An in-depth look at wallpaper

JamesPrathap

Wallpaper in a form we might recognise today, emerged when Louis XI of France ordered 50 rolls of paper painted by Jean Bourdichon in 1481. The design featured angels on a blue ground. King Louis ordered the portable wallpaper because he found it necessary to move frequently from castle to castle.

Other well-heeled Europeans commissioned artists to paint paper for their walls, but real wallpaper can hardly be said to have existed till the advent of the printing press. The turning point for the product came in the early 1700s as Frenchman Jean-Michel Papillon, considered the inventor of wallpaper, designed it with repeating patterns.

After the Revolutionary War, Americans set up workshops of their own. Paper was all the fashion, from neoclassical looks to rambling roses. With the invention of automated printing, wallpaper soon established itself as one of the most popular household items across the western world.

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The entire industry was revolutionised after World War II, with the appearance of plastic resins which offered stain resistance, washability, durability and strength. In addition, manufacturers introduced pre-pasted, pre-trimmed and strippable wall coverings to cater to an increasingly do-it-yourself market.

Technical advancements in inks, embosses and surface materials have created an even bigger diversity of styles and designs.

RESIDENTIAL – COMMERCIAL Residential wallcoverings create beautiful interiors using a variety of materials, including traditionally printed wallpapers. Specialty papers using sand, mica, glass beads, cork and grass add to the visual excitement of residential and designer wallpapers.

While some commercial settings use residential wallpapers in low traffic environments, most commercial installations require a more durable material that can withstand the wear and tear associated with public spaces and heavy use.

Type II, heavy duty contract grade wall coverings must go through rigorous testing in order to meet the standards of durability, tear strength, scrubability, abrasion resistance, mildew resistance, flame spread rating, and smoke development rating, among other standards established for this type of vinyl wall covering.

Advantages to using these vinyl wall coverings in commercial settings start with their durability. The ability to withstand normal wear and tear allows for a longer life before it becomes necessary to redecorate.

But vinyl wall coverings also offer a tremendous diversity of colour and design. From modern to traditional motifs, the options are unlimited.

This great versatility of design allows commercial wall coverings to create warm, residential looking interiors for health care and assisted living environments or modern, chic looks for an office or hotel installation, while providing long life durability to maintain that fresh look. The looks can range from dramatic to soothing, from focal point to background.

WHY WALLPAPER? Depth, emotion and intensity define the allure of wallpaper. Wallpaper can create a subtle background or be a bold addition. It allows you to express your individual style and adds instant character to any room. Most believe that once a room is papered it cannot adjust to changing styles and moods.

Au contraire, subtle designs such as stries, a delicate pattern of thin tone-on-tone stripes, adapt easily to differing room styles. For example, a strie in a neutral color can add flair to an otherwise plain room without taking centre stage.

Damask, elegant designs include whimsical scrolling arabesque for sophistication. The ever popular stripe is yet another style which adds character to a room. With each of these design types you can change furniture and accent pieces to suit whatever theme you choose to create.

A better alternative to paint, wallcoverings are easy to install, maintain and remove. Advances in printing technology allow for easy installation and ensure that paper will adhere to walls for a long period of time.

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