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In Your Space

Wallpaper Wallpaper Revival

By Amelia Tham on 6th September 2010

Amelia Tham from Iconic Designs loves creating beautiful spaces and sharing her passion through her blog. Her style is fluid and she captures her current fixations in her postings. A proud Malaysian, Amelia is set on promoting local talents to her worldwide readers.


Wallpaper History The first use of wallpaper can be traced to China as early as 200 B.C. when rice paper was crudely glued on walls. The Chinese invented papermaking in 105 A.D. from rags and the skill eventually spreaded around the world reaching Europe in the twelfth century. Wallpaper experienced its first renaissance as a decorative trend in the fifteenth century when aristocratic and affluent Europeans adorned their walls with intricate hand-painted paper. In 1675 Jean-Michel Papillon, who some consider the real inventor of wallpaper, created block designs in matching, continuous patterns which is the wallpaper or wallcovering as we know it today. It was in the eighteenth century with advancements in printing technology that wallpaper was widely manufactured and became accessible to the common home. There were mixed feelings about wallpaper as the breeding ground for bacteria and prompted improvements in the quality of the paper. Circa 1940’s, plastic resins made its appearance in wallpaper which offered stain resistance, washability, durability and strength. Modernism embraced minimalism and wallpaper fell out of favour once again. And again, wallpaper reinvented itself – it is now easier to hang and remove, produced from environmentally sustainable resources and tastefully designed for today’s discerning individuals. Even world renown fashion and creative designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Ralph Lauren, Allegra Hicks, Julien MacDonald and Umbra have spread their stylish wings into wallpaper design.

credits: Vivienne Westwood

Pattern And Colours The choice of wallpaper affects the mood and style of a room. Chinoiserie wallpaper brings about a feeling of romance and elegance while bright prints with repeated motifs shouts for fun. A modern minimalist look can be enhanced with geometric patterned wallpaper one side of a wall.


Rich damask patterns of the Victorian era and classical patterns of birds or flowers have been reinterpreted to contemporary and edgy designs that would easily complement a modern home. If loud and bold is not your style, consider a soft and shadowy pattern that would less likely overwhelm your senses.

Personalised Designs It’s as easy as converting your own digital picture into bespoke wallpaper and adds instant drama to a room.


Texture, Shine and Shimmer The latest generation of wallpaper is highly engineered and incorporates compounds giving off a third dimension to traditional wallpaper. Not only does it look fantastic with choices that are shiny and shimmery but there’s an added feel of luxury as you touch it. This is widely known now as wallcoverings. Wallcoverings come in various forms - leather, which gives a strong appearance of masculinity, grasscloth and bamboo which are both natural and earthy. Also fast emerging in the market are stone or shell covered wallpaper. As with all natural products, the colours and patterns are not always consistent and joins are notably more visible than printed wallpaper. That said, there is no other look that can be compared to the splendour of a wallcovered room.

Wallpaper Revival  

Wallpaper makes a come back.

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