Wallpaper makes a comeback

Erin Toner Feb 10, 2015
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Wallpaper makes a comeback

Erin Toner Feb 10, 2015
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When it comes to today’s wallpaper, pastel floral borders, mallard ducks and fake wood paneling are out. Graphic patterns, vibrant colors, earthy textures – in.

“This isn’t their mother’s wallpaper. That’s not what this is. This is artwork,” says Janice Biel, who’s shopping at Wallpaper Wallpaper in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

She’s looking for paper for her kids’ bedrooms – leathery for her son, and something sparkly for her daughter. Already, Biel’s home is nearly covered in wallpaper.

“My foyer, for the paper alone was over $10,000. People are like, ‘Oh my gosh,’” she says.

Mary Peschel has run this shop for 30 years, weathering wallpaper’s ups and downs. She says people are coming in now because they’re seeing modern designs and materials on TV and in magazines, and want to freshen up their homes.

“Something graphic, linear, your basic tones, greys, the neutral tones. But then again, you have a customer that comes in and says I want a paper that’s gonna make me feel happy,” Peschel says.

The market research firm Freedonia Group says U.S. wallpaper sales shot up more than 30 percent since 2010, and will hit $480 million this year.

“To provide some perspective, that’s coming out of a couple of years that were horrible, so the market is probably still smaller than it was in the heyday,” says Sean Samet, executive director of the Wallcoverings Association in Chicago.

Samet says during the recession, no one was spending money on remodeling or construction. Now that housing is back, he says wallpaper’s getting a boost.

And here’s maybe the best news: modern wallpaper is easier to put up, and to take down, when we inevitably decide that it’s just so tacky once again.

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