Eco-Wallcoverings: Not Your Parents’ Wallpaper
It’s common knowledge among remodelers and interior designers that the easiest way to transform the look of a home is by changing the wall color. Often the design element used is paint. Not so in my childhood home.
See, I had a wallpaper designer parent (Dad), and my other parent (Mom) was over the moon over wallpaper. My father’s flocks and my mom’s modern metallics were in full bloom all over the walls of the house. Along with the rolls of wallpaper samples and those thick, stumpy wallpaper books, there were tiny flecks of film that caught on all the textured surfaces of the house. My Dad’s handprinted silk-screening pieces from his graphic design process landed on more than just the walls. It gave new meaning to “wallpaper world” and let’s just say they had their share of wallpaper wonders and woes.
Now we know the lowdown on wallpaper is low. Traditional vinyl wallpaper leaks VOCs. The adhesives used in pre-pasted wallpaper emit vapors. The chemicals used in vinyl wallpaper have the potential to harbor mold. Mold growth behind wallpaper aggravates a plethora of health problems. No wonder wallpaper wallowed away from the home design scene.
But lately, wallpaper has been popping up all over the blogosphere. Here’s an article from the Dwell magazine blog about the resurgence of wallpaper in homes.
There’s one basic credo about green home design: If it is eco-friendly, eco-chic and makes the homeowner happy, then bring it home. Wallpaper hasn’t seemed to fit this model … until now.
Think of these eco-friendly wallpapers as upholstery for your walls. Don’t forget the wallpaper paste. Care2’s got an excellent DIY green recipe for wallpaper paste that is free of pesticides and easy to make.
The most eco-friendly:
• At Madison and Grow, the wallpaper is hand silk-screened using water-based ink. The papers are clay coated for extra durability and can be wiped with a damp sponge. Their manufacturing process emits no VOC’s.
• Designer, Angela Adams’ Wallcoverings are known for their sense of timelessness, simplicity and balance, inspired by Maine’s natural beauty. The wallpaper is breathable, has no pvc, 100% post consumer recyclable, uses water based inks with no heavy metals and Greenguard certified for low-VOC emissions.
For the wallpaper commitment-phobic:
• If you just don’t want to make a permanent statement with wallpaper, try Blik Surface Graphics. These oversized, self-adhesive, removable decals and stickers allow anyone to quickly and easily create decorative patterns or custom wall murals at home.
• Marimekko makes a non-toxic product that you peal, stick and decorate on your wall called WallCandy (love it) that looks great for using in kid’s rooms.
• Ferm Living has absolutely beautiful wallpaper and wall stickers. They are quite pricey, but recently had a 60 percent off sale on their fun wall stickers. Here’s their popular kid-friendly paper and stickers. No statement about how green the company is, but worth a look for inspiration.
Ronnie Citron-Fink lives in New York with her husband, two children (when they come home to the nest), two dogs and a cat. Ronnie is a teacher and a writer. She has been a contributing writer for Family Fun magazine. She currently writes articles about education and home design. Her writings are in four books including Family Fun Home and Some Delights of the Hudson Valley.