Wallpaper is a simple and ingenious way to underscore your home’s singular personality. And papering walls can serve as a less expensive alternative to art collecting.

“Customers are finding even just a little bit of wallpaper can make a room extraordinary,” said Katie Winborne, Osborne & Little’s local account executive.
Whether you favor classic patterns such as paisley or ornate damask in muted tones or a bold graphic a la Marimekko, the Finnish company known for its brightly colored textiles, an array of designs and color are on offer.

Despite the slowdown in homebuilding, there is a lively revival of the use of wallpaper, according to the Global Wallcoverings Association. Sales worldwide increased 10 percent in 2010, and designers agree the trend will continue.

“We have seen an upswing in popularity in recent years,” said Winborne. And for all ages, adds Clare Colton of Flavor Paper.

Though wallpaper stores are pretty much a thing of the past there are a lot more choices today. While some papers can be purchased only through a decorator, there are myriad online options. You can even purchase directly from the designer.

Flavor Paper makes custom hand-screened and custom digital-printed wallpaper using water-based inks or eco-solvents.

“The beauty of digital wallpaper is scalability and color range. We can turn any idea or image into a custom wall covering,” said Colton.

Typically there is an a la carte approach to the selection of paper and design. “We have a lot of images to pick from, or you can bring your own,” explained Colton. “Each pattern comes in a mix of colors so if you like the pattern but want to turn down the palette we can make it work in your space.”

The wallpaper by Aimee Wilder of Aimee Wilder Wallpaper and Designs offers bright, contemporary whimsical patterns of animals, toys and other objects, many perfect for a child’s room. “I’m inspired by pictures, graffiti art, modern graphic design, photography and stores with beautiful things,” she said.

Little red, blue, green robots; pink and blue whales spouting stars and hearts; brownish birds with red beaks perched across a limb; fantastical-shaped blue bottles redolent of a glass store in New York, are all playfully splattered across her paper.
“I like the idea of taking an animal and making it larger than life. I want to bring them into a world that’s not too realistic,” said Wilder.

Osborne & Little offers traditional florals, damasks and paisleys updated in contemporary colors; simple stripes and zigzags; textured paper evoking the coat of wild animals such as a boa; basket weaves and leather; and, holographic foil resembling grass.

“Wallpaper is getting better, and people are being more risky in the decoration of their personal space,” Wilder said.

Indeed, wallpaper is going up on an array of surfaces.

“Designers are wallpapering everything from spaces behind bookshelves, ceilings, dining rooms, powder rooms, master suites, children’s spaces, laundry rooms ... no space is off limits,” said Winborne. “Recently, we’ve seen wallpaper applied to furniture.”