Wonderful Wallpaper


The design world has taken wallpaper under its wing and is churning out an impressive array of modern options. Here are some standouts.


London-based designer Tracy Kendall’s fine art background seeps through in all of her creations—some more traditional (relatively speaking), like her “books” design that looks like a floor-to-ceiling stack of titles, and some using quotidian objects like puzzle pieces or buttons to add texture and stretch the boundaries of what wallpaper can be. Though, brilliantly, even her wilder designs manage not to overwhelm a space.


Founded in 1990 by Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons, two Glasgow School of Art grads, Timorous Beasties (the name comes from the Robert Burns poem “To a Mouse”) is known for its surreal designs and incredibly cheeky toile (yes, that’s the London skyline and someone being held at gunpoint in the pattern above). The brand is also a standout source for window shades, and the wildly creative Philip Treacy employed its fabric for his hats.


Luxury wall coverings tend to mean ornate hand-embroidered silks or handpainted chinoiserie, both of which are stunning and both of which Fromental does exceedingly well, but it also does the classics one better. Tim Butcher (formerly of wall-covering stalwart de Gournay) and his wife, Lizzie Deshayes, founded the company in 2005 and introduced the downtown-cool Roger Thomas Collection, featuring Roche Facette (above), made with silk painted to resemble precious stones and marble scattered in the background.


Founded in 1875, this storied company owns the most significant collection of wood printing blocks in Britain and routinely provides period wallpapers made using original techniques for historic properties like Buckingham Palace and the White House. But it also has an eye to the future, branching out with its new Geometric collection (above) and flagship collaborations with Tom Dixon, Fornasetti, and Vivienne Westwood.


Osborne & Little teamed up with the über-cool English interior designer Suzy Hoodless to create this retro-chic line of floral wallpapers—perhaps harkening to what was en vogue in the sixties, when the company was founded. The strong and somewhat unusual colorways take the floral-wallpaper cliché and make it something decidedly modern.


When designing their off-the-wall whimsical prints, the team at Nama Rococo regularly ask themselves questions like “What if Andy Warhol did the windows at Buckingham Palace?” It’s their way of finding the perfect intersection of “an Old World notion of splendor and craftsmanship” and “a New School sensibility.” Many of their handpainted and hand-screened designs, like French Dot (above) from their Couture collection or their short-run series of between 12 and a few hundred sheets, are also beautiful framed as a single piece.


Ever wanted to have a Renaissance masterpiece or Slim Aarons shot above your sofa? How about covering the entire wall? Surface View can make that happen with its mind-boggling collection of paintings, prints, photos, and graphic designs that are all available to be mounted on canvases, as prints or—most exciting—as murals.