Paper chases away gloom

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The new autumn wallpaper collections are definitely a firm reflection of the times in which we live with comforting, homely images in some collections being firmly contrasted with bold, modern designs facilitated by cutting edge printing techniques in others.

In many collections light and bright is the order of the day. This may partly be a reflection of a wish to lighten up our homes as the dark nights draw in, but also a response to people’s need for an optimistic interior in financially troubled times. Many of the ranges feature a large, but simple design in calming muted colours, placed against unpretentious backgrounds – providing an environment that is amazingly restful.

I think there is a clear nod to English exoticism evident in several collections. This is most noticeable in the Rosa Chinesis Wallpapers, a beautiful addition to the Royal Collection. This range is part of the very successful collaboration between Designers Guild and the department of the Royal Household responsible for curating and maintaining one of the greatest accumulations of art in the world.

The design of these non-woven papers is graceful and elegant. They mix a clear sense of Englishness with a pinch of exoticism from the East embodied in the wonderful Arboretum, which features beautifully detailed depictions of trees highlighted in an elegant colour wash of autumnal colours (from £59 per roll; – 0207 893 7400).

A similar theme can be found in the Neo collection from Prestigious which features beautiful large exotic prints, conjuring up memories of excursions to the Far East, on a variety of muted backgrounds. To my mind the most uplifting is the simple Peacock design: a large, stylised feather which seems to tumble to the floor. The overall effect is simple, but stunning. The Neo collection starts at £40.50 per roll (

If you love the idea of a large pattern cascade, but have a superstition about the introduction of peacock feathers into your interior, have a look at Delta in the Momentum range from Harlequin. This introduces a deco inspired fan in simple colours, with delicate silver undertones on a plain background (£39 per roll; – 0845 123 6815).

For a more traditional slice of English glamour, savour the delights of the Montacute Wallpaper collection from Nina Campbell. She has taken inspiration from the quiet grandeur of the great houses and gardens of England and Scotland for this collection. Most of the patterns in the range have direct fabric co-ordinates in the companion Montacute Fabric collection.

Montacute includes a number of floral designs most notably Penrose with its bold bouquets of cut garden flowers in a beautiful, natural palate: £54 per roll. Nina Campbell papers are available from stockists of Osborne & Little (visit – 020 7352 1456).

The celebration of simplicity and English eccentricity continues with the introduction of the Bloomsbury Canvas collection by Sanderson. The range is inspired by artists, designers and poets from the 1930s, most notably those of the Bloomsbury Group and the Omega Workshop.

Anyone who has taken a trip to Charleston House in East Sussex, to view the home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, will relish this collection which allows you to instantly adopt their free thinking style into your home. It is difficult to pick a personal favourite, but for simplicity with impact I would opt for the Matisse Leaf; a cascade of skeletal leaves on a variety of inspiringly pigmented backgrounds (£36 per roll; – 0844 543 4749).

In contrast to these homely embodiments of all things simple and natural, come a number of high impact designs incorporating the latest hi-tech printing techniques to create incredible holographic representations.

It is difficult to convey the stunning nature of these papers in a photograph: they really have to be seen to be believed.

Such is the visual deception that many people simply have to touch them to confirm that they are actually flat: a paper that we have in the showroom is getting more than its fair share of caressing at present.

One of the most impactful holographic wallpaper collections I have seen this season is Komodo from Osborne and Little. These contemporary designs take inspiration from the coats and skins of wild animals. The most striking design features a representation of a Komodo dragon in gemstones, which look as though they have been individually pasted to the wall. The Chameleon and Gobi designs also draw the beholder in promising visual depth and undulation. The designs are brash and bold: perfect for the ultra-modern interior or as a startling surprise in the smallest room (from £84 per roll; – 020 7352 1456).

You might also want to check out the aptly named Holo design which features in Prestigious Textiles’ View collection. This is their first venture into this new technique and the end result is a stimulating paper in metallic shades which introduces the visual texture of corrugated steel into your home (£73 per roll; details as before).

So if you delight in homely, English eccentricity, or want to opt for some cutting edge visual escapism, there are definitely some exciting opportunities for you in the new collections this Autumn.

Jamie Hempsall is an award-winning interior designer. See some more of his work at or call him on 0800 032 1180.