The wacky ways we lined our walls in the ’70s

It’s a product that has been around since the 1700s, but wallpaper really made us stand up and take notice

It’s a product that has been around since the 1700s, but wallpaper really made us stand up and take notice during the ’60s and ’70s. Back then it was all bright colours and geometric designs, and it was one of the most popular household items in the Western world.

The trend has gone in and out of fashion since about 1930 and most of the stuff manufactured before 1950 was made from wood pulp (hence the term ‘paper’).

In the 1960s and ’70s the wallpaper industry saw peak popularity, with new manufacturers and new products entering the marketplace. One of the most popular designers of wallpaper during the era was American artist Andy Warhol. The cow wallpaper was his first foray into the creative field.

There was a new look to wallpaper emerging in the ’70s especially, and no longer was it made from paper. You could have had grass cloth, string, fabric, silk and vinyl, just to name a few. Professional installers would be booked months in advance.

Of course the process of removing wallpaper was the tricky part, and many of those involved in the installation of wallpaper feel that such a challenge was the start of the product’s decline. However, Starts at 60 believes that just like the fashion of old, wallpaper will make its comeback in time.

Did you have wallpaper on your walls at home? What pattern, design or colour was your favourite?

  1. Marie  

    Yes, same pattern throughout the house, except west-side rooms, which were painted.
    Our pattern was cream, with gold flowery outstanding, for Main Bedroom, the rest was Cream with beigey-grey flat pattern, & the Kitchen was bright orange, yellow, & brown ‘fruits’.

    Loved them all, & they lasted 40 years’!

    It was interesting, as house built in early ’70’s, building boom time, & there was a 6 week wait for Wallpaper…..any wallpaper.

    So it had to be put up before the floor could be sandered, that had to done before the carpets could be laid, & that had to be done before curtains’ could be installed.
    Once the wallpaper had dried, everything else was in place within a week! Yay!

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