Wallpaper was invented in China in the year 105 by Cai Lun. The invention of the first bamboo paper was in order to line wall screens and partitions with delicate drawings similar to those of porcelain.
Introduced in the 15th century in Europe by Dutch travellers, the wallpaper has won the acclaim in France and Great Britain throughout the 18th century.
The wallpaper has allowed the democratisation of wall ornamentation that was previously painted or woven. Its development is inseparable from the evolution of printing techniques, from etching wooden bits (dominoes) to current laser etching technologies.
In recent years, wallpaper has come back in style, many big fashion houses and designers have gotten on the wallpaper train. These designers and fashion houses have delivered us very modern and surprising versions of painted paper.
I am often asked if it is toxic and adapted to child-friendly spaces. Future mums are sometimes reluctant to use it in the nursery because of the glue that is used beneath wallpaper.
Wallpaper like other products have different ranges and categories, each with their advantages and disadvantages …
- The adhesive used for wallpaper consists of starch and cellulose, it is not is not toxic but there may be chemical additives (for thickening, accelerated drying or preservatives).
Check the components of the products used, there are many of these products on the market. That said, the so-called ‘clean’ glues have a bad reputation of not sticking well …
- The wallpapers that are covered with a vinyl or plastic film are easy to clean and can prevent the proliferation of mites and the growth of mould. However this plastic film can emit dangerous chemical fumes for people who are at risk.
These papers are polluting during the production process and cannot be recycled.
- Non-coated wallpapers are less toxic but must be regularly brushed or vacuumed to prevent mould and house dust mites. You should avoid installing it in a room with humidity or without sunshine. These are recyclable and some are made from recycled paper (partially or completely). They are often more expensive and rarer to find.
Wallpaper doesn’t have any regulations to date, wallpaper eco-label.
Wallpaper is quite a polluting product, it contributes to deforestation, contains chlorine, heavy metals (inks) and rejects during its production, volatile organic compounds.
If you have the desire to preserve the planet and the environment, some manufacturers are now marketing wallpaper containing significant proportions of recycled paper, or made entirely of recycled paper.
These wallpapers can come from fairly managed forests, or made with low power consumption by using recycled paper: The inks are then integrated without solvent and are water based.
Personally, I prefer to use wallpaper in the living and dining room or other public spaces rather than bedrooms. For the latter, I recommend a decor painting and / or stickers (adhesive surface on stickers will always be lesser than the one for wallpaper).
Recently I had the opportunity to create a paper-like product paints for the Petit Bazaar stores. It wasn’t wallpaper, it was a large vinyl sticker poster.
The result is very satisfactory and was a lot cheaper than wallpaper for a small series production. Here is the matte finish but it is also available in glossy finish.
Here is a selection of quite exceptional wallpaper, you will find more on our Pinterest board “wall paper”.
Image sources: Brian Mc D | Rifle paper Co | Bien fait Paris | Mini Rodini Wall Paper | Hupty Dupty room