The Power Of Paper

I was recently asked in an interview my thoughts on wallpaper and I quickly responded that I loved it because it is the ultimate problem solver. Paper can provide relief to difficult rooms and spaces easily. On the flip side, it can be used to make a bold statement. We’ll look at some of my favorite projects where wallpaper is the great, all-purpose design tool.

Let’s start at the front of the house. The entryway can be a cold, sometimes cavernous space. Often connected to the stairway and hall leading to the second floor, it can also be a space that is hard to define. Enter the perfect wall covering, your great problem solver! The continuous pattern or texture of a paper instantly warms and shrinks the space, while also connecting the entryway and the upper floor. Farrow & Ball’s Lotus, pictured below left, is one of my all-time favorite wallpapers.

Older homes come with lots of wonderful charm, but can also present the greatest design challenges. Small, quirky rooms, awkward ceilings, we have seen it all! It’s important to focus on the positives and work on distracting the eye when necessary. In these two rooms, paper was the answer to intersecting ceiling lines. In the room on the left, we used a small pattern paper on the walls and ceiling to make those lines completely disappear.

In a utilitarian space, like a small powder room, paper can add distinction. Powder rooms are also a fantastic place to try a bold paper, one that you might not be willing to use in your living room or dining room. I love the surprise that comes with opening the door to a powder room and finding a fabulous paper!

Similarly, I always think of accessories, like shoes and handbags, as a great place to try a bold pattern. Let’s face it, it can be hard to wear that pattern all over sometimes. Remember, pattern is a great way to distract attention from all of the wrong areas!

Paper backed fabric is one of my favorite ways to incorporate texture into a space, like in this space where we used one of my own textiles on the ceiling. Don’t forget about that ceiling, it’s your fifth wall!

In these two spaces, the focus was on some beautiful millwork, but we also used a fabric, had it paper backed and installed it as a wallcovering in the bookshelves. It was the perfect accent in an otherwise quiet space.

If paper isn’t on your agenda, accessories are a great way to add that punch to a quiet space.

Paper is a great tool for adding character or making a bold statement in a dining room. And, it doesn’t have to be a loud pattern, sometimes a tonal pattern or a grass cloth in the perfect color is all you need. Another one of my go-to wallpaper choices is Quadrille’s San Marco, featured on the walls in the dining room on the bottom right.

Tweeds, boucles and lace are all fabrics that work in a similar way in fashion. I love how they lend pattern and texture in a more subtle way.

Here are a few of my favorite finds this week, inspired by all of the wonderful patterns of wallpaper! This wouldn’t be complete without including some items by masters of pattern in fashion, like Missoni, Pucci and Diane Von Furstenberg. Enjoy!