Wallpaper: the tattoo of the design world

Updated: Dec 28, 2020

There are certain things commitment-phobes shy away -- neigh, bolt -- from: marriage, carpooling, children, buying a house, tattoos, wallpaper... Any one of these things would certainly send shivers up the spine of any free-wheeling spirit. They represent making a choice and then having to live with it beyond the "honeymoon" period, well into the unknown territory of the future. "Where will I be in 30 years?" is a thought that churns my stomach in the middle of the night.

But where would be without commitment? We'd be stuck in a Groundhog Day type of existence, with one day bleeding into the next, without learning anything. Sometimes you just gotta say the proverbial "Fuck it" and marry that awesome person, buy the house with the high ceilings, throw up some non-removable wallpaper and laugh nervously about the choices you've made.

That's where my head was at when I saw this little beauty:

Something about her just made my heart speed up, which hopefully is a sign of love and not something more serious. How could you not love this 2 dimensional explosion of persimmon happiness? But then worry sets in... it's bright, it's garish, it's orange. This is definitely not wallpaper you can take home to your mother. What if I hate in two weeks? Or - gasp - what if my husband hates it so much he secretly harbors resentment that slowly eats away at him every morning when he wakes up and it's the first thing he sees and it leads to DIVORCE?

Eh. It's just wallpaper. And if my marriage is so fragile its fate is decided by some stupid colors, then it wasn't strong enough anyway and he was certainly no match for me. Because I love color. I love being stupid and carefree and making crazy decisions. And if I don't do that, then I am not living.

So then, what do I do with this "face tattoo" of wallpapers? I pair it with this:

These two seem like they are from completely different universes, albeit both are wallpaper, much like getting Lady Gaga to star up against Meryl Streep. Both are divas in their own right and both would love to hog the stage. And that's assuming you think they work well together (which is assuming a lot considering I have not styled it yet). Well, let's break that down and go back in history.

When I first moved into the house, before I placed a stick of furniture or decided a layout or a color scheme, I decided right then and there the office would be a dining room and it would be GREEN (please see this previous post here). Then, as things came together, I noticed the staircase had the potential to be a showstopper, but I wanted it to blend seamlessly with the green dining room wall color. So I began an exhaustive search for a pattern and a color that would fit with my existing artwork and general aesthetic, which is bohemian maximalism with clean edges. I wanted it to contrast with the white wainscoting and I wanted it to be moody and feminine. That's when I met Miss Green Peacock AKA Meryl Streep.

I could have left it at that, but something gnawed at me. After all that deep dark moody green, I wanted an explosion of color. I could have just painted, but I also wanted pattern and, at the same time, looseness. Meryl Streep is great and all, but I needed some sex appeal. I needed an untrained actress to eat up the stage and stand toe-to-toe with the 3-time Oscar winning dynamo. At first I thought I would hand paint the walls with this:

Which would have been fine. Absolutely fine. But this move would go more toward the graphic simplicity I was trying to get away from. And I wanted white walls. Then a thought occurred to me... the ceiling is where the eye goes! I needed...


It's LOUD. It demands your attention. It's so bright it creates its own light source. It's crazy. Just like life. As soon as I put it up, I felt my brain synapses firing. I felt the movement of the house coming together, collecting like constellations and stars in the Milky Way, gathering to go in one direction toward a beautiful purpose. One of these days I will get some actual photos done, but for now, you'll just have to imagine what it will look like when fully styled. I will, of course, calm it down a bit with more graphic, muted colors and artwork.

Future buyers are going to absolutely hate it. But for now, I live here.

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