As a teenager, I spent a whole summer holiday ripping down the bamboo wallpaper in my parents’ sitting room and repainting the walls pink, but as I point out in my book The Tailored Interior, the irony is that these days I’d be more likely to install the patterned wallpaper than rip it down!
That’s because I’ve come to absolutely love the magic that wallpaper can bring to a space. However I can still appreciate why some people are apprehensive about choosing wallpaper. They worry that it might make a room look smaller, that they’ll fall out of love with the pattern or that the look will date all too quickly. So they often default to the safer choice, paint.
And while paint finishes are beautiful and classic, generally speaking they just don’t match the luxury and opulence that wallpaper can bring; patterns, materials and motifs that can actually touch emotions and the intellect simultaneously.
So what’s the starting point? The first major factor is how much light there is in the room. For example, I’d never recommend using dark wallpaper in a space that’s not well lit, however dark walls, wallpaper and even ceilings can create a wonderfully dramatic space as long as there’s sufficient natural light. Textured wallpaper is another great visual treatment with the variable looks it takes on with different light and of course it also rewards your sense of touch with its natural fibres.
I’m known for my bold use of colour and pattern and it’s true that I love big prints to really make a statement and set a mood, but I also appreciate the use of smaller prints in the way they can create a more subtle and textural backdrop to a room rather than becoming a focus. So there’s bold or subtle, but wallpaper can also be fun and I sometimes like using it to make a light-hearted reference to a room’s purpose, for example using book-motif wallpaper in a library.
But whatever the design’s theme, I tend to prefer it applied across an entire room for a complete design statement rather than just as a feature wall, which I think can look a little disjointed and unresolved. You can even get adventurous and consider it for your ‘fifth wall’, the ceiling.
Wallpaper can really make a room sing, so it does strike me as odd that likening something or someone to ‘wallpaper’ means that they’re bland, invisible, plain or boring. Because I think of wallpaper as anything but!
[contextly_sidebar id=”tjIQ76CGMw5R8oaNsUb4YgjPQ5RRJRxh”]Wallpaper is a truly creative expression of your style and has huge sensory impact when it’s applied effectively. So get creative and experiment with colour, pattern, texture and lustre. Who knows, you might even end up choosing a retro bamboo print like the one I ripped down all those years ago!
Find more winning ways with wallpaper in Greg’s book The Tailored Interior, available at all good bookstores or online at Bookworld. Greg Natale Collection II, his second wallpaper collection for Porter’s Paints, launched last week and features sophisticated geometrics, dynamic lines and comprehensive colour ranges.