Is Wallpaper making a massive comeback in our homes in 2021?


Wallpaper is a key trend for 2021, and the insatiable appetite from consumers doesn’t look like abating any time soon,’ says David Harris, Design Director at Andrew Martin.

Sanderson Fruit Aviary.

If you are a product of the fifties, you were most likely also a product of the wallpapered bedroom.  Mine, I remember distinctly, would be changed every few years, and it would be not just the wallpaper, but the curtains, valance and sometimes, even the cover of the bed.

Sanderson was the current favourite, our lives characterised by the Sanderson fabric and wallpapers in our house. It wasn’t just Sanderson, but mum was an ardent supporter. So it was when I had my first home, after years of living like a student of in flats in cities as I was pretending to know what I was doing, that I went straight back to the Sanderson stable.  Not so much the wallpapers, but Little Chelsea and Rose and Peony, to name two favourites, were curtained up and upholstered on the very grand sofa.  I was echoing my mother, was I becoming my mother?

Hotel Caron de Beaumarchaise.

The love affair with wallpaper, for me anyway, seemed to fade with the neutrals and monotones of the Nineties and early 21st century.  South Africans, in particular, were finding themselves less florally inclined, and if wallpaper was selected, it was nothing as busy and garden orientated.  I went for the taupes, the creams, the nudes.  Wall statements were fallow in favour of strong accent colours in the room. Natural light and openness, and may I venture a rise in fabulous local fabrics and decor.  At times I even leant towards the desert theme, sun washed bones and hides for accents.

The more I returned to Europe, and in particular living in England, it was the hotels that reignited my love of wallpaper.  We do not get to see each other’s home all that often, it’s very much an English thing, but the hotels I was booking my clients into, revealed the most beautiful, wallpapered lobbies, rooms and dare I say, bathrooms.  I found myself photographing hotel toilets in the reception areas, just because I loved the wallpaper.

Saint James, Paris

Wallpaper helps to tell a story, it sets the tone of the room. Bold, daring, soft and cosy, the room takes on an identity of it’s own. Why are we sort of scared to paste?  Maybe because it is expensive and set for a long time, where with accessories, you can change the look of the room in an instant. With the pandemic, many have turned inwards, to their own interiors, in which we are spending a great deal of time, and I am drawn to doing something different this time. I need drama right now, I need passion and optimism and colour. I may not be able to control what is happening outside, but I can make my living space, more mine.

So it is the wallpaper I go.

Hotel Daniel, Paris.

I have bought five rolls of wallpaper, to put in my suitcase and take back to my home in Cape Town.  To paper the walls of my bedroom and bathroom, and that’s a start. It is the paper in the first photograph, Fruit Aviary, so yes, I am going back to the days of yore, the mother days, the bedroom wallpaper days and I cannot wait to see the results.

It’s gloomy out there.  Hope the birds and fruit will cheer me up when I wake … staying positive, trying new things …