A bold floral wallpaper on a dark background featuring many varieties of flowers illustrated in the Dutch Masters style

“Fullerton” by Osborne & Little, osborneandlittle.com

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.

headshot of interior designer and Flower magazine contributing editor Elaine Griffin“I love bright, almost-geometric modern florals for children’s spaces and kitchens; darker and more classically inspired motifs for gentlemen’s rooms; and eye-catching, big patterns for contemporary spaces.” — Designer Elaine Griffin

“La Vie en Rose” – Edith Piaf

5 patterns of floral wallpapers featuring large blooms and predominantly bright pink and green colorways with white, gray and black backgrounds

Floral wallpaper patterns, clockwise from top left: “Portier” in Clover by Designers Guild, designersguild.com • “Arbre De Vie” by Clarence House, clarencehouse.com • “Janta Bazaar” in Flax by Thibaut, thibautdesign.com • “Caitlin in Citrus” by Kravet, kravet.com • “Allium” by Cole & Son, cole-and-son.com

“Please Don’t Eat the Daisies” – Doris Day

7 patterns of floral wallpapers with neutral colorsways

Left to right: “Rhodedendrum Script” and “Watercolor Roses” by York Wallcoverings, yorkwallcoverings.com • “Anaar Tree” and “Grandiflora” by Sanderson through Sanderson Design Group, sandersondesigngroup.com • “Dogwood” in Celadon by Annie Selke, annieselke.com • “Belhaven” by Thibaut, thibautdesign.com • “Marguerite” by Osborne & Little, osborneandlittle.com

portraits of interior designers Courtney Coleman & Bill Brockschmidt of Brockschmidt & Coleman“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

six patterns of floral wallpapers in colorways of soft yellow, pale blue, and silver with touches of purple

Clockwise from top left: “Spotted Orchid” by Anna French through Thibaut, thibautdesign.com • “Delft Flower” by Designers Guild, designersguild.com • “Leaf Trellis” by Colefax and Fowler through Cowtan & Tout, cowtan.com • “Rhodora” by Osborne & Little, osborneandlittle.com • “Bouquet” by Anna French through Thibaut • “Cowparsley” by Sanderson through Sanderson Design Group, sandersondesigngroup.com

“Blue Gardenia” – Dinah Washington

six patterns of floral wallpapers with vibrant purple and blue colorways

Clockwise from top left: “Tuileries” by Anna French through Thibaut, thibautdesign.com • “Roseto” in Celadon by Designers Guild, designersguild.com • “Flora & Fauna” in Gray by Scalamandré, scalamandre.com • W3353-1011 by Kravet, kravet.com • “Thistle” by Cole & Son, cole-and-son.com • “Lilacs” by Sanderson through Sanderson Design Group, sandersondesigngroup.com • “Lisa” in Light Blue by Scalamandré

headshot of interior designer and Flower magazine contributing editor “I might use wallpaper to create architecture with a trellis and floral motif, elongate the visual aesthetic with a climbing vine, or give me an all-over-but-the-shouting background on which to build layers.” — Designer James Farmer

“Flowers on the Wall” – Statler Brothers

floral wallpapers in bright colors, with green being the common thread in all

Left to right: “Honshu” by Thibaut, thibautdesign.com • “Exotic Butterfly” in Spring by Schumacher, fschumacher.com • “Surimono” in Moss by Designers Guild, designersguild.com • “Sole” by Clarence House, clarencehouse.com • “Espalier” in Prairie by Pierre Frey, pierrefrey.com • “Sunlit Palm” in Green by Schumacher • “Isabelle’s Garden” in Chartreuse by Kravet, kravet.com

“Let It Grow” – Eric Clapton

floral wallpapers with flowers illustrated in modern, graphic, or abstract styles, with muted reds and pinks being the common thread in all

Clockwise from top left: “Marianne” in Fuchsia by Designers Guild, designersguild.com • “Togei” in Rouge by Pierre Frey, pierrefrey.com • “Spontaneity” by York Wallcoverings, yorkwallcoverings.com • “Valldemossa” by Matthew Williamson for Osborne & Little, osborneandlittle.com • “Blossom” in Multi by Annie Selke, annieselke.com

“Wildflowers” – Tom Petty

floral wallpapers with bold graphic prints, with green being the common thread in all

Clockwise from top left: “Rene” in Green and Beige from the Paramount collection by Thibaut, thibautdesign.com • “Lotte” in Black (far right) by Scalamandré, scalamandre.com • “Frutto Proibito” in Seafoam and Lemon by Lee Jofa through Kravet, kravet.com • “Blommen” in Leaf by Schumacher, fschumacher.com • “Piper Multicolor Floral” by A-Street Prints, astreetprints.com

headshot for interior designer Designer Matthew Patrick Smyth

“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

Clockwise from top left: “Bowood” by Colefax and Fowler through Cowtan & Tout, cowtan.com • “Defosse Trellis” by Scalamandre, scalamandre.com • “Orla Pink Floral” by A-Street Prints, astreetprints.com • “Angel Ferns” by Sanderson through Sanderson Design Group, sandersondesigngroup.com • “Wisteria” by Cole & Son, cole-and-son.com • “Ombre” in Pink by Pierre Frey, pierrefrey.com

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.

Flower magazine cover for January Febrary 2021

On the Cover, Jan/Feb 2021: Blue accents, including a vinyl wallpaper and a light-reflecting ceiling, bring color to the kitchen in an “estate condition” New York apartment designed by Phillip Thomas. Photographed by Michael Mundy.