You’re Not Fooling Anyone!

I am a fan of wallpaper.

Correction: I am a fan of tasteful wallpaper.

I think wallpaper has come a long way and really isn’t as user-hostile as it used to be.  Advances in adhesive backing has made wallpaper easier to apply, but also a lot less painful to remove.  Plus, with the help of steamers (and in some cases) professionals, there really is no need to sacrifice great design for fear of future wallpaper removal!

Now, having said that…not all wallpaper is holy. In fact, most wallpapers are a complete disgrace, or at least used in an inappropriate and ridiculous application.

Floral Wallpaper in Bangkok, Thailand Hostel

Take the above photo as an example. The hostel depicted here is located smack-dab in the middle of backpackers-ville on Khao San Road in Bangkok, Thailand. Besides the fact that the floral pattern is dated and “ugly”, it is completely frivolous and unnecessary since the dirty-hand smears and remnants of food stuck on the walls from past guests are still visible. Be thankful that you cannot see my expression in this photo – I cropped myself out to spare my own dignity (and that of my loved ones), since this wallpaper really evoked a creepy “you-could-be-murdered-here-and-they-will-just-cover-the-wall-with-floral-wallpaper” feeling in me…which was clearly displayed on my face.

You weren’t expecting to see examples of pretty treatments here, were you?  In case you weren’t paying attention, this is the Uglies section. So; BEHOLD: Horrendous wallpaper treatments.

Gah! This waaaaay larger-than-life cutlery set is way too jarring. I don't think I am open-minded enough to think this is "cool" (and I'm pretty open-minded, by the way!)

Tacky. That's all I have to say. You're really not fooling anyone.

Again, tacky. This would even look horrendous in a cheap Little Italy restaurant, so why do it to your beautiful house? p.s. This is surprisingly NOT a mural.

Hold on...was there a two-for-one sale on over-the-top scary huge wallpaper prints? This even looks like the same kitchen set-up as image 1. Either's bad.

The furnishings in this space are overwhelming as it is, but everything is made so much worse by the 80s green floral wallpaper and border. Yuck.

Ok, fine. I cheated. This isn't exactly wall paper, but it's still a pretty ugly wall treatment. Seems like it'd be dusty!

I had thought about putting these horrible wallpaper images in the Design Election section and having you choose which is the worse…but I think it’s pretty obvious that every single image ties for the most Ugly vote..

Do you disagree? Please do tell! Do you think these wallpapers could look cool in a different application? Do you think a hospitality space could make those tomatoes funky-fresh? I’d love to know your thoughts.

Now, just so you don’t have nightmares (or day-mares if you’re reading this pre-9:00pm), click hereif you’d like to read my thoughts on what a lovely wallpaper looks like.


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  1. The tomato decal actually made me burst out into laughter! What were they thinking? Heavens. Hilarious post Tania! Thanks for the Monday morning chuckle! xo

  2. Haha, glad you enjoyed the giant tomatoes. I would hate to eat in that space with larger-than-life vegetable wallpaper! thanks for commenting and reading, Staci :)

  3. I actually REALLY like that book wall treatment. It gives you the impression you have ore books than you can store, like an old used book store that gets no business.

  4. I figured you might enjoy that wall treatment, Jeff – but only because your otherwise great sense for design is clearly muffled by your deep love for books.

  5. I liked the wall of books too…major sized pushpins must have been used. But, the tomatoes looks rather cool. Great colour in the reproduction, but I think it would have been much better to have it placed 100 feet or so away from the tables/chairs.

  6. Thanks for your thoughts, Sherri. I am not gonna lie – I have heard horrible responses from people regarding the giant killer tomatoes! :) Great to hear a new perspective – thanks again!

  7. I can’t focus in a place cluttered up like that office with the wall of books, and I hate dust. It does look kinda cool. I agree that the rest of these examples are ugly as all hell. Now that I think about it, isn’t all wallpaper pretty useless these days? Does a stylish wallpaper just mimic the look of an interesting paint job? You should do a piece with some examples of wallpaper being used well.

  8. Thanks for reading and commenting, Swail :) I will take your advice and show some great wallpapers (aside from THIS POST of course)

  9. some fine examples of before photos, I think :)

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