The wallpaper trend: From Han to eternity!

It’s quite possible that our love-hate relationship with wallpaper began when paper was invented. In 105 AD, a Han dynasty Chinese court official named Ts’ai Lun dried a mix of macerated tree bark, hemp, old rags and fishnet to make paper. Until then all printing was on cloth made of pure silk. So, we’re talking a few or more centuries of divisive opinion.

Meant to mimic the expensive tapestries hanging on the walls in homes of the very rich during the Renaissance, wallpaper was hung loose or pasted on to add colour and style to a room. The highest quality, hand-painted papers of the time came from China, but there was no end of designs coming from Europe. As patterns come and go and come back again, like those from the 18th and 19th century Europe, history shows us that a good motif can stand the test of time.

When it comes to installation, I can’t help but wonder how many divorces over the centuries started as arguments while couples hung wallpaper –never mind trying to take it all down. At least as it comes in and out of fashion, the quality continues to improve.

Today’s vinyl-coated wallpaper is easier to hang. We’ve gone backwards in time, applying paste to the wall and attaching paper, rather than soaking it to activate the paste. No more trough-kicking spills!

Wallpaper is also more easily strippable than its predecessors. The days of scratching away at walls with a putty knife are done. Simply start in one corner and strip it off in long sheets. Very gratifying.

But why wallpaper and not paint? If you have old plaster walls they may have unsightly dents, cracks or uneven surfaces that paint can’t hide. Coat it with wallpaper and most of the imperfections can be hidden. Even if your walls are in good shape, think about the advantages.

Wallpaper is a great way to give your room colour, texture and style. While in the past, colour schemes and patterns were very limited, today there is a much wider selection.

With photo-technology you can add lots of texture (or faux texture) to your walls. Full sized wall murals can resemble everything from aged barn board to marble tile or even industrial concrete.

There are many whimsical choices available like library shelves filled with books, full lush draperies and industrial file cabinets that can cover whole walls. A little whimsy can go a long way and these murals make a great statement as a focal wall.

Wallpaper can be a cost-effective option. It’s a durable product and when applied properly it can last for years. Try it on one wall to save money and add a punch of style.

When it comes to stamping your personality on a room or living space, don’t be afraid to do what some may view as “unconventional.”

Making your walls original and memorable is a great way to explore your creative side when making your home your own

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