How do I Choose the Best Retro Wallpaper?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2019
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Retro wallpaper can be a fun way to add a splash of style or a dash of authenticity to any room. Whether meant to add a mod touch to a minimalist living room or to perfectly complement a vintage dining room, retro wallpaper can prove the finishing touch on room design. There are several factors that go into choosing retro wallpaper, including budget, custom options, and what look is desired.

Before choosing a wallpaper, it is important to do some research on the time period desired. Wallpaper has a much longer history than imagined, with some records suggesting that ancient Chinese people lined walls with rice paper as early as 200 BCE. The fad for wall coverings really took off in the 15th century, when French King and avid decorator Louis XI had rolls of wallpaper carried around with his court, so he could have the same magnificent backgrounds wherever he went. This long history means that just about any decorating style features a suitable retro wallpaper.

To the thanks of a grateful legion of home decorators, many wallpaper design companies feature a variety of retro patterns with modern application styles. This is a very good thing, as throughout most of history wallpaper needed to be hand-pasted onto walls. It is now easy and even enjoyable to find a wide variety of retro styles that suit modern convenience.


Remember that retro wallpaper is not necessarily authentic to the period it represents. While most traditional wallpaper in the 1920s featured small floral designs, a retro 1920s paper might have stylized Gibson Girls, flappers, or early automobiles. The idea of retro can easily be to capture the flavor of the period from a future perspective.

On the other hand, some wallpaper designers do recreate vintage patterns for modern wallpaper. This trend is especially popular in wallpaper designed for children's rooms, where decorators can get modern reproductions of the whimsical, charming, and fantastic wallpapers of nurseries past. Scenes of wagon trains, UFOs, pirate adventures, and fairytale lands are popular choices for children's retro wallpaper.

One other possibility for obtaining retro wallpaper is to use a company that does custom design. Based on pictures, drawings, or other artworks, these companies can design a mural or repeating-pattern wallpaper that suits any design style. Copyright laws may apply to creating custom wallpaper, so be certain to obtain the right to use the images before requesting a custom job.


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