Our Resident Wallpaper Expert (and Lover!) Spills His Favorites


Let me just start by saying that I LOVE wallpaper. I use it everywhere: on walls, on ceilings, in bookcases, on books, on boxes—even, sometimes, on floors. Seriously, I can’t get enough!

Because I use it so much, today I thought I would give a list of the top five that have carved out a special place in my heart. I’ve seen and used so many that narrowing this list to just five was certainly a task (but definitely a fun one).

Some have made it on this list because they embrace the newest technology in an effortless way. Others, because they represent the fine tradition of decorative design (which I couldn’t help but pay homage to). Still others because my current design aesthetic is full of 70’s flashbacks. Enjoy!

Image via de Gournay
Image via decorpad

phillip jeffries

Phillip Jeffries Wallpaper started 30 years ago with a few grass cloth wallpapers, but since then has grown into an industry standard for wall textures. I have been a fan of grass cloth as long as I can recall, but their printed designs have taken the material to a whole other level. I recently used this design in a remodel of an old ranch house. It created the perfect result, as we were able to keep the existing sink and cabinet and everything still felt fresh and new. In no uncertain terms, this design saved us thousands.

de gourney

De Gournay is a French company who does extraordinary handpainted wallpapers, which allows you to to customize your wallpaper design exactly to your room—amazing. The designs I love in particular are scenic ones, and they alter the design for you so that a door or window does not interrupt the image. Be prepared to pay, but you will marvel in the exquisite work for years to come.

Image via de Gourney

studio printworks

Studio Printworks is a small, New York-based firm whose design aesthetic conveys a sharp wit and a fine eye for whimsy. While they do carry more serious designs, I tend to gravitate to the more whimsical ones. “Flypaper” is a perfect example of this, as shown at left. I think it would be a fun addition to the back of a bookcase, where its striking graphic layout would be noticed before one realized what the subject matter was.

weitzner limited

Lori Weitzner is such an unassuming figure. When you first meet her, you would have no idea what a design powerhouse she is. Her company designs not just paper, but also fabrics and trims, all with a fresh new outlook. This is a wallpaper design called “Quarry,” which she showed me a year or two ago and I could not get it out of my mind. It’s just what it looks like—actual stone sliced just thin enough to be pliable and possible to use anywhere regular paper would be. The result, though, is something quite unique—more substantial than wallpaper, but not as heavy feeling as stone tile.

second hand rose

Second Hand Rose is an Aladdin's cave of retro wallpaper. If you are looking for anything vintage—from Grandma’s kitchen to Studio 54—this is the place to go. Now, because these are old papers they may not have huge inventory, but if you’re searching for something unique, they are worth a look. I think of it like thrift shopping for wallpaper: you never know what you may find! I also must admit that this choice had a lot to do with my current 70’s moment—they’ve got all the retro I need. And while they are based in NYC, they have a great website and helpful phone support.

custom paper!

Not seeing anything you like in the list above? How about trying a hand at your own design? Spoonflower will create custom paper for you. Check out this design I created for nousDECOR—it's a cool graphic made up of the word “home” in several languages. Have fun and get creative with it!

Image via Spoonflower

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