Wallpaper enjoying revival

Wooden pier design wall mural, Photowall
Wooden pier design wall mural, Photowall
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CHOOSING wallpaper was once a case of flicking through samples, or browsing row after row of patterned rolls in a homeware or DIY store.

With wallpaper enjoying a revival, the choice of classic or new designs is certainly vast but there’s another option that could make your walls special – choosing your own images to create unique papers.

It’s affordable and easy because one of the most notable wallpaper trends right now is for bespoke designs, with companies using cutting-edge technology to create high-quality wallpaper based on a picture or item you’ve fallen in love with, a compilation of beloved family photos or just one striking holiday snap for a mural.

What better use for those beautiful photos which in most cases never graduate to an album and instead spend an eternity stored on a computer or mobile?

“Having your photos made into wallpaper is an innovative and lovely way of using them,” says Victoria Wayland-Smith of Life On A Wall, which turns photo collections into collage-style wallpaper.

A choice of three design formats (classic, random and grid) are currently available, starting from £80 per square metre.

Creating the paper takes around two to three weeks. Customers simply submit their hi-res photos via the website, and will be sent a proof of the design to approve before it’s printed.

“People are taking more photos than they used to and my job is organising people’s photographs for them – primarily into photo-books. The wallpaper concept was a natural extension of this,” says Wayland-Smith.

“Photographs are so precious and evoke so special many memories that people are looking at different ways to get them off of their computer and display them, and digital printing gives us so many more opportunities and flexibility than we’ve had in the past.”

Swedish company Photowall also produces unique wallpaper and wall murals. Customers can either upload their own image to the site, or choose from the website’s catalogue, which includes iconic skylines, tropical paradise scenes, maps and much more.

Prices vary from £26 to £37 per square metre, and completed wallpaper will usually be shipped to the customer within a week of their order being placed.

“The interest in interior design is steadily growing bigger, and so is the desire to have a unique and personal home,” says Ida Gustafsson, marketing spokesperson at Photowall.

“We have always wanted to frame our favourite pictures from holidays or of family and pets, and now we can take it a step further and cover a whole wall.”

Travel and holiday snaps are among the most popular photos customers choose to have transformed, as well as treasured photos of their children and family.

Creatively Different takes the service a step further. As well as bespoke wall coverings, clients can have a matching design printed onto blinds.

Again, homeowners can select a design from the company’s catalogue, submit their own images, or request a unique design be created for them.

Price per paper roll is around £52.80 for customers’ own images, and around £66 when catalogue designs are used.

Bespoke wallpaper isn’t all about the modern age of digital photography, though. In fact, for some it’s an opportunity to revisit bygone eras.

UK design and print specialist Space Innovation offers a range of bespoke print and wallpaper/murals services, which includes bringing vintage designs back to life.

This could be a vintage wallpaper design no longer in production, or the cover of a book, or even the print on a fabric – the possibilities are endless.

“’Vintage Jigsaw’ and ‘Favourite Frock’ were both bespoke commissions from a client’s own vintage collection,” says the company’s Georges Icke.

“For ‘Kids’ Bathroom’, the client bought a roll of 1950s discontinued wallpaper from a flea market in New York which we digitally reproduced and tidied up before printing five rolls for her own use.”

It also has access to a fabric archive from Warner Fabrics which it can use to create wallcoverings ranging from space odysseys with rockets to classic toile de jouy.

Costing from £60 per roll for repeating patterns, and £30 per square metre for print-to-fit single images, the whole process takes around 15-20 working days, and customers can submit requests and specifications entirely online.

Being digital design experts, Space Innovation can work with a wide range of design ‘sources’, and spruce up worn and faded images if required.

“Our wallpaper is ‘paste-the-wall’ quality, making for quick, easy and clean installation by any competent DIY-er or decorator,” says Icke.

“As the market becomes increasingly digital-savvy and people are looking for something individual and unique, so the inquiries we receive become more creatively varied and interesting.

“These have included vintage book covers and pages, blueprints and sporting memorabilia.”

Another supplier, Mr Perswall, has a Nostalgia collection designed to trigger memories as well as a pop design range featuring 20th century style icons including Bridget Bardot, Sean Connery, Bob Dylan and Jackie Onassis.

Alternatively, the company can transform old letters, beautiful lace, favourite record sleeves, photos or children’s drawings into a memorable wall covering.

It costs from £27 a square metre for paper that you’ve designed with a motif of your own. The company charges extra to scan in a motif. It can also create customised patterns.

If you’re looking for inspiration for designs, prints or quirky ideas, a new book, Wallpaper: A Collection of Modern Prints by Charlotte Abrahams (Quadrille, £14.99, available September 12) is bursting with them. It features reproductions of more than 150 papers by established designers and new talents.