It’s divisive. There’s no getting away from it. If you dip a toe in, eyebrows may arch – if you jump in at the deep end, jaws will drop. Just last weekend, friends declared a day of mounting outrageously patterned, outrageously expensive wallpaper as the closest to divorce they’ve come. Nonetheless, it’s worth taking the leap. The impact of an expanse of banana palm print or dancing monkeys isn’t quickly forgotten, and it’s a lot easier to redo a wall than an entire room. Here are some of the best brands going back to nature for inspiration, bouncing colour off the walls while they’re at it.
House of Hackney
Really, it’s all in the name. The Flamboyance. Motifs of the animal de rigueur – the skinny-legged millennial-pink flamingo – are layered atop off-white and lavender stripes to wonderfully whimsical effect. Even better: it’s made from eco-friendly materials and promises minimal environmental impact at every stage of production.
Flamboyance wallpaper, houseofhackney.com
Lewis & Wood
This design, based on drawings by English architect and designer C.F.A. Voysey, was originally called Ballard Tapestry. However, because the 'millefleurs' in the background reminded them of The Lady & the Unicorn tapestries in a Parisian museum, Stephen (Lewis) and Joanna (Wood) decided to turn one of the deer into a unicorn. “Whimsy and humour are often found in Voysey's work and we feel he would have approved!”
Voysey Park wallpaper, lewisandwood.co.uk
Do you aspire to have Resting Tiger Face? If that’s just not physically possible, put it on your wall instead. This statement Tiger Face print, influenced by the Gucci women's ready-to-wear collection, depicts one of the most important weapons in the Gucci design motif arsenal. If your aim is to make a savage sartorial statement, this one’s for you.
Tiger Face wallpaper, gucci.com
GP&J Baker received a Royal Warrant in 1982, which would surely have thrilled the brothers who founded the company almost 100 years earlier. While it does excel at florals – ground-breaking, no, ubiquitous, and much-loved, yes – we love Le Zebre most. (So named because French just sounds better, GP&J?) It comes in an appetising range of shades, from saffron and caramel to aqua and indigo, so do away with any ideas of faux hide rugs and deck the walls instead.
Le Zebre, gpjbaker.com
Osborne & Little
There’s one children’s book illustrator who is head and shoulders above the rest. If for you, like us, his name conjures up charmingly scruffy sketches that leap off the paper, this playful Quentin Blake wallpaper won’t disappoint. Your little one will be enthralled by its menagerie of dogs, ducks, frogs, chickens, cats and mice – expect to spend from now until Christmas making the relevant animal noises.
Quentin’s Menagerie, osborneandlittle.com
Draughtsmanship – the ability to draw well – is a word not often used nowadays, but it’s central to Kit Miles’ approach. His Biophillia wallpaper is so beautifully composed that it could easily be mistaken for a painting. Named after a love affair with nature, its five colourways capture the five columns of nature: Ocean, Sky, Moor, Jungle and Night. Kit presents Biophillia “as a piece of visual poetry, evoking his readings on evolution and the majesty of a world of profound complexity and beauty”. Quite.