AS Boris Johnson knows to his cost - financially and politically - wallpaper is fashionable once more. But it it turns out that it is a certain type of wallpaper that has surged in popularity in lockdown.


Is it made of gold?

It’s certainly been reported that the Prime Minister moaned his partner, Carrie Symonds - who hired upmarket interior designer, Lulu Lytle, to decorate the couple's Downing Street living quarters - was splashing out on expensive decor. The Daily Mail reported he told aides: “The cost is totally out of control – she’s buying gold wallpaper!”


Did she?

Lytle’s Soane Britain company sells ‘Yellow Gold’ and ‘Old Gold’ wallpaper, with prices around £840 per roll, so if she did snap them up, it would be a costly choice indeed.


But this is not what most of us are opting for?

Brits who don’t live in Downing Street seem to be eschewing gold options for nature themes. Research conducted by wallpaper design brand, I Want Wallpaper, found that nature-inspired wallpaper searches surged in lockdown and continue to trend this spring. 


Floral is in favour?

Searches for 'floral wallpaper' rose by 462.5%, while searches for ‘botanical’ deigns shot up by 400% and ‘plant wallpaper' increased by 265%. ’Nature’ also shows a 138% increase. The survey found that the majority of searchers for these themes reside in major UK cities including Glasgow, London and Manchester, perhaps desperate to bring the countryside to their urban living.


It’s the lockdown effect?

Looking at the research, Alex Whitecroft, head of design at I Want Wallpaper, said: “If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we often underestimate how important nature is for our mental health and wellbeing. We're all looking for ways to add a natural touch to our homes. A space with a good visual connection to nature can be calming, help improve our mood and have a positive impact on our well-being”.


Wallpaper has a rich history?

The earliest wallpapers were used to decorate the insides of cupboards and small rooms in merchants' houses rather than the palatial houses of the well-to-do, according to the V&A - which has a vast wallpaper collection. But by the beginning of the 20th century, it was used everywhere, from hallways to bathrooms.


It peaked in the 1960s and 1970s?

Designs were bold during that period and sales were strong, but the rise in popularity of simple paint saw wallpaper fade, until a recent revival, in part due to the popularity of feature walls and some big fashion names creating their own lines, including Vivienne Westwood.


The most famous wallpaper…

…could well be political, although not of Miss Symonds' choosing. Rather, the choice of First Lady Jackie Kennedy who installed antique panels of wallpaper made by historic French firm, Zuber, in the White House’s Diplomatic Reception Room, featuring panoramic scenes of America, including Boston Harbour. It didn’t cause a media storm, however, as the National Society of Interior Design purchased it for $12,500 and donated it to the White House.