Be an expert in your field: Wallpaper history

Having an eye for colour and design is one thing, but being an expert in your field can be another.

Knowing a bit more than your average designer about the when and how of wallpaper won't just come in handy for your games of trivial pursuit, your customers will be doubly impressed with your dedication to the job and more likely to take your word as authority.

It all started in China around 200 BC when rice paper was stuck to the walls in homes. It wasn't until 1481 AD when Jean Bourdichon painted 50 rolls of paper for Louis XI of France. His design of choice was angels on a blue background.

A century later, France saw the first establishment of a guild of paperhangers.

In 1879 AD, Karl Keitsch invented gravure painting in Austria which was a major milestone in the history of wallpaper and the basis of modern day wallpaper printing machinery.

Since then, wallpaper design, production and use have come a long way.

There are wallpapers especially for children's rooms, wallpaper that can be painted over, trends that leave wallpaper on the ceiling, and a myriad of colours, textures and designs available to anyone who works with it.

Who would have thought that a themed room can go the extra mile with a snakeskin design on the walls with Resene African Queen?

One of the other things to know is that there are three main wallpaper types available.

Un-pasted paper must have paste applied to the back before hanging, but these days most wallpapers don't require this step.

There are also pre-pasted papers, which come with the paste pre-applied. All you need to do is activate the paste with water.

The most modern type of wallpaper, which is a long way away from the Chinese rice paper original, is a non-woven 'paste the wall' kind, which are a lot easier to apply than previous options.

To see how far wallpaper has come for yourself, have a look at the Resene wallpaper swatch library and explore the latest collections.

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