Today’s wallpapers give you an opportunity to show your contemporary side.

By Diane Franklin

In the new millennium, wallpaper has been saddled with an unfortunate mischaracterization of being tired and old-fashioned. In actuality, today’s wallpaper patterns are anything but!

New digital printing capabilities have made it possible to achieve a full array of pattern and color, giving wallpaper designers the ability to take their products into new and exciting directions. Raised inks and tactile effects work well in achieving a contemporary effect. As a result, there are a broad range of patterns available, including many gorgeous contemporary designs that fit well into today’s modern homes.

Contemporary Patterns

The vast array of wallpaper patterns allows contemporary-minded homeowners to create a home décor that reflects their unique personality and their design sensibility. Contemporary patterns that are popular today include geometrics, bold graphics, stripes, striation,large-scale stylized floral patterns and updated art deco looks, to name but a few. Choices for the contemporary home ran the full gamut—from sidewalls to  borders, from peel-and-stick decals to full-scale wallpaper murals—with patterns suitable for every room of the house.

Updated Colorations

Updated colors breathe new life into wallpaper patterns. Among the colorways that work well in contemporary decors are taupes, grays, bright whites as well as blues ranging from dramatic indigo and cobalt to lighter shades such as turquoise and sea blues. Contemporary designs also feature such vibrant colors as bright red, orange and yellow.

Even patterns that are considered traditional take on a more contemporary look with an unexpected coloration. For instance, a traditional floral pattern may be updated with a stark black-and-white treatment that takes it in a more transitional or contemporary direction. A grasscloth can seem more contemporary when infused with a metallic ink. A traditional tone-on-tone stripe can reinvent itself into something more modern with a clean and fresh colorway.

Simple Textures

Simple wallpaper textures can provide a great contemporary backdrop to your décor. Wallpaper that emulates Venetian plasters, color washes, stone or polished marble can bring a feel of understated elegance to your room.

One of the most popular textured trends is the look of  “organic opulence,” characterized by pairing metallic color themes with such natural materials as cork, grasscloth, shell, mica and lotus. This trend also features the look of gems, stones and minerals such as turquoise, lapis lazuli, marble, metallic gold and silver.

Urban Looks

Contemporary wallpaper allows homeowners to achieve popular urban looks that not only work in the heart of the city but also in more suburban settings. One of the most popular contemporary looks is the replication of salvaged materials, such as reclaimed wood planks or distressed metal. The technology now exists to replicate such “eco-chic” looks in wallpaper, and thanks to the easy-to-hang and easy-to-remove non-woven wallpapers that are on the market today, installing these looks is a whole lot easier than using the actual materials.

Wall Artistry

One of wallpaper’s many attributes is the ability to bring art to the wall. Wallpaper makes that easy with the availability of large-scale murals that have the appearance of a realistic painting. Murals depicting urban scenes, such as a New York skyline or a Parisian café, or more natural scenes, such as seascape or an opulent rainforest, can be rendered in a contemporary style.