Contributor Hazel Fulton provides a run-down of the stand-out themes in fabric and wallpaper design for 2023.
Ask any interior designer and they’ll tell you: there is no better way to add character, depth and texture to a room than with the judicious use of fabric and wallcoverings. And with the development of new printing techniques and a recent flurry of creative collaborations, it’s more possible than ever to make a truly artistic statement with your décor. Whatever your personality, whatever the vibe you want to achieve, someone has captured it in print. Here’s our run-down of the stand-out themes in fabric and wallpaper design for 2023.
Since chinoiserie hit its peak in the 18th century, the demand for Eastern-influenced design has never really gone away. Most recently, it’s enjoyed a resurgence attributable to the ‘grandmillenial’ aesthetic, and today’s high-end reproduction wallpapers from the likes of Gracie or De Gournay are as exquisite as the hand-painted examples that adorned the ballrooms of Louis XIV’s era.
But there is also a trend towards a more authentic, Japanese-influenced style; one which reflects the clean lines and geometric shapes of actual Japanese art, rather than the romanticised Western interpretation of Eastern culture some view chinoiserie to be. Take, for example, the gentle cloud-like repeating shapes of Jim Thompson’s Kumofabric, or The Wave by Linwood, with its echoes of Hokusai’s famous woodblock print. In both, the soothing swirls and undulations produce a dreamy, calming energy.
Gloss and Metallics
For centuries, grand architecture has employed the use of gilding to highlight details in precious metal. The lustrous finish of gold leaf was used to elevate the perceived value or importance of buildings – particularly those with spiritual or political significance. In interiors, metallics have the added advantage of reflecting light, thereby making rooms feel bigger and brighter. So too, does the burgeoning trend for gloss-painted ceilings and walls.
For embellished wallcoverings, look no further than the Temperley x Romo collaboration; a fashion-meets-interiors partnership that oozes glamour and opulence. Roxanne features metallic gilding on illustrations of ornate keys and antique scissors – a bold print for instant character and style. For something a little more low-key (excuse the pun), try theMimileopard-print wallcovering, which comes in three palettes, each with a delicately metallic ombre background.
As the biophilic fashion for bringing nature into our dwelling places continues to grow, so too does our love of all things green and leafy. Capitalising on this is Liberty’s Botanical Atlas collection of papers, which takes as its inspiration Sir Arthur Liberty’s passion for global exploration and intersects with the chinoiserie and Japanese trends also making their mark this year.
The collaboration between floral stylist Willow Crossley and the quintessentially British studio Barneby Gates takes the trend in an altogether more cottage-core direction. Botanicais inspired by the collages of botanical artist Mary Delany, and includes delicate, small-scale illustrations of the types of seasonal greenery Crossley herself is famous for designing with.
Perhaps the biggest news in wallpaper for 2023 is the explosion in scenescapes: papers designed to turn entire walls into large-scale works of art. Nothing will transform a room like a mural, and they come in all varieties, from panoramas evocative of a particular place or time to psychedelic skyscapes and magical gardens. This is wallpaper as visionary art; décor as a conversation starter. The aim is to transport the viewer to a different world.
Cole & Son murals are a good place to start – they offer panels with scenes inspired by locations as diverse as Hampton Court Palace and ancient Rome. Equally striking are the collections from House of Hackney, which include Plantasia, a dream-like and idyllic forest scene that draws the viewer in with the clever use of perspective in the tradition of trompe l’oeil. Finally, heritage brand Little Greene specialise in bringing archival patterns to a contemporary audience. They have two stand-out mural designs – Upper Brook Street and Achillea, both of which play with scale and colour in a visually arresting way. Choosing large-print papers can seem a little daunting, but it’s hard to imagine a space that wouldn’t be improved by these extravagantly creative scenes.
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