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Ask the local experts: Is wallpaper here to stay?

Wallpaper used in this breakfast nook is elegant and understated.
Wallpaper used in this breakfast nook is elegant and understated.

Credit: DecorPad

Credit: DecorPad

It seems like so homeowners just went through the painstaking task of scoring, scraping, and removing miles of hideous wallpaper, only to learn that it is making a comeback. Anyone who has put their blood, sweat, and tears into removing the thick bunny border in the guest room will cringe at the thought.

So what is it with our on-again, off-again relationship with wallpaper in the world of home decor? Why is it that we cannot seem to decide to give it up or love it forever?

"It became a style ... a trend, and like all trends, it ebbs and flows. Wallpaper is now back with a vengeance, and looks like it won't be totally gone ever," said Carl Mattison, of Carl Mattison Design in Atlanta, Ga.

As things age, they seem to get better and the same is definitely true here.

"Manufacturers are now making them with organic and recycled materials like recycled newspaper and banana leaves," said Roswell-based designer Ann Wisniewski. She loves this updated version for many reasons, but mainly because using recycled materials creates jobs for workers in underdeveloped countries. Using this type of wall covering gives a wall some texture and artistry, and can make a room seem luxurious yet cozy.

"There are many bold patterns, but also great textures, which make a statement," Wisniewski said.

While most people assume wallpaper is just there for decor, it originally served a purpose other than design.

"It was a great way of protecting walls that were made of plaster and lathe before the creation of sheet rock," Mattison said. "It helped the walls by giving them a bit more support and assisted in hiding cracks that could occur during settling. This can still be the case today if one has an old home with original features."

For homeowners who want to bring a bit of history and character into their homes, wallpaper may be the way to go. The key to utilizing it as a design piece in today's home is balance.

"If considering wallpaper, keep it to a minimum and find special areas like an enclosed dining room, a powder room, or a child's bedroom to focus on," Mattison said.

It is important to keep in mind that less is more. Wallpapering the walls that flank a fireplace or the cozy nook where a desk is set up are great ways to use it without going overboard. Consider applying an elegant and textured style in the bedroom to give the room a romantic, grown-up vibe. Be prepared to get a little out of your comfort zone though, but also research and learn what is best for your home, your style, and your family.

"Don't be afraid to paper the ceiling also ... a little goes a long way," Mattison explained.

See more of Mattison's work at Carl Mattison Design where he is the sole designer who works with homeowners and builders to create anything from a new bath to a fully renovated home. Wisniewski can be found at AJW Designs with her husband, John, helping to create the perfect home with her quiet, sophisticated style.