Up Against The Wall!

Right now, there is a revolution happening in wallpaper technology and design

Difficult to install, a nightmare to remove; easy to stain, hard to clean; that stuffy stuff in grandma’s parlor. Forget all that. Now, stain resistant materials and peel and stick technology solve the cleaning, installation, and removal problems. And, oh, the design opportunities! Showing up everywhere at Market, today’s wallpaper is taking the wall to a whole new level.

During their Market seminar, “A Wallpaper Revolution”, held in Market Square’s Antique & Design Center, Amy Mills and Katie Hunt discussed the many new surface materials that are redefining and reinvigorating the American wallpaper industry. Mills is the founder of Paper Mills, a workshop that uses traditional print methods like block printing to produce one-off, site-specific and high-volume commercial projects, and Hunt is an expert installer who has worked on HGTV’s “Property Brothers” and “Holmes on Homes.”

“Some designers are still frightened to use wallpaper,” said Mills. “They have horrible memories of trying to strip old wallpaper that smelled terrible and left a mess. Those days are long gone!” To demonstrate some of the new possibilities, Hunt unveiled her “Ode to High Point,” a custom mural that she designed for the occasion.

Another High Point exhibitor, Tempaper, has joined the revolution with a showroom full of self-adhesive, environmentally friendly wallpaper. “Our aunt was a set decorator in NYC and wanted removable wallpaper to make her job easier,” said Jennifer Matthews, who co-founded the company with her sister, Julia Au. After trying many water-based solutions in different levels of humidity on the walls of their apartment in NYC, they created the world’s first removable wallpaper in 2008.

“Bobby Berk (design guru on the Netflix series “Queer Eye”), was one of the first to offer our products in his retail stores,” said Jennifer. “Since then, demand has skyrocketed, with Tempaper being sold in more than 200 stores in the US and more than 300 internationally.”

Salem Scholten educates her clients about the new possibilities with wallpaper by sharing photos on Pinterest that show the luxury and style it adds to walls, ceilings, or built-ins. “Millennials like myself are the easiest to sell on wallpaper,” she said. “They research it on social media and are attracted to the texture and sustainability. It makes a unique lifestyle statement. I’ve had clients match the matte surface to the matte polish on their fingernails!” Scholten, a designer with J&K Home Furnishings of Little River, SC, supplemented her online research by putting wallpaper vendors at the top of her Market must-see list. “Thibaut is always a go-to, and I was thrilled to meet Lynai Jones, the founder of Mitchell Black. I can’t wait to share their contemporary styles with my clients!”

While today’s removable, environmentally-friendly, and fashion-forward wallpaper is much easier to use than ever before, it should be installed by a highly reputable professional. “Wallpaper is a luxury product and working with a knowledgeable installer is important to ensure you get the look you have envisioned,” said Hunt. “Installation techniques vary depending on the type of wallcovering, like silks or grass cloths. We always call the manufacturer if we have questions regarding the application.”

As a luxury product, wallpaper adds profit to every design project and is a valuable tool in achieving the completely personalized effect that distinguishes exceptional design. “If you do your homework and stay current with the latest wallpaper styles, you will find that your enthusiasm and knowledge will win over the most resistant client,” said Scholten. “Know your products and know your vendors – which means visiting them at Market – and always be on the lookout for new sources. Build a relationship with a skilled professional installer. You’ll see an increase in customer satisfaction, likes on social media, and, most definitely, on your bottom line!”