A flower-inspired playlist gave rise to eight collages featuring our favorite floral wallpaper patterns. Plus find wallpaper insights from some of our go-to interior designers and a brief history of this decorative element.
“La Vie en Rose” – Edith Piaf
“Please Don’t Eat the Daisies” – Doris Day
“We use all wallpaper regularly! It’s one of our favorite ways to add drama, color, and scale to a room.” — Courtney Coleman & Bill Brockschmidt of Brockschmidt & Coleman
“Build Me Up Buttercup” – The Foundations
“Blue Gardenia” – Dinah Washington
“Flowers on the Wall” – Statler Brothers
“Let It Grow” – Eric Clapton
“Wildflowers” – Tom Petty
“Gloria Vanderbilt’s romantic bedroom with a classic Rose Cumming wallpaper is as fresh and beautiful today as it was in the early ’80s.” — Designer Matthew Patrick Smyth
“Garden Party” – Ricky Nelson
Wallpaper Through the Centuries
Dating back to 105 B.C. wallpaper has roots in China and made its way over to Europe in the 15th century. It gained popularity in the 16th century, when it was used primarily in small spaces. Later improvements in technology made it less costly, and by the 19th century, it could be found in every type of room, in grand and modest homes alike.
Floral wallpaper patterns flourished in the rococo and Victorian eras of the 18th and 19th centuries. Its popularity waned somewhat during the 1960s and ’70s, when geometric, abstract prints were the rage (except for florals with a Pop Art reference). In 1980s excess, realistic florals, from Chinois patterns to blowsy bouquets, were used liberally, nowhere to greater effect than the English country house look, with its floral bedding, drapery, and wallcoverings. In more recent years, the trend toward neutral interiors eschewed floral papers in favor of textured papers such as grass cloth.
Thankfully (for us at Flower), maximalism is thriving again with exuberant pattern mixing and unexpected palettes. Old patterns plucked from the archives look new in fresh colorways and scales. Wallpaper continues to help us create new realities inside our homes—to transform, hide defects, add excitement, and, in the case of florals, bring the garden inside year-round.
Produced and styled by Amanda Smith Fowler | Photography by David Hillegas
This story appears in Flower magazine’s Jan/Feb 2021 issue. Subscribe to the magazine or sign up for our free e-newsletter.