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The History of Wall Coverings

history of wall coverings

Wall coverings have a long and prestigious history.

Wall coverings have always been a staple in most homes in the United States, but few know the interesting history of this simple yet powerful design accent.

The more you learn about the history of wall coverings, the more impressed you will become. You may even grow to appreciate just how far this decorative design has come! So that’s why we decided to take a little stroll down memory lane and share the history of wall coverings.

15th-Century Wall Coverings

Wallpaper was first created as a cheaper alternative to the common paneling and tapestries that adorned palaces in Europe. The wall coverings were hand printed with carved wood blocks, and more and more ornate designs were introduced over the years. The earliest known form of wallpaper was believed to be in England in 1509.

17th-Century Chinoiserie Wall Coverings

During the 17th century, wall coverings based off of the designs of silk wall coverings for nobility during the Ming dynasty grew in popularity. This style started to grow in popularity in Europe in the 1600’s, and rice paper panels were used to depict landscapes with birds and delicate flowers. These designs are still found in wallpaper and wall coverings today.

17th-Century Flocked Wall Coverings

The flocked design, inspired by the French, reached its pinnacle of popularity near 1745. This design would use wool refuse that was left after fleece had been processed. Applying color to a paper or canvas background made these wall coverings stand out, and then the design would be stenciled or printed using adhesive. Before the adhesive would dry, a flock was applied to give the design a velvet pile. The wallpaper wouldn’t be attached directly to the wall. Instead, it would actually be glued to the linen, and the linen would then be affixed to the wall.

18th-Century Wall Coverings

Wall coverings became so popular in England during this time that a tax was actually applied in 1712 on any paper that was printed, painted, or stained to serve as wall coverings. During this time, artists focused on using colors and patterns in pictorial depictions.

19th-Century Wall Coverings

Many distinctive wallpaper designs were introduced during this time, but William Morris was considered the father of the Arts and Crafts movement. Morris created intricate patterns that were inspired by painters and tapestries from the Middle Ages.

20th– Century Wall Coverings

The first mechanical silk screen machine appeared in 1920, which brought in a lot of ups and downs for the wall coverings industry. More wallpaper was produced, but styles started to become less and less unique.

Wall Coverings Today

Fortunately for us today, all the hard work in previous generations has left us with more options than ever when it comes to wall coverings. Of course, there are still traditional wall coverings that our ancestors would recognize. But, there are also new advancements like digitally printed wallpaper that allows for huge murals and complex patterns. A professional consultant can walk you through all your options!

Get In Touch With Columbia Paint Company Today

Do you need some great Benjamin Moore paint to get started on your painting projects? Columbia Paint Company is your one-stop shop for all of your home-decorating needs.  From fabulous Hunter Douglass window treatments to beautiful Benjamin Moore paint products, we have everything you need to make your dream home design a reality. Schedule an appointment with one of our design consultants today!


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