Sometimes people are frightened hearing the term “wallpaper” thinking back to their grandmother’s floral patterns from the mid 20th century. Wallcoverings have come a long way since the mass-produced patterns in the 50’s and 60’s and even beyond that to their inception as decorated rice paper made by the Chinese thousands of years ago.


During the 16th century, tapestries flanked the walls of the elite providing insulation and decoration to rooms. Wallpaper became a common means of yielding an element of décor without the considerable material and labor-intensive tapestries. Most methods of production at this time were hand painting, stenciling, machine printing, and the most typical method: woodblock printing.

Wood Block Printed Wallpaper

With the invention of cylinder printing in the 19th century, in which rolls of paper weave through a series of engraved rollers continuously printing on the paper, wallcoverings became much more readily available to the consumer. Since then, many new innovations in wallcovering technologies have been developed, including new printing methods such as digital or inkjet printing, and the invention of durable vinyl wallcoverings.

Wall Paper Printing Process


Today, textured wallcoverings have become a popular, more luxurious substitute for a basic painted accent wall, introducing an additional ornamental and tactile element in any space. Here’s a collection of some present-day wallcovering options from new dimensional products to contemporary patterns.

Hand painted wallcoverings from Vahallan Papers bring an element of elegance to a room.

Vahallan Callisto

Vahallan Aspire

The delicately hand crafted wallcoverings from Maya Romanoff also provide texture within a space.

Maya Romanoff River Bed

Maya Romanoff Mother of Pearl Chevron

Similar to the Mother of Pearl wallcovering shown above, many manufacturers incorporate natural elements into their products. This includes paper weaves, grasscloths, silks and granite from Phillip Jeffries.

Phillip Jeffries Paper Weave Driftwood

Phillip Jeffries Grasscloth Soho Hemp

Phillip Jeffries Solstice Silk

Phillip Jeffries Granite Stone

Another natural element commonly used as a wallcovering is cork, shown below from Innovations.

Innovations cork

Innovations Pietra cork

This breathtaking wallcovering from MDC is yet another example of incorporating a natural element made from real peacock feathers.

Unique Effects Feathers MDC

Vinyl wallcoverings, made for their durability and cleanability, have also come a long way and can mimic natural or textile like patterns with a longer life span. They can also be manufactured into original patterns and textures of which other products don’t have the capability. Below are some examples of vinyls made from DL Couch and one from Maya Romanoff.

DLCouch Cortex
DL Couch Aspirations

Maya Romanoff Weathered Metal

Paintable Anaglypta wallcoverings are a great way to bring dimension to a wall surface.

Anaglypta Vinyl Heritage

Metals and metallic paints are often incorporated in wall coverings to give them an extra eye catching element such as these from Phillip Jeffries.

Phillip Jeffries Etched

Phillip Jeffries Gilded Age

Incorporating an updated floral print can add a beautiful pattern to a space such as these from Osborne and Little, Farrow and Ball, and DL Couch.

Osborne and Little Rosabella

Farrow and Ball Wisteria

DL Couch Eden

This damask has another updated look for a commonly traditional wallpaper from Farrow and Ball.

Farrow and Ball Orangerie

Many contemporary patterns and geometrics are available as well, such as these from Osborne and Little and Cole and Son.

Cole and Son Vivienne Westwood Dogtooth

Osborne and Little Volte Face

Osborne and Little Boa

(wallcovering shown on furniture below)

Cole and Son Apex

Novelty prints  from Osborne and Little and Cole and Son can also be very fun for the right space.

Osborne and Little Penguin Library

Cole and Son Fornasetti II Macchine Volanti

Cole and Son New Contemporary Two Woods

These are just a few of the thousands of wallcovering options available today. Any of these products can instantly transform a room and are a great way to incorporate pattern and texture in a space.

Informational sources: 1 2 3 4