5 Wallpapered Rooms we say Prove Vintage-Style Wallcoverings are Making a Comeback This Year

If you thought vintage style wallpaper was a thing of the past, here are 5 rooms to prove the opposite. Designers talk us through why it’s one of the most popular wall covering trends right now

living room with light blue floral wallpaper
(Image credit: Matthew Williams)

It’s hard to say why the appetite for nostalgia is so strong right now, but one thing is for sure. When it comes to interior design, all things vintage are having a moment, and vintage style wallpapers are one of the most popular wallcovering trends right now. It might just be the unexpected details, color combinations, or traditional flora and fauna prints that give in equal measure a fascinating and calming effect, or simply the timelessness of a classic aesthetic in the face of all that’s new and modern.

Whatever the reason may be, here are five designers who successfully incorporate vintage style wallpaper ideas in their designs. They talk us through their schemes, why they work, and explain their appeal that is so right for now.

1. A surprising wallpaper interpretation of the Balearic style

living room with mediterranean colors of blue and floral wallpaper

(Image credit: Matthew Williamson x Osborne & Little)

Designer Matthew Williamson is known worldwide for his maximalist style that mixes beautiful patterns and colors in unexpected ways. In his former home in Mallorca, the designer wanted to put his own stamp on the classic Balearic style by using wallpaper to elevate the space in a way less common in the area, thus achieving a unique and interesting look.

‘I loved designing this room,’ says Matthew. ‘I wanted to show that Balearic style doesn’t need to be limited to white walls, marble, and blue accessories. The wallpaper I chose, Almudaina, from my collection with Osborne & Little, proves just that, providing the foundation for the whole space. Bold enough to make a statement, yet neutral enough to complement all the colours in the scheme, this vintage-inspired motif is more versatile than you think,’ he explains, making a point that wallpaper can lend itself to even the most unexpected design styles.

2. A timeless, feminine design is mixed with natural materials

girl's bedroom with rattan bed and pink floral wallpaper

(Image credit: Ryann Ford. Design: BANDD/DESIGN)

When it comes to designing feminine spaces with a romantic feel, there are little decorating elements that can achieve that more than wallpaper. Light, pastel colors and floral prints can be kept fresh and balanced by mixing them with a good dose of white and natural textures, like in this girl’s room design by Sara Malek Barney.

‘There’s something so sweet and simple about a classic, feminine design like this one in a young girl’s bedroom,’ the designer tells me. ‘The best thing about this print is that it has a modern edge to it, which will grow with the little lady as she gets older,’ she adds, making a point about choosing a print that will stay relevant in time. The designer chose to bring in natural elements through the wooden bedside tables, rattan bed, and the chandelier’s textured fabric. Mixed with a luminous white on the ceiling they keep the room from being too saccharine, and give it a fresh and elegant feel.

3. A colorful, vibrant feature wall creates a joyful bedroom

green wallpaper with large white and peach flowers, and wooden rounded bedhead

(Image credit: Molly Culver. Design: Mary Patton Design)

One way to instantly uplift a space is by adding an accent wall, and a joyful wallpaper is still a designer’s favourite decorating trick. In this bedroom, interior designer Mary Patton used a cheerful, seventies style floral print in bold colors to accentuate the bedhead wall. The rounded headboard and bedside table pick out the organic shapes of the print, while the art on the wall reflects the floral theme for a cohesive look.

‘We selected this vintage inspired wallpaper because my client loved the blush and mustard color combination,’ Mary explains. ‘This wallpaper is actually a price point friendly peel and stick paper. We paired it with light, warm, and textured furniture and neutral bedding to really make the wallpaper the focal point in the room,’ she adds, emphasising that there are so many affordable options out there, peel and stick making it really easy to DIY.  

4. An unexpected combination of florals and geometric shapes creates a vibrant look

bedroom with green floral wallpaper, blue 4 poster bed and tiled floors

(Image credit: Matthew Williamson x Osborne & Little)

A vintage print wallpaper will always stand out, but there’s an art to integrating it seamlessly within the overall room design. It’s easy to achieve a pattern clash that will be tiring for the eye, but in this room, Matthew shows us how to layer prints that are in harmony with each other, for a wonderfully whimsical effect.

‘The beautiful Rosanna Trellis wallpaper from my collection with Osborne & Little, dresses the walls of this bedroom,’ he says. ‘When designing this space, I was keen to create joyful moments everywhere you looked, through unexpected details and pattern combinations. This vintage-inspired floral wallpaper creates the perfect canvas for layering other prints,’ the designer explains.

If in doubt about how to layer prints, know that the pairing of florals and geometric shapes are a go-to for designers. ‘A floral pattern never seems to fail, and this delicate and ditsy design adds an air of whimsy and romance to the space. To contrast with the floral pattern of the wallpaper, I choose more graphic prints, such as the striped lampshade and tile-inspired cushions and throws,’ reveals Matthew.

5. A tribute to a turn of the century aesthetic

bathroom with floral wallpaper and matching print shower curtain

(Image credit: Michael Kaskel Photography. Design: TKS Design Group)

The beauty of wallpaper is that it has the ability to look both modern, and equally create a completely nostalgic aesthetic where a more traditional décor is preferred. Classic prints that have been loved and used for years prove to be not only timeless and very adaptable to different rooms but can also be used as a celebration of design eras. Interior designer Susan Klimala did just that in one of her projects.

‘We chose William Morris’ iconic Strawberry Thief wallpaper as the star for this guest powder room located in the guest bedroom of this turn of the century home. The original home was built by an ornithologist (bird expert), and the current homeowner is a lover of all things William Morris, so it was the perfect tribute,’ she explains.

Why are we seeing a resurgence in vintage style wallpaper?

Green and blue room designed by Frampton Co.

(Image credit: Joshua McHugh)

There’s an unquestionable charisma that a vintage style wallpaper conveys to a space, but why is it having a comeback now? ‘Its potential is vast and its versatility is endlessly alluring. More recently, we’re seeing a resurgence in vintage wallpaper motifs, featuring traditional patterns and colours,’ explains Matthew.

‘These designs are artworks in themselves, and the greatest pleasure is that the more you look, the more you’ll see. I am a big believer that this type of hand-drawn and detailed wallpaper gives any space, be it a bedroom, reception room or even a bathroom, a unique feel, which will invariably lift your spirits. A benefit of hanging a bold wallpaper is that it provides something of a list of colour ingredients you can apply to the rest of the space. Pluck colours from the repeat and use these to choose your soft furnishings and accessories,’ says the designer, highlighting both the beauty and versatility of this trend.

Raluca Racasan
News writer

Raluca is Digital News Writer for Livingetc.com and passionate about all things interior and living beautifully. Coming from a background writing and styling shoots for fashion magazines such as Marie Claire Raluca’s love for design started at a very young age when her family’s favourite weekend activity was moving the furniture around the house ‘for fun’. Always happiest in creative environments in her spare time she loves designing mindful spaces and doing colour consultations. She finds the best inspiration in art, nature, and the way we live, and thinks that a home should serve our mental and emotional wellbeing as well as our lifestyle.