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August 11, 2020 – Published in Design & Decor Summer 2015 issue

Wonderful wallpapers

Words: Kenneth Tanti – Interior designer

The power of nature is the strongest force that can exist. Yet we all know that nature can be calming and soothing; an element that individuals desire to introduce and reflect in their own homes. And what else can carry it in better than having it as an influence on patterns and designs on wall coverings?

Wall coverings have come a long way from what one knows them to be. Gone are the days of just a printed paper in patterns that we are tired of seeing. Wall coverings have now got more texture thrown into them than ever. From woven natural yarns and jute to ones made out of compressed foliage. It’s truly a feast to the senses!

The use of wallpapers and wall coverings in both homes and commercial areas has increased drastically and is still on the increase. Due to this there has been a rapid evolution of designs and techniques, resulting in an outburst of innovation. Such development has led to technological advancements in the production and manufacturing of wall coverings that can mimic virtually any natural materials such as Stone, marble, granulated glass, metal, wood and it goes on and on. And they are all done so beautifully.

I have worked with companies that specialise in the use of natural fibres and materials that are growing all around us. I have recently decorated a study at a client’s home using a wall covering made out of compressed water lily leaves that are then woven onto a paper backing. The range of colours in this particular collection was so breathtaking, with colours like emerald green, yellow gold, wine-red, turquoise, frozen white, lustrous chestnut, ebony and lilac, that it was challenging to finally conclude on one. With each natural wall covering being so different and unique to anything else, the effect was instantaneously magical and transformed the room into a tranquil zen space.

Although these natural and textured wallpapers are a current trend and creation, they can still be incorporated into both modern and more classical interiors. The textures are all so different. We have used heavily woven patterns that would usually give an ethnic feel in clean modern spaces, creating a sense of warmth, which on its own is almost enough to furnish the whole room.

Textile wall coverings have also become very popular these days. From shimmery silk effect to more contemporary woven linens. Once installed the walls seem as though they are panelled in fabric. There is no need to mention what a beautiful effect this creates. In the past I have used a textile wall covering in a gorgeous dining room to create a silk panel effect. Using a fine silk woven with a traditional damask design gave the room a palatial feel to it.

Nowadays clients walk in asking for wallpaper and they always leave with something completely different to what they had in mind. Seeing one collection makes you forget completely of the previous one. Wall coverings have almost become an art in themselves. For the cautious person who may have reservations about using a delicate wallpaper for practical reasons there are different options, vinyl being the best solution. Vinyl wallpapers are extremely hard wearing and can be wiped, wash and scrubbed, meaning they are perfect for areas with heavy traffic such a hallways, kitchens, bathrooms and kids rooms. Going for a vinyl paper does not mean that you have to compromise on texture and colour as advancements in the manufacturing technique means that they still look very natural.

Looking at new collections for this summer, the trend seems to be heading towards the darker neutral tones. However being summertime I am always inclined to add a splash of colour amongst which I am gravitating towards teal and aqua. Mixed in with timeless neutrals, this palette will not tire any time soon.

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