Wallpaper: Yesterday & Today

Wallpaper is one of those polarizing topics that will leave people either exclaiming “I love it” or the exact opposite. We all remember the wallpaper craze of the 1980’s, but did you know wallpaper has origins steeped in the influences of many countries? Here at Signature Lane, we are obsessed with how easy it is to use wallpaper to create a statement, as you will see here in the pops of colour chosen in each of these powder rooms. Every room tells a story as individual as the walls of the home they adorn. Whether you want to inject a splash of colour and personality or weave soft texture into a space- wallpaper is a quick and easy way to do so. But first, let’s talk history!

Spade wallpaper  Green leopard wallpaper

A Brief History of Wallpaper

The earliest known remnants of wallpaper can be traced back to China in 200 B.C. In the beginning, the prints were hand-painted with motifs like flowers, birds and landscapes. They were painted on thin sheathes of rice paper. It was then brought to the middle east by Chinese prisoners who taught the art to their captors who then introduced linen for durability.
By the 16th century wallpaper is imported to Europe. Somewhere in the early part of the 1600’s, techniques were developed that we now know as flocking or velvet flocking. Flocking is still popular today primarily in damask patterns.

In the late 1600’s the French created block printing and pattern repetition. Silk screening allowed for mass production of wallpaper during the Victorian era where it became the next hot thing in decorating.

For a detailed history check out these articles:


Fish wallpaper  Lips wallpaper

The Dark Side of Wallpaper

By the 1800’s wallpaper gained popularity as a modern luxury. It became punishable by death if you were caught forging a wallpaper stamp. Around the same time, mass produced English wallpapers were found to be using arsenic in some of their green dyes. This resulted in several childhood deaths. Eventually new formulas were introduced and were advertised to be arsenic free.

From Humble Beginnings to Luxury Brands

From humble beginnings to the biggest luxury houses in the world- Hermes, Versace, Christian Lacroix and Louis Vitton- wallpaper has been in and out of the spotlight as well as in and out of fashion. Today designers all over the world are embracing wallpaper as an accessible way to add interest to spaces they may not want to add artwork, to make sense of awkward areas and to lend life and fresh perspective to dull spots.

Fan wallpaper  Pink botanical wallpaper

Wallpaper from a Design Perspective

From a design standpoint, wallpaper is one of many ways to introduce colour, pattern and texture. Shown here in a variety of powder rooms, you can see how easy it is to inject character into a space and to tell a story. Quirky, fun or fabulous- you decide! What I love most about wallpapering a powder room is that it offers an unexpected burst of life and because it is such a small space it doesn’t feel like an overwhelming commitment. Who needs conversation starters when your guests catch a glimpse of some beautifully crafted wallpaper in your main floor bath?

Installation VS. DIY

While here at Signature Lane we suggest using a professional installation service to ensure proper placement and pattern match, you could also opt to hang the wallpaper yourself. Keep in mind that precise cuts and measurements can make or break an installation. However, a simple feature wall is a weekend project you could tackle depending on how ambitious you are.

Grey ink blot wallpaper  Pink branch wallpaper

At Signature Lane

We use a variety of wallpaper companies whose books we showcase in our design centre. Many patterns come in different colour options. For the fully bold and committed some books have patterns in coordinating colorways which means you could do more than one type of wallpaper in your space! Think of a beautiful grass cloth combined with a bold floral in muted tones for a master bedroom. Or try a pinstripe with a geometric wallpaper in a dining room. Really, the sky is the limit with wallpaper!

Pop by the store today to peruse our wallpaper library! You’ll be thrilled when you see how easy it is to pair your furniture and window coverings with wallpaper in any room of your home. If you would prefer to make an appointment to sit down with one of our designers, give us a call (780) 453-2200.