With artist-designed wallpapers, your walls will floor guests

  • Flavor Paper’s Crowd (Where’s Warhol) wallpaper, seen here in Licorice, is a conversation starter ($220 per 15-foot roll, flavorpaper.com). Flavor Paper via Washington Post

  • Brooklyn-based Flavor Paper collaborated with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for its Elvi wallpaper ($225 per 15-foot roll, flavorpaper.com). Flavor Paper via Washington Post

  • Artist Kiki Smith hand-drew the images for her Maiden & Moonflower wallpaper, which is then printed to order by Studio Printworks ($450 for a five-yard roll, artwareeditions.com). Artware Editions via Washington Post

  • Flavor Paper’s Flowers wallpaper, seen here in Miami Spice, has a Warhol feel. Flavor Paper via Washington Post

Washington Post
Published: 6/23/2017 12:59:29 PM

A designer friend once told me that she typically hangs her client’s best artwork in the powder room. Not only is the art guaranteed a captive audience, but it also makes for an unexpected juxtaposition. Although I have never followed my friend’s example entirely, I agree with her that powder rooms are a space where you should have fun and take decorating gambles. And my friend has a point: Very little in a room can surprise people more than art.

My suggestion – rather than hijacking a client’s painting from above the mantel to hang over the powder room toilet – is to hang artist-designed wallpaper.

Contemporary artists such as Kiki Smith, James Welling, John Baldessari and Vik Muniz, to name a few, have designed wallpapers as diverse and surprising as the unique works of art they each create. Although few of us can afford one of their original works, some of us just might be able to spring for a few rolls of wallpaper to cover our tiny powder rooms.

New York-based Artware Editions works with artists and fabricators to produce all sorts of functional objects. For its wallpapers, it works in two ways: Smith hand-drew the images for her Maiden & Moonflower wallpaper, which was then printed to order by Studio Printworks. The paper is available in six shades and, as wallpaper goes, is expensive: Each five-yard roll costs $450. Baldessari’s surrealist papers, which pair similarly shaped but oddly matched objects on candy-colored backgrounds, are also printed to order and cost $600 each.

Other papers, such as those by Welling, Polly Apfelbaum and Muniz, are mural-style designs and are sized, scaled, priced and custom-printed for the room in which they will hang. But you must order a minimum of 100 square feet. These papers are a serious investment. Keep in mind that they are not meant to be backgrounds for a room’s furnishings but rather, like art, the main event.

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