Thanks to its regular appearances everywhere from Instagram to HGTV to HGTV's Instagram, it can be hard to imagine a time when wallpaper was considered anything other than the height of cool. And yet, as New York-based interior designer Sasha Bikoff explains, it has something of a shadowy history. "Wallpapers in the past were limiting. There weren't that many options and it felt very generic. Now wallpapers are super artful and are breaking the boundaries between art and design," she says.
Thankfully, wallpaper's dark days are safely behind us (though there is a chance you'll still catch a glimpse of them at mid-price hotels and in the homes of elderly relatives). In addition to bearing artful — and often, in fact, artist-designed — patterns, many of today's wallpapers are also of the removable variety, making them a feasible option for those of us not lucky enough to own our places of residence. That's right, in the year 2019, you can wallpaper your apartment and your landlord never has to know.
Most self-adhesive, removable wallpaper really is just as easy as measuring your target wall, buying the correct amount of paper, cleaning the surface, and sticking it on. Some companies, like WallsNeedLove, even make paper that can be removed and re-stuck, which means you don't have to feel guilty spending a little extra paper on your paper, even if you're planning a move.
If you prefer to draw inspiration from places a bit more highbrow than the aforementioned HGTV (no shade to Chip and Joanna!), consider Bikoff's work at last year's Kips Bay Decorator Show House. Using three ultra-graphic patterns from Voutsa, she created a candy-colored "stairway to heaven" that we honestly can't decide if we'd rather live in or eat. Obviously, it's a lot of look for most private homes (though more power to you if you choose to DIY something like this — please send us a picture), but if looking at it doesn't make you want to invest in some wallpaper, we don't know what will. Our other favorite sources of inspiration come from a more unlikely source: the walls of trendy NYC restaurants. Consider Indochine, with its iconic palm fronds; Vic's pink flamingo bathrooms; and even Grassroots Juicery's influencer-baiting watermelon walls.
Much like white jeans after Labor Day or miniskirts post-40, there's a baseless and outmoded stigma against putting bold wallpaper in a small space. Don't listen to it! "Smaller spaces are the best spaces for wallpaper," argues Bikoff. "The key to a small space is packing a lot of punch it to. That's why I love wallpapered powder rooms. With small spaces you can create a jewel box with wallpaper."
New York-based interior designer Jessica Schuster advises out-of-the-box thinking not just in pattern, but also in placement. A fun way to experiment with wallpapers, especially in small places, is to try it on the ceiling," she shares. "If you don’t want to commit to any bold patterns, you can try more natural looking wallpapers that add fun texture and an added layer of design and luxe."