- $15 for $30 worth of paint and wallpaper
Wallpaper: Cut-and-Paste Home Decor
If you're covering your walls in a new disguise, consider outfitting them in a patterned mask by checking out Groupon’s guide to wallpaper.
“This paper looks to me as if it KNEW what a vicious influence it had!” exclaimed the narrator of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper in 1895. In fact, writers had been casting wallpaper as a somewhat more minor villain for decades before Gilman wrote her story of a young mother tormented by Victorian ideas of womanhood and home deor. These patterned sheets—today composed of a wood-pulp or fabric backing that’s coated with color made of durable latex or vinyl—had become extremely popular by the mid-1800s, at which point writers including Edith Wharton and Thomas Hardy regularly used it as a signifier of vulgar, artificial bourgeois taste.
Wallpaper arose in Europe almost as soon as Europeans began making paper in the 15th century. Early printing techniques involved stencils, hand-painted designs, or wood-block prints of religious symbols. Then Chinese papers transformed the medium. They brought wallpaper to the interest of the wealthy with unique, detailed images that were more like large-scale murals than mass-market decor. From there, wallpaper blossomed, imitating everything from architectural forms and tapestry to wood paneling and other, more expensive wall coverings. Though it’s gone in and out of vogue among decorators, wallpaper continues to serve as wide a range of purposes to this day, from a quick way to cover a scratched or pitted wall to a high-end artistic statement. At the top of the line are designers whose hand-painted papers can approach $100 per yard.