When you think trendy, you rarely think of wallpaper. And that’s a good thing. Wallpaper manufacturers realise they make a product that won’t likely be removed for five or ten years, and they want to make designs that will stand the test of time.
But they also need to look somewhat modern for the customers who are about to buy new wallpaper. So they do follow fashion and design trends to a certain extent.
To see what we mean, scroll down. Because we’re talking about the big wallpaper trends of 2014.
Humorous and unusual prints dominate
Perhaps fitting for a time of austerity and general malaise, wallpaper prints are increasingly humorous, cheeky or just plain interesting. French wallpaper company Ugepa has printed a glittery skull design that calls to mind Damian Hirst’s famous objet d’art, and Cole and Son’s latest collection, based on the work of Fornasetti, often calls to mind the collage-esque illustrations of Terry Gilliam.
The retro revival is back – again
Little is more reliable than the annual return of the retro revival, and this year doesn’t disappoint. This year, the emphasis is on 50s and 60s minimalism. It’s all slightly off kilter geometrics, which looks great when a whole bunch of contrasting prints are jumbled together. If you’re going to go for this look, get geometric cushions, curtains or other fabrics to contrast brilliantly. Just pick a colour or colour scheme to tie the look together.
Flowers are all the rage once more
Flowers never really go out of style, do they? Still, every now and again fashionistas and design mavens remember how lovely flowers are, and they come back into prominence. This year, flowers are big again. Flowers are graphic, or boldly coloured, or large, or mixed in with a geometric print, or part of a textured pattern, or flocked or glittery.
In short, they’re anything but your grandmother’s frilly prints. Unless you want them to be, in which case you can find those, too.
Photorealism makes art out of your walls
New print techniques mean it is easier than ever to bring photographs to new and unexpected places, and wallpaper manufacturers have been taking serious advantage of this. As a result, some wallpapers have become less about repeating patterns and more about large eye-catching murals. This look is obviously not meant to be for an entire room and it’s not for the faint of heart, but for those with a blank feature wall and plenty of guts, it will pay off.
The same printing techniques that allow manufacturers to produce photo-quality murals also has allowed them to play around with trompe l’oeil effects, the optical illusion that gives 3D characteristics to flat surfaces. The simplest ones deftly use shadowing to give the impression that the design is floating off the wall, whilst others straight up mimic the textures of fabric, wood or brick.
You may have noticed a common theme in all of these trends. Essentially, they aren’t really suitable for entire rooms. And that is intentional. It is because feature walls are still the big thing in wallpaper. Still, if you want something a bit more subtle, a bit more classic, you can easily find that. But subtle and classic will never be trendy. Which is, of course, good in its own way. Just like trendy is good in its own way.
Now that you know the wallpaper trends of 2014, tell us: what wallpapers (if any) are you thinking about getting this year?