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What is Historic Wallpaper?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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Historic wallpaper is wallpaper that has been designed to closely approximate or perfectly duplicate wallpaper patterns throughout history. Usually, this type of wallpaper recreates the look that the wallpaper would have had when it was created, not the look it would have due to aging. Many different eras are represented in historic wallpaper designs, and it is sometimes possible to create custom wallpaper if someone needs wallpaper from a specific room. This type of wallpaper is usually applied using modern methods, but true reproductions might attempt to apply the paper using historical materials as well.

Many different companies produce historic wallpaper based on patterns that are known to have existed at certain times. These patterns may have been found through remnants, pictures, or even existing examples of the wallpaper in homes or other buildings. Sometimes, the wallpaper produced is an exact replica of the pattern, but sometimes a close approximation using modern materials is made. It is sometimes possible to compare the original wallpaper with the reproduction, particularly if the wallpaper is designed after a pattern in a well-known building.

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Usually, historic wallpaper is organized by the period in which the pattern originated. Different design movements often have vastly different decoration styles, but all wallpapers produced throughout history can be reconstructed as historic wallpaper. There are examples of historic wallpaper from as early as the 1700s, and some companies reproduce wallpaper that was fashionable as recently as 30 years before the present day. As current styles go out of fashion, they may disappear from catalogs for many years, but these can often be reproduced later.

This type of wallpaper is often used in homes just like current designs, given that the technologies to apply this wallpaper are usually the same as modern wallpaper. Special ways in which this type of wallpaper might be used include museum reproductions of historical rooms or special presentations at antique shows. The uses for this type of wallpaper also include special crafts and other art projects, although this is usually done with wallpaper remnants given the cost of historic wallpaper.

If someone needs a specific wallpaper design that is not available in stores, whether for historic accuracy or for personal reasons, it is often possible to reproduce wallpaper patterns by talking to custom wallpaper stores. As wallpaper patterns usually repeat, a person often does not need a very large scrap of the wallpaper in order to reproduce it. A picture with enough detail can also suffice to reproduce the wallpaper. Historic reproductions may not look precisely the same as the original wallpaper due to aging and other damage, but they can usually come very close.

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