HALE W18 Masthead

The Bold and the Beautiful: Wallpaper

Sarah Annand

Wallpaper is back and here to stay.

Right across the spectrum, from professional interior decorators and designers to DIYers, wallpaper is being rediscovered for its properties of colour, flexibility and value. The use of wallpaper demonstrates the users’ flair and imagination.

Applying wallpaper to a space brings about instantaneous change. And it can be done easily; it’s arguably less messy and disruptive than painting a room.

The first consideration has to be the space in question: its size, shape, available light. What is the purpose of wallpaper here? Is it to accentuate some particular feature? Or lift the whole room? When the purpose of the exercise is defined, the choices are revealed.

Bien Fait Paris Wallpaper Mural. Image: instagram/zotheysay

Bien Fait Paris Wallpaper Mural. Image: zotheysay.com

The word ‘substrate’ used in relation to wallpaper refers to the surface of the paper, the texture and lustre. Both of these qualities, combined with the pattern and colour of the design, will bring together the ‘look and feel’ you have in mind.

MissPrint Home - Bringing pot plants inside.

MissPrint Home – Bringing pot plants inside.

For example, a complex, detailed pattern on a textured substrate tends to make a space seem smaller, whereas simple, single-motif patterns on matt, flat paper seemingly ‘grows’ the area covered. By adding colour and pattern, a bold or subtle statement can be made; such as, the use of smaller prints can create a more textural backdrop to a room rather than becoming a focus.

Image: instagram/houseandgarden

Image: instagram/houseandgarden

Many people like to create a theme for their redecorating. Probably the most common use of theming is in children’s spaces.

These walls. Image: instagram/reallivingmag

These walls. Image: instagram/reallivingmag

The current crop of innovative wallpaper designers and manufacturers create products that don’t make a child’s space too ‘cutesy’, but certainly bold and fun. This attitude is best, as children’s crazes come and go with each new brilliant Pixar movie or superhero fad. You don’t want yesterday’s hero hanging around for too many years!

Sparkk Banana Palms

Sparkk – Banana Palms Grande. Image: instagram/insideoutmag

Nowadays some great innovations allow personalised definition to other items in the space. You can align feature walls, bed heads, throws, and of course, ubiquitous cushions to exactly match or at least complement the wallpaper chosen.


Quercus & Co wallpaper – bring the outdoor greenery in to work with the timber feature bedhead and the Australian flora.

Quercus & Co wallpaper – bring the outdoor greenery in to work with the timber feature bedhead and the Australian flora.

Here are a few special types of papers and designs that are currently ‘faves’ in our Australian interiors                               


Bring art to your space via wallpaper. Wallpaper is now another avenue of creative expressions for many designers and artists; they’re starting their own brands using their own artwork.

ARTWORK by relativity Textiles - the process behind boutique wallpapers

Artwork by Relativity Textiles – the process behind boutique wallpapers

Powder room - Ralativity Textiles soft suble elegant pattern

The finished product of this artwork – Peacock in Coral in this beautiful powder room, introducing soft, and subtle pattern and colour

Wallpaper tiles

These are great—reusable, self-adhesive and come in a range of colours and patterns. You can create borders, patterned surfaces, feature walls and more. See Quercus & Co.

ENTRY INTEREST by Quercus & Co Wallpaper Tiles

ENTRY INTEREST by Quercus & Co Wallpaper Tiles

Digital printing

Gone are the days we had to search for hours for the design with that perfect colour match. Digital printing now allows us to draw on patterns and designs that we are loving, and add our own colours to create the right fit with our interior schemes. Sparkk is the company doing great work in this area.

Sparkk - linking the walls with you interior soft furnishings

Sparkk – linking the walls with you interior soft furnishings

I love wallpaper—the diversity is super creative and exciting, with expanding options for Australia’s interior spaces due to the technology we now have at our fingertips. We can introduce wallpapers into our interior spaces like never before!

Sparkk Custom brick

Sparkk Custom brick

Sarah Annand

Sarah Annand is the Creative Director at Cloth and Paper Studio, Fyshwick. With a passion for art and styling, she has almost a decade of experience working in textiles and interior design. On relocating from Melbourne a few years ago, she became the mum of Sadie and continues her love of textiles in our capital. More about the Author

  • Fusion_Painting

    Great article! Pattern matching can be tricky and some of the ‘paste the paper’ wallpapers are difficult to apply so always engage a professional installer especially as good quality wallpaper can be expensive (although of course absolutely beautiful) 🙂

  • Diana O’Neil

    Never seen or heard of wallpaper tiles before (my bad?), but they’re a great idea.

  • So many wonderful patterns!

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