It is definitely back in trend: the wallpaper – the wall decoration that became socially acceptable in the 1970s. What followed was the triumph of woodchip wallpaper and white walls in bourgeois households. But within a short period of time wallpapers have made a comeback.

The bright colors and psychedelic patterns of the 1970s have been finding enthusiastic buyers again for several years. The courage to use flower patterns also seems to be strong again – a look at the manufacturers’ catalogs allows this to be concluded. In addition, a small group of wallpaper fans discovered large-scale photo motifs for themselves: sleeping under an alpine lake, dozing on the sofa with a South Sea beach behind you – the main thing is that you can forget everyday life for a few hours.

Bored of white walls

“Our customers are bored of white woodchip and have seen enough of wobbly walls,” says Matthias Gerber from “Extratapete”, an online wall decoration retailer, “they like unusual pictures and have a weakness for graphics”. The mostly young buyers are not interested in wallpapering in the traditional sense. Rather, it is about placing accents and “making a visual statement on the wall”, as Gerber puts it. Dieter Langer, Art Director at the large-scale manufacturer “Marburger Tapetenfabrik”, draws a parallel between the new trend towards colored walls and social development. He points to a new variety of lifestyles and the pronounced need to live out one’s own style in the apartment: “We experiment with shapes and colors in a playful way. The one big trend direction

As usual with fashion waves, it is difficult to see where the new wallpaper boom is coming from. Andrea Kersten from the wallpaper manufacturer AS Création suspects that first interior decorators and property managers have rediscovered the possibility of changing the impression of rooms with wallpaper. So it is not surprising that branded wallpapers from her house have already appeared in telenovelas and TV soaps. Another hotbed for the new trend are the bars and pubs in cities like Berlin, which attract young people with a residential atmosphere. Wallpapers ensure the right “lounge character”. It is then only a small step from the in-pub to your own apartment.

Old pressure rollers taken from the moth box

The big wallpaper manufacturers have the chance to pick up on the trend in order to increase the sales figures that have stagnated for years. Established industry giants such as AS Création, Marburger Tapetenfabrik and Rasch are reviving classic patterns such as the “squint-eye optics” of the 1970s in current collections. They have illustrious names such as “Retrovision”, “Retro-Deluxe” or “Jukebox”. To do this, old sieves and cylinders are taken out of the moth box, making wallpaper printing possible in a retro look.

The traditional manufacturers have to be prepared for the competition from small niche providers such as the “Veruso” brand, which has only existed since 2003, who reacted to the trend at lightning speed and opened up their own sales channels via the Internet. The young entrepreneurs from “Extratapete” have even developed their own production process for the manufacture of wallpapers in small numbers. The start-up company sells new ideas and designs for wall design, from multiple-exposure dream flowers to city motifs that extend on meter-long wall posters. The company does business online or through small distributors. Custom-made products are also possible – but they are only worthwhile for types of buyers who are willing to spend around 300 euros on their unique item.

The trendy trend from student shared apartments and the lofts of urban individualists will soon become mainstream. The first IKEA branches have already started to cover display walls in their shops with printed paper or patterned fleece.