Luxury wallpaper not only lasts far longer than budget options, it also lends an air of distinction to a room. Beyond common vinyl, many high-end wallpaper brands offer natural grasscloth, linen, silk, tea paper, and other fine materials, as well as hand-painted and hand-embroidered designs.
Designs often draw on classical imagery, such as Chinoiserie and botanical motifs, which have a long history in upscale interiors, but there’s also plenty for modern minimalists.
Sophisticated Beauty That Lasts Decades
While the pattern you choose is a matter of taste, the wallcovering’s construction is a practical concern that affects its durability, ease of installation and maintenance requirements, as well as its appearance.
When comparing wallcoverings, consider the material’s washability, light resistance, installation requirements, and the location where you plan to install it. Vinyl and non-woven are highly durable and easy to clean, so they’re smart choices for bathrooms, kitchens, and kids’ rooms.
More delicate materials, such as grasscloth and silk, require more maintenance over time and are better for living rooms and bedrooms. They need occasional gentle dusting and shouldn’t be cleaned with water.
Even so, a lot depends on your preferences and lifestyle. If your showers are rarely hot enough to steam up your mirrors and you don’t mind a little upkeep, then grasscloth and even silk can hold up for decades in your bathroom.
High-End Wallpaper Brands to Watch
Founded in New York in 1889, Frederic Schumacher’s brand established a reputation as a producer of luxury textiles for elite spaces such as the Waldorf Astoria and Vanderbilt Palazzo. In 1938, the company began producing wallpaper and now offers a wide variety of designs with a focus on classicism.
Collections include the delicate Avant Garde, visually textured Fabulous Faux, Byzantium with its bold geometrics, and East Meets West, which draws on Turkish and Indian art and weaves in botanicals, birds, forest scenes and other elements of nature. The brand works with several natural fibers, including sisal grasscloth, arrowroot grasscloth, and silk along with embossed vinyl.
Schumacher is the exclusive U.S. distributor of Mehmet and Dimonah Iksel’s hand-painted paneled wallcoverings.
Established as a weaving company in 1929, the Scalamandré brand found its niche in producing reproductions of vintage textiles for the White House, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and other interiors of historical import.
Today, they carry a broad array of wallcoverings in refined, timeless designs. Traditional doesn’t have to mean dull, though, as Scalamandré proved with its famous red “Zebras” wallpaper, featuring leaping zebras against a background of rich Masai red.
Scalamandré’s Grey Watkins brand puts a modern twist on classic luxury designs, favoring intricate florals and delicate patterns in both bright hues and soft pastels. The Hinson brand, known for its signature Hinson Palm motif, presents designs inspired by historical sources and updated for a modern feel.
Materials used include printed and embroidered abaca grasscloth, raffia grasscloth, metallics, leather and faux leather, as well as more common materials such as paper, vinyl, and polyester.
Kravet has been producing high-end textiles since 1918. The Kravet Design brand offers a selection of plain and textured wallcoverings with a focus on delicate, small-scale patterns.
The Kravet Couture line features simple, elegant patterns and muted colors in linen, linen blends, and other materials.
The Brunschwig & Fils brand stands out with dramatic abstract patterns, lush botanicals, embroidered East Asian-inspired scenes on grasscloth, and plain silks in rich earth tones.
From the Lee Jofa brand, you’ll find opulently detailed geometric patterns, exuberant florals, and novelty prints with an emphasis on Chinese motifs, primarily in paper and grasscloth.
All these brands offer options made in America, as well as in Sweden, Italy, and India.
A fruitless search for craftspeople to restore his home’s antique Chinoiserie wallpaper was Claud Cecil Gurney’s inspiration for establishing his luxury wallpaper company. The brand’s decidedly glamorous designs are patterned after vintage wallpaper prints and hand-painted on paper and silk by expert artists, allowing more options for customization.
Collections include the extravagant Chinoiserie, 19th century-inspired Scenic, Japanese and Korean, Russian-inspired Diaghilev, Plain Textured, and Eclectic. While the brand offers a few subdued botanicals, the majority of choices are flamboyant pictorial designs in vibrant colors. Gilded paper and antiquing are other extras you’ll find with this brand.
If you’re planning an upscale Art Nouveau interior or a classic Chinoiserie, de Gournay is a must to consider.
Since its founding in 1976, this brand has focused on natural textured materials with tactile appeal. Handcrafted grasscloths based on raffia, linen, and hemp are at the core of the brand, but they also produce wallcoverings in paper and vinyl.
The Naturals and Paperweaves collections offer plain and simply patterned wallcoverings that highlight each material’s texture. In the Prints and Digital Murals collections, you’ll find bolder, large-scale motifs. The Specialty collection features metallic leaf and authentic wood veneer.
Phillip Jeffries is among the few high-end wallpaper brands to blend luxury style with a connection to nature.
A young U.K. brand found in interior design showrooms throughout the U.S., Fromental has built its reputation on exquisite wallcoverings based on traditional Chinese silk-making, painting, and embroidery. Crafted by skilled Chinese artists, the wallcoverings are first hand-painted on silk, paper or velvet then hand embroidered with silk.
Designs aim for a fresh take on historical British classicism and 18th century Chinoiserie. The Chinoiserie collection focuses on traditional birds and flowers, while the 1787 collection presents classic Chinoiserie scenes. For playful, modern designs, look to the Conversational collection. If you’d prefer a more restrained aesthetic, try the abstract Roomskins and the Textured Plains collections.
Colefax and Fowler
Attention to comfort and appeal to English sensibilities have been hallmarks of this firm since founder Sibyl Colefax began decorating in 1930.
The Colefax and Fowler brand takes a conservative approach to wallcoverings with light and airy stripes, florals, and simple patterns.
From the Jane Churchill brand, you’ll find delicate patterns in soft, natural colors along with childhood favorites such as fairies, the March Hare, and Paddington Bear.
The Manuel Canovas brand shows a flare for the dramatic with bold florals, whimsical fish and hot air balloons, and intense, warm colors. Most of the company’s wallcoverings are made from paper or vinyl.