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Top Wallpaper Trends for 2012

Last Updated Mar 27, 2012 · Written by Rob Schneider

Are you old enough to remember when wallpaper was "in"? If so, you're also old enough to remember when wallpaper was suddenly "out" and the first thing homeowners did to modernise their homes was strip off the old wallpaper and paint. Well, wallpaper is back with a vengeance and with good reason. As the top wallpaper trends for 2012 show, there's no better way to redecorate than with wallpaper.

Top Wallpaper Trends for Living Rooms

One thing all interior decorators seem to be recommending for the living room in 2012 is wallpaper. Which wallpaper style is the trendiest is a little harder to pinpoint. It depends partly on whether you want a traditional or contemporary look and partly on whether you take a subtle or bold approach to interior decor. Some of the more popular trends reflect the amazing range of possibilities that exist with wallpaper today:
  • If patterned wallpaper doesn't appeal to you or doesn't go well with the rest of your furnishings or decor, you may want to look at paintable wallpaper. An effective and stylish alternative to simply painting your walls, paintable wallpaper is textured. Bold geometric patterns are one popular choice, as is a remarkable "beadboard" wallpaper that when painted looks exactly like expensive painted timber wainscoting. This is an ideal way to give your living room a Victorian era look at a budget price.
  • On the opposite end of the spectrum, photorealistic wallpaper makes a dramatic statement in vivid colour. This new generation of wallpaper was impossible to produce before the age of digital photography. Now that it is available, though, the possibilities it offers are endless. Standard designs include everything from photorealistic distressed timber panelling or a "brick" wall to scenes from nature, "bookcases" stacked with books or something more subtle, like a stand of trees in winter in sepia or grey tones. If you can't find what you want, some companies will make custom wallpaper for you from your favourite photographs.
  • The retro look of the 50s, 60s and 70s is back and wallpaper designers have come up with retro patterns that are so stunning, you may decide to chuck out everything in your living room and start over from scratch with a totally Retro living room designed around your retro wallpaper.
  • Remember your grandmother's or great grandmother's prized velvet wallpaper? Velvet and other fabrics are back, both in textured and photorealistic versions of wallpaper. One emerging trend is to match wallpaper with the fabric chosen for your soft furnishings. Far from making the furniture fade into the background, the matching wallpaper seems to draw attention to its fine detailing.
Another trend for living rooms is ceiling wallpaper. Combined with the right chandelier or other lighting, a wallpapered ceiling is perfect for small living rooms, low ceilings or square living rooms that otherwise might feel too cramped or featureless.

Top Wallpaper Trends for Bedrooms

Wallpaper is making a comeback in bedrooms as well as living rooms. In the master bedroom, the trend is towards more subdued and romantic patterns and colours. In children's bedrooms, however, it's a different story (literally!). Storybook themed wallpapers are all the rage in children's bedrooms. The affect is like being transported "through the looking glass" into another magical world.

When you see the possibilities, you'll want to rush out and wallpaper all your rooms. Before you get too excited, though, remember that the wallpapers you've seen in magazines and online were hung by experts. Hanging wallpaper can be tricky and if it's not done just right, it can look all wrong. Get an expert wallpaperer to hang yours for you and it will be "picture perfect."
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