No longer your grandmother’s florals, wallpaper is back and better than ever.

Whether a delicate hand-painted design, or bold and dramatic, the variety available makes it accessible to all styles and budgets. Fully embraced by both designers and clients, it is a trend which will likely never go out of fashion, but just continue to adapt to the times.


“Wallpaper has certainly gone through an evolution over the centuries,” says Melissa Jenkinson, owner/founder and director at Island House, Interior Architecture & Design, and wallpaper aficionado.

“It is rumoured to have originated in China as early as 200 B.C., making it one of the oldest forms of decoration. However, it’s widely accepted as really taking off in the 15th and 16th centuries throughout Europe and was available to everyone but the poorest.”

Since its inception, wallpaper techniques have spanned repetitive block-printed scenes and patterns, machine printing, and the Victorian mechanical silk screen printing methods which led to the golden age of wallpaper in the 1920s.

“Fast forward to the 21st century and we have continued to advance printing techniques,” says Melissa. “Nowadays, digitally printed wallpapers are available in an overwhelming choice of designs, colours, textures, and, thankfully, affordability.”


While classic designs still abound (“think William Morris” says Melissa), modern designs and materials have also come to the forefront, such as vinyl, which is a popular option for high traffic or humid areas.

“I recently took on a supplier that produces the most fantastic tropical paper in a vinyl – La Palma by Catherine Martin by Mokum. It’s perfect for an over-the-top powder room, hallway or feature wall,”
says Melissa.

Alongside their modern counterparts, original wallpaper production methods are also still in use.

“From hand-painted papers by Gracie Studio, de Gournay, and Ananbo, to artisanal block-printed wallpapers from Paper Mills (one of my favourites is the ‘Little Havana in Henri’ print) and traditional machine-printed wallpaper like Cole & Son’s ‘Palm Jungle’,”
adds Melissa.

Some of her personal favourites, however, are natural grass-texture wallpaper such as sisal, raffia and grass cloth.

“They are perfect for our environment, really lending themselves to that Caribbean aesthetic,” she says. “They can make a room feel formal or laid back – like you’re on holiday, depending on what texture you use. They really are versatile.”

Going into 2023, Melissa sees wallpaper trends being bold, colourful prints, tropical themes and botanics and a hark back to more classic delicate motifs with a twist – like a tropical toile, as well as natural textures like raffias and grass cloths.

“I personally don’t think they ever go out of style,” she says.


While infinite wallpaper options are at your fingertips online, Melissa recommends buying from a dealer who has established relationships with brands and can vouch for quality and what type of paper would be best for each room.

She has a selection of wallpapers and fabrics online on her website as well as a huge array of samples in her studio, situated in the historic Panton House in George Town.

Despite its ever-changing style, Melissa believes the concept behind wallpaper has never changed.

“It’s always been a way to tell a story, or express individuality and have fun with a space,” she says.


This article appears in the Autumn/Winter 2022 issue of InsideOut magazine, now available at magazine stands and delivered to select homes.