We've Got You Covered
I used to be so against using wallpaper and saw it is a passé decorating medium—at least for the modern home. Maybe the perception came from seeing a lot of terrible examples. The granny-esque, yellowing florals and patterns only the 70's would understand. Do any of you recall moving into a newly purchased home where you spent either a lot of time or money—or both, scraping the past off your walls in a big mess so you could make them your own? That's how I saw it. I was an adamant painter-of-walls. However, I am coming around a bit. While I may never wallpaper every room, I am certainly falling for a lot of the beautiful, updated patterns that speak to my design sensibilities. Many are reminiscent of my favorite textile and graphic designs and often from the same designers to boot! And not only are there great wallpapers out there, but such cool wall decal solutions as well.

A nearly-completed renovation project here at ourhaus (that we can't wait to share with you!) opened the door to this wallpaper appreciation. It's in a 4' x 9' entry space that is clearly defined and separate from the rest of our (mostly) open plan living space. I was at a loss for just the right color palette for this entry for a really long time. Then I decided to use the "transition from outside to inside (and vice versa)" of the entry as inspiration. I had been eyeing some gorgeous papers sold through Anthropologie for a while that continued my obsession with birch trees. We ended up finding a more economical birch tree wallpaper for the project, as shown below. Here were my favorite birch options and many other wallpaper patterns that we are loving right now:

1 + 2 } The ever-popular Woods pattern in the Contemporary II line from Cole and Son. Also available at Anthropologie.

3 } The birch paper we chose, as styled here by Leclair Decor in Ottawa.

4 } Detail of our chosen paper. It is simply "Birch" from the Eco Chic book. Shown in grey, black, off-white and metallic silver. Available from most wallcovering stores online.

You likely know Orla Kiely, the Irish fashion designer based in London. She started out with hats and has significantly expanded her cheery, retro-mod line into clothing, bags and housewares. These wallpapers are so fun and so great for accenting a wall.

1 } Acorn Spot wallpaper in Sea Blue & Poppy    2 } Multi Stem wallpaper in Seagreen

Minikani lab is run by Paris-based designers Cécile Figuette and Frédéric Bonnin. I'm particularly fond of the black line sketch designs, as if someone painstakingly drew a design on their walls with a Sharpie.

1 } Mosaic    2 } Cloudy    3 } Copenhague    4 } Peacocks

I'm talking about Marimekko again, I know. I will just never tire of their designs! And by popular request, they brought back their wallpaper. And popular, it is. It is sold out almost everywhere online right now as I write this post. Restock, please!

1 } Frekvenessi    2 } Aarni    3 } Unikko    4 } Lumimarja

Where do I begin about this multi-talented artist and designer? Julia Rothman's work spans advertising and branding, books, tattoos for tattly, ceramics, notebooks and stationery, clothing—the list goes on! Her illustrations can be seen on housewares at Urban Outfitters, Crate & Barrel and Anthropologie, just to name a few. And then there's her wonderful wallpaper, too. Whew!

1 } Blue Daydream in a powder room designed by Incorporated    2 } Silver Pieces
3 } Gray Amaze    4 } Sunshine Daydream installed in a bathroom
styled by Emily Henderson    note } also check out the way this Daydream bird
series was installed on a nursery ceiling here!)

As I mentioned earlier, another type of graphic wallcovering that I love and find so clever is wall decals. Aren't you glad these popped on the scene years ago? They are ESPECIALLY wonderful if you rent, because most of them are removable and repositionable with no risk of damaging the wall. Paul Hardy, co-owner of Urbanwalls, reminded me that decals provide a very economical design punch to your walls without the major commitment. You can go bold with a repeated pattern, or use one or two large designs as an artful focal point. All of their decals come in a choice of 24 colors. That's a lot of design flexibility to play with in conjunction with the paint color on your walls.

Here are some of my favorite picks from the Urbanwalls collection designed by Danielle Hardy—and a special discount code offered to ourhaus readers!

Enjoy 20% off your order in the Urbanwalls store with the code: ourhaus. (Offer expires on 12/12/12)

(Offer expires on 12/12/12)
1 } Large Flower    2 } Triangles designed in conjunction with simplygrove   3 } Trees 
4 } Circle Shapes    5 } House Rules    6 } Chalk Frame

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About Us

Christopher Scott and Jodi Vautrin are the husband and wife team behind Ourhaus, where they chronicle their adventures in home improvement, decorating and travel. After purchasing a unique loft space just a few miles north of Boston, they began photographing and writing about their projects and it blossomed into a creative outlet and platform.

When they’re not home improving, Jodi spends her days as a freelance creative director & designer with a focus on user interface and interactive design, and is an entrepreneur at heart. She serves on the board of AIGA Boston as Vice President of Emerging Ideas & Events.

In his professional life, Christopher is the Technology Director for a multi-service ad agency based in Harvard Square. In his private life, he enjoys tinkering in all its forms, whether it's rebuilding the Ourhaus home network (again), fooling himself into thinking he knows how to fix home appliances, or trying to unravel the mysteries of the guitar. He also flies planes, performs open heart surgery and sings at bar mitzvahs (though not all at the same time).

They share their “haus” with their adorable, highly food-motivated chocolate lab, Lucy.