Trend Alert

A New Trend in Restaurant Design: Wallpaper

Specifically, ornate floral wallpaper.

By Christopher Werner December 16, 2011


Timber trimmings, subway tile, and Edison bulbs have all but defined recent restaurant/bar design. Lately though, industry folk have eschewed (or in some cases supplemented) said trends with another aesthetic: wallpaper, particularly of the damask variety.

Back in March when I was profiling Eric Hentz of Mallet Inc, he was in the midst of designing Cure. Hentz styled a portion of it in textured fleur-de-lis–esque wallpaper, a coat of Dutch gloss paint on top. He chose the paper to blunt the boite’s cold, concrete interior; also, because at 750 square feet and with a wall of windows flanking one side and a lengthy, well-stocked bar the other, Cure left little room for surface detailing.

“Wallpaper? I think of my mom and aunt with wallpaper in the bathroom and I’m like, Ugh, what a nightmare,” said Amy Haldane prior to opening Cure on Capitol Hill in May with husband Eric. “But it’s a great solution—and a creative one.”

The Sexton. Photo courtesy Brandon Cook.

Indeed, wallpaper is no longer the purview of blue hairs (or tiny restaurants). Elsewhere in Capitol Hill, Canon, Bako, Tavern Law, and Grim’s —all relative newcomers—boast damask patterns of some sort.

Hub of trends the Hill be, the wallpaper is now emanating across I-5 and over Ship Canal. Phinney Market Pub and Eatery is outfitted with a striking black wall of curlicues (see a pic here). You’ll find something similar at The Sexton, the spankin-new Ballard Ave den of southern hospitality, and the just-opened The Upstairs in Belltown.

Word has it when Manhattan Drugs debuts it’ll be decked out in damask, bringing the trend full circle—the restaurant and bar is smack in the heart of Pike/Pine.

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