Wallpaper Stages a Contemporary Comeback

There's a wallpaper revival going on - and we're not talking about the furry cream-coloured florals peeling from Nan's walls.

Aussie homeowners are done with dated sponging and ragging painting techniques and are papering their walls with textured prints and classic Florence Broadhurst designs.

Nadia Klaczkiewicz from Sydney's Signature Prints says people are looking for contemporary prints in bold colours and metallics.

"We have a lot of people comment on how they get flashbacks of their grandparent's houses," Klaczkiewicz said of the rising number of clients on the hunt for handcrafted designs.

"They thought they would never choose wallpaper for themselves but our wallpapers are so different in terms of the colours that are chosen, they're very contemporary," she said.

"Wallpapers in the past tend to have either been gaudy or the opposite and quite stale and dated."

Wallpaper can be applied to the whole room, as a feature wall, in a panel and even on moving screens, as Klaczkiewicz has done in her rental apartment - the goal is to make an impact.

"These days when people decide to wallpaper it's a conscious decision about making a statement in the home," Klaczkiewicz said, adding that it's possible to do it yourself.

"People making that decision they put a lot more care into choosing a pattern that's right for them and a colour way that's right for them.

"It's definitely a move away from wallpapering just for wallpaper's sake."

And while wallpapers were once confined to living areas and bedrooms, Klaczkiewicz said in the past 12-months people have been taking the durable treatment into the kitchen and bathroom.

The most popular prints at Signature's inner-city studio are Birds of Paradise - a bold pink print on a champagne backdrop - and Paris - a symmetrical, artistic print on a white gloss.

"People who are making kind of a statement as a feature wall really like the soft gold and brushed gold and brushed silvers and our cream paper has been very popular with bedrooms," she said.

Style director at House and Garden magazine, Janet James, agrees that wallpaper aint what she used to be and is "very much so" back in fashion.

"It has a new look and it's not like the old wallpaper," she said from her office in Sydney.

"I think most people think of (wallpaper) as lots of little florals, or stripes, but the metallics are really coming through.

"They've been given a new life with really up-beat and different colours."

James said wallpaper gives homes an "edgier look" that has always been popular in the UK.

Australians tend to go for a "lighter and brighter" decor that reflects the casual, outdoorsy vibe, she said.

"Today's generation haven't really lived with wallpaper."

"There's a general trend throughout all countries for a bit more decoration and a bit more pattern and colour."

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