Wallpaper has been in and out of style so many times it’s hard to keep track. The taste of the aristocracy through the 18th and 19th centuries, the decor earned a bad reputation post-1950s for garish and kitschy patterns. Of recent, the wall accessory has gone under a bit of a quiet renaissance, with bold geometric shapes and classic stripes making a comeback in home decor. But for those who scoff at trend forecasts, wallpaper has probably always been a favourite. Here, some notable companies that specialize in high-end wallpaper design and creation.
Cole & Son
Founded in 1875, the English heritage company Cole & Son is one of the most storied wallpaper brands in existence today. Hitting on the trends of the late 19th century, the London company was renowned for its large stripe patterns, which were en vogue at the time. Moving through into the 1950s, the brand’s large florals and eccentric and intricate patterns were front and centre. Today, looks can be pulled from the archive collection, which includes some of the company’s classic and traditional work, as well as more graphic and contemporary designs. With its wallpaper still at Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament, Cole & Son is never a bad choice.
Another London-based designer is Karen Beauchamp who, after working in set design for the BBC, became known for her unique and custom wallpaper designs. Her early work revolved around hand-painted traditional patterns, which won her recognition and a place on walls at prestigious homes such as Queen Elizabeth’s Frogmore estate. Beauchamp later joined Cole & Son before breaking out on her own as a freelance designer. One of her more recent collections includes a collaboration with Swarovski for its first series of wallpaper. The creations are sparkly, of course, but also luxurious and understated. Wispy feather motifs and stripes feature in the offering—contemporary and classic at the same time.
Sanderson, based in England and founded in 1860, is one of the best-known wallpaper designers. The line includes fabrics, paints, and home accessories, and can be found all over the world. A design for nearly every taste can be found in Sanderson’s collections, which include whimsical mid-century designs, as well as a more classic vintage offering created to celebrate the brand’s 150th anniversary. No matter the direction of a room, there’s certainly a Sanderson to suit it.
Farrow & Ball
Britain’s Farrow & Ball began first as a paint brand when chemist John Farrow met engineer Richard Ball shortly after World War II. The duo set up their first factory in 1946 and supplied paint to companies such as Ford Motors and Raleigh Bicycles. Because of Farrow & Ball’s expertise with paint, its wallpapers are made not with ink but rather with a unique block and trough printing process that yields rich, deeply pigmented results. The end product is more of a merge of paint and paper than the typical wall treatments, and comes in a tidy offering of florals, stripes, and shapes.
Oscar de la Renta x Lee Jofa
A continental entry into the British-dominated world of luxury wallpaper is New York-based Lee Jofa. Teaming up with fashion house Oscar de la Renta, the company’s latest collaboration (its third) is bold and bright—a representation of de la Renta’s recognizable style. Glamorous floral and palm forms hearken back to the A-line patterned dresses that de la Renta established as a house signature. The collection blends Parisian refinement with tropical patterns—nearly a trademark for the late Dominican-born designer. The collection proves, even more, that wallpaper is back in fashion.
Keeping things at home is NewWall, a Mississauga, Ontario-based purveyor of fine wallpaper that has recently opened up a chic storefront in Toronto. Hawking brands like Armani/Casa and Sissy + Marley for Jill Malek, NewWall might not design its own coverings, but it sure knows a thing or two about the best options around. Selling classic and contemporary brands from a range of countries including Germany and Finland, the store is sure to become a place of imagination and inspiration for those looking to add a new element to their spaces.
Ever so adaptable, fun, and easy to apply, wallpaper is worthy of a place in every home.