New research from Graham & Brown found that only one in ten Australians have wallpaper in their home, compared to more than half in the UK (56%) and the Netherlands (55%), and nearly two thirds in France (60%). But like many Aussie interior design decisions, could this simply be a response to our climate and lifestyle?
“European countries have been incorporating wallpaper as a standard design feature for years, but the laid back, more indoor/outdoor nature of the Australian design approach means it has been used more sparingly,” says interior designer Lori March of March Twice Interiors. But despite our relative lack of enthusiasm for the product, Lori has noticed it’s becoming more popular of late; something that she puts down to design-savvy clients and the availability of new, more contemporary patterns.
“I think wallpaper had a reputation for being a bit more formal, and sometimes even old-fashioned, and also the styles available weren’t always as appealing to people who had a more contemporary or casual design direction,” says Lori who thinks the wallpaper scene has been given a welcome breath of fresh air over the past five years.
Interior designer Lynne Bradley agrees, noting renewed enthusiasm for wallpaper in Australia – something she puts down to Instagram, and television shows like The Block. “Clients are realising that wallpaper is an affordable way to achieve ‘wow’ factor and create depth, scale, colour, pattern and personality in their homes,” says Lynne.
Like Lori, Lynne believes that Aussies’ reluctance to use wallpaper is due to the less-than-stylish choices of their childhood, and the unfounded fear of it being difficult to remove. Not only are modern wallpapers simple to remove, there’s an army of DIY removable ones on the market too. “We love the availability of removable wallpapers, especially for children’s rooms, so they can be updated or removed as they grow,” says Lori.
And in a sign that Aussies are fully embracing wallpaper, there are a number of local brands creating quintessentially Australian designs. There’s Willie Weston, who works with Indigenous artists to produce wallpapers and fabrics, as well as Native Swinson, who focusses on imagery and patterns reminiscent of the Australian landscape. “They are both helping to create wallpapers that are relevant to Australian interiors,” says Lori.
As for the rooms in which we are most likely to use wallpaper, both designers cite the bedroom and powder room as the most popular spots. Dabbling with a smaller space is a whole lot less daunting than committing to something bigger, and it’s a great way to dip your toes in. “If a client is unsure about committing to a material, it is best used in a smaller area of the home, or an area that is used less often,” says Lori.
When it comes to trends, both designers agree that grass cloth and textured wallpapers are an enduring, classic choice. “They are textural, warm and provide a soft feel to the room that does not have the overpowering nature of some more strongly patterned wallpaper,” says Lori. But as for the hottest wallpaper trends of the minute, there’s murals, terrazzo and large-scale florals. “Quiet wallpapers designs are out, and impact is in!” says Lynne.