• Designer James Treble

Wallpaper Is Art

If you are thinking of furnishing a wall but lack the right art piece or if you are renting and can’t permanently alter a wall, then think laterally, use your imagination and don’t underestimate your DYI abilities.

With so many amazing choices on the wallpaper market, we easily forget that it used to be quite expensive, hand printed and hand painted. Some old wallpapers are nowadays part of museum collections and some have been carefully reproduced when needed for heritage restorations. Wallpapers have reflected the furnishing and artistic trends of the time, and are nowadays available in a wide range of designs and finishes.

Despite loving the strength of a wallpapered wall as a feature, today I am suggesting a quicker and more artistic way to decorate a wall, which is also very cost effective: Frame it! Wallpaper leftovers may be found in dad’s garage, second hand shops, recycling centres, and of course wallpaper shops. Try asking for old sample catalogues… but if your budget allows and you’re after specific patterns or colours, buy a new roll on a stylish design.

Searching in charity shops can be a very rewarding experience, often old framed artworks can be very disappointing, yes, but what about just the frames? For a few dollars each, frames are all you need. Give them a good clean, a coat of paint, or a simple and light spray of colour… then fill them with your chosen wallpaper off cuts and arrange the lot in a more or less styled order. Removable hooks are perfect for this exercise and will cause no damage to the wall. If the wallpapers you’ve selected are varied in pattern or colour, then keep the frames of a similar colour to help bring it all together.

The following image has a very elegant feel, due to the delicate choice of colour, oversized frame and the vertical placement. To achieve this look, I would buy two boards of marine plywood and glue the wallpaper on it. Note the simple but elegant framed finish around the edges; you could use timber architrave for a border mitred at the corners. Resting them on the floor will once again leave the wall undamaged.

The next example is a wallpapered portion of the wall, using the edging as a frame. Picture-like, it’s a winner for its elegant choice of design and of course the vibrant colour which makes it the attention catcher. Of course the bold yellow is echoed and at the same time ‘tamed’ by other objects around the room.

In the next image: the same-sized frames, the perfect alignment and the common colour tones help bring order to this choice of different wallpaper designs. A striking wall piece, easy to realise with small and affordable pre-made frames and small affordable swatches of paper.

If you’re after some great generic designs go see Annandale wallpaper and paint. For something a little more boutique and perhaps made in your own colour choices, see our good friends at Ella & Sofia, you will be surprised at how affordable bespoke wallpaper can be. Finally, Signature Prints with classic Florence Broadhurst designs.

Googling on the internet we find endless sources of inspiration… use your imagination, personal taste and above all have fun with it.

James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James Treble has more than 25 years of experience in the Building Industry and Interior Design. His knowledge and experience in adding value to homes, through clever design & styling, is now published for all to learn and benefit from. Interior Design For Profit is now available online.


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