We recently photographed a rather large mid-century wallpaper sample book in the museum collection. The book contains numerous examples of complementary papers, or papers that were designed to be used together within a room or in adjoining rooms for continuity. The sample book was organized to reflect this use, as the coordinating papers were bound facing each other, making it easy for the consumer to view the papers together. I am a big fan of pattern so am always happy to promote the use of multiple patterns within a room, and am always happy to dispel the notion that you can’t mix patterns.
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Fashions in wallpaper are constantly changing Wallpaper production came to a near standstill during the war years but came back with a bang in 1946. As this book attests, patterns were bold, energetic, and confident, with designs to cover every wall in your home.
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Decorators stressed the need for continuity between rooms to create a nice flow and to make a small home feel larger. Wallpaper manufacturers were happy to comply, creating coordinating designs printed with similar colors, usually pairing a bolder pattern with a more textural design. These papers could be hung in a number of different ways: the dominant pattern could be used to create a focal wall, with the more textural pattern covering the remaining three walls; the papers could be used in two adjoining rooms such as living room/dining room; or the two papers could be used above and below a chair rail.

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