Once it's up, it's up and you have to live with it so choose with your heart.  I'm also totally obsessed with House Of Hackney, Barneby Gates and Timorous Beasties, all of which have completely stunning designs that will transform a room.  It's serious artwork on a roll.  Bloody gorgeous.

The High Street Has It All Going On

The above being said, the High Street has the most amazing selection at the moment.  Big designers like Julian McDonald, Craig & Rose and Graham & Brown have got in on the action and are producing fabulous papers for a fraction of the price of the big boys.  A recent visit to B&Q revealed American tin tiles, Moroccan tiles, photographic botanic prints and leopard print papers. Definitely worth a visit.

 

Feature Walls Are Cool

Feature walls get a hard time but personally, I'm a fan.  Trends, schmends, whatever, girlfriend.  It's your house so do what you like.  In my previous home I had Cole & Son Trees going up three stories of our Victorian house and it was super effective.  I still absolutely love that print. Check out @nicolabroughton38 who puts it to brilliant use in her gorgeous bedroom.  In the family room I had Andrew Martin's Penny Post. This was a replacement for the original paper that was up, Cole & Son Ex Libris which was so expensive it was my 40th birthday present from Joe.  It looked amazing until the shower leaked from above and the whole lot peeled off.  Yay for contents insurance!

The ill fated Ex Libris.  God, I loved that paper.  Random fact: this is my talented musician brother in law Nic - click the link for his myspace page.

The ill fated Ex Libris.  God, I loved that paper.  Random fact: this is my talented musician brother in law Nic - click the link for his myspace page.

What about a Mural, Muriel?

My current fave idea for the home.  Unless you are properly arty (check out the aptly named @artynads and her cheese plant) get the experts to do it for you.  I've previously used the World Map wallpaper from Stanford which was seriously effective and very handy for educating the kids plus good for showing off how well travelled you are. But if you haven't checked out Surface View, you need to be doing so.  From huge wall prints to custom made murals, they've got it all going on.  Totally beaut.   Murals Wallpaper have a fabulous selection too - their photographic woods murals start at £25 per metre.

Totally gorgeous mural from @surfaceview.

Totally gorgeous mural from @surfaceview.

So effective.  Woods mural by @muralswallpaper.

So effective.  Woods mural by @muralswallpaper.

You Can Use It Anywhere

It's not just for walls.  Stair risers look amazing papered.  You can either buy wallpaper and cut to size or you can buy special decals that look like tiles.  It looks fab.  My friend Shiv had some expensive offcuts left after decorating her bedroom so she wallpapered the staircase side panel.  Doors, ceilings.  If it doesn't move, wallpaper it.

Amazeballs.  Photo courtesy of @pinterest.

Amazeballs.  Photo courtesy of @pinterest.

It's Upcycling Heaven

This is where wallpaper really comes into it's own.  A couple of months ago I upcycled a sideboard and a drinks cabinet by wallpapering the back of them and am now completely hooked.  It was so easy!  And so effective!  And the best thing is, because you only need a small amount of wallpaper, it's ridiculously bloody cheap!  Am currently considering papering the back of the sitting room shelves as am totally overexcited by my success.  Likelihood of exceeding my decorating skill limit - high.  Hashtag bollocks it up.

My best ever project using Julian McDonald palm wallpaper from B&Q.  My mother in law has whipped the rest to decorate the back of her drinks cabinet.  Everyone's a winner.

My best ever project using Julian McDonald palm wallpaper from B&Q.  My mother in law has whipped the rest to decorate the back of her drinks cabinet.  Everyone's a winner.

So if you want to get ahead, wallpaper is the way forward.  You don't have the do the whole room.  Just adding colour and pattern to any room in your home, whether it be a wall, a staircase or a piece of furniture can bring a bit of individuality and fun to an otherwise boring space.  Every time I walk into my hallway, I'm hit with a massive pop of pink from the Deco Palm and whatever the weather, it feels like the sun is shining.  It's a mood lifter and a happiness bringer.  Wallpaper rocks.  Long live wallpaper.