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Publication Date: 2014-02-01

Design Insights

Wallpaper in the Bath

I am not really a “trend” person, but I would have to be blind not to notice all the fabulous wallpapers being installed now, especially in powder rooms. I can’t think of a better place to experiment with some funky wall covering than a small bath. The drama ratio is high and the expense can be low because so little material is needed.

It is important to consider color when selecting wallpaper. Although the pattern can be subtle or bold, the color should be compatible with the adjacent rooms. A bold new color statement would be too shocking.

Wallpaper, like tile or any decoration, is such a personal choice and it reflects an individual point of view. Soft neutral colors are easy to live with even if the pattern is graphic or big, traditional or modern. Bright colors, on the other hand, can be fun, charming or glamorous or just plain wild. Certain types of patterns and colors can suggest certain geographies. If I were to think about typical Portuguese designs, they would be blue and ornate. An English country house might have rolls of William Morris leafy patterns applied to the walls, not only in powder rooms but certainly in bedrooms and dining rooms.

I had absolutely no luck finding examples of modern baths with decorative wallpaper. I imagine that the prevailing style would be to use textured paper such as grass cloth or linen.

When thinking about wallpaper and wall patterns, I could only think about all of the glorious patterned rugs for floors from soft worn orientals and kilims to David Hicks modern designs. Pattern can be easy to live with. So why not translate the information that seems so familiar on floors to walls? What a nice surprise to open a powder room door and be met with an abundance of color and pattern.

If you have examples of your newly wallpapered bath that you would like to send, I will try to post them when I write again about wallpaper. Try something new and different. It will be fun and you might have surprisingly great results.


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