Making a statement with wallpaper

Feminine bedroom interior with forest inspired decorations and geometric bedding.

In the 1980s through to the early 2000s, a wallpaper was nothing but a drab pick for those keen on livening up their living space. In 2019, things are totally different.

A recent exhibition jointly held by Design for Living (DFL) and Rampel Designs at The Village Market in Nairobi showcased the wondrous transformation a wallpaper can bring to a room.

Rupal Rach, the founder and textile engineer with DFL, says more and more people are preferring print wallpaper.

“A lot of people are being drawn to complex, structured, more embossed, textured and heavily printed wallpaper. It is the highly digitalised prints that create a story.

“They mimic paintings and murals. As a bonus, they work as pieces of art rather than just wallpaper,” she says.

Bright yellow pineapple painting hanging over a stylish turquoise sofa with yellow blanket and pillow in a scandi style apartment interior.

Rach says factors to be considered when choosing wallpapers are the aesthetics and mood of the room or space, the wallpaper design, sustainability and texture consistency.

For instance, DFL offers both the vinyl and fabric options depending on the use of the space.

To ensure the durability of the wallpaper, spaces with higher traffic like commercial spaces, often go for the vinyl option to allow continual cleaning, whereas the fabric option is highly preferred for residential areas and commercial areas with low traffic. “People forget that walls are such a big part of the house. If left bare, walls can look empty.

“People are now more willing to invest in their spaces; you have paint which requires a revamp every two years whereas quality wallpaper can last you up to 15 years if properly taken care of. It is a long-term cost effective solution,” she says.

Rupal Rach of design for living during the interview on collaborative wallpaper and furniture exhibition at Village market in Nairobi on March 22, 2019. [Edward Kiplimo,Standard]


Wallpaper has been used in lieu of paint and paintings. With technology, it can be colour-matched to the desired level of aesthetics. They are also available in different price ranges that work for different budgets.

“We are working a lot more on paint-like wallpaper which is what we just launched. They look like paintings. It is a big trend that started in Europe, and is slowly trickling down here. One of the wallpapers we have is made from a traditional Japanese painting. You can see every single brush stroke, the detail and they are made to measure. We scale them to the wall sizes so they don’t look awkward during fitting,” Rach says.

Like with other house elements like art and furniture, wallpapers allow homeowners to express their tastes. Being made by machine, wallpaper provides uniformity as opposed to paint.

A common mistake Rach has seen many clients make is thinking that anyone can install a wallpaper. “You can purchase the most beautiful, expensive product in the world but if the installer doesn’t have an idea how it is supposed to turn out, then you have basically ruined the product and wasted your money. A properly, beautifully finished product is what catches someone’s eye,” she says.  

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