What is Flock Wallpaper
Flock wallpaper has been seeing a resurgence as far as we are concerned, since around 2005, as both the designs and techniques used to create this type of wallpaper have improved thus allowing interior designers to use it then schemes or home owners to be a little more adventureours and add some real texture to their walls.
So what is Flock wallpaper?
Well it was originally invented to imitate cut velvet fabric hangings as far back as the 17th century and it used “Flock” which was a waste product of the woollen cloth industry which came in powdered form. The term flock wallpaper is derived from the process of flocking this is essentially taking fibers, which in the old days was this powdered form of wool, but today are typically man made fibers from polyester to nylon, or rayon flock applied to an adhesive coated coated surface. This process creates a raised almost like velvet texture and another name for flock wallpaper in past years was the term embossed, as like embossing, flocking produced a compact raised surface, off the paper that the pattern or design would follow.
Why was it used?
Its benefit over textile wallcoverings was the turpentine in the adhesive used in the process of making flock wallpaper kept it free from moths, however flock tended to retain the smell of food and collected dirt and dust which meant its use was unsuitable in certain areas.
A Brief History
It is unclear as to when the very first flock papers were manufactured in the UK, but by the late 17th century advertisements appeared for flock wallpapers. The designs were often direct imitations of damasks or velvets, and the range of designs was limited and because of the cost to buy flock wallpaper they were regarded as luxury wallpapers. A portion of a flock wallpaper that dates to 1735 was found at Clandon Park, which was also noted as being used in other such buildings of statue such as Queen’s Drawing Room in Hampton Court Palace, and in the offices of His Majesty’s Privy Council, Whitehall, London.
Example taken from the Victoria & Albert Museum.
So it came to be that, not only because they were relatively expensive compared with other wallpapers, but as they also proved extremely resiliant and durable, flock wallpapers tended to adorned the walls of public places and country houses of the wealthy. The best wallpapers were not always used though as mock flock paper became available and was cheaper than the real thing.
In the 18th century English flock wallpaper was considered the best and we exported to continental Europe, notably France, and again as the papers were considered luxury wallpaper in those days they were favoured, and found in the apartments and houses of wealthy individuals.
Flock Wallpaper Designs
Although flock papers have been produced in every passing style and even more unique designs have been developed today (more on this later), the vintage flock wallpaper designs of the early 18th century have generally survived the test of time and can be applied today for decorating homes and feature walls. The 18th century flock papers were generally styled in imitation of floral patterned damasks, chinese and chinsoisereie papers that featured flowering shrubs, roses, chrysanthemums, poppies, peonies and bamboo, often augmented with exotic birds and insects.
Examples below taken from the Victoria & Albert Museum.
In the 19th century improvements in the production process where the flocked areas were blind stamped to strengthen the embossed finish meant flocking was used to embellish designs in every style, from florals to borders with Egyptian motifs, and troumpe-l’oeil printed draperies.
Example taken from the National Trusts Oxburgh Hall
Even though flocked wallpaper was considered a luxury wallpaper and something to aspire to, there is some argument to suggest they lost there popularity for a couple of reasons, reasons that still hold some weight today. Cost is always a consideration when decorating your home, but also cleanliness became an issue as the ability for flock wallpapers to hold dust, both is, and was a problem for some.
Not only that, but with the arrival a wallpaper-printing machine by the British textile printers Potters and Ross in 1839, replacing old printing methods, this meant that gradually there was a greater choice of wallpapers at a cheaper price, available to many, and therefore flocked wallpaper began to loose some of its appeal.
Some would argue though flock wallpaper has always been popular and even more so today. There are many companies launching luxury wallpaper collections that feature contemporary flock wallpaper pushing the boundaries further by creating the flock or velvet over an existing pattern or texture.
This is possibly why as a wallpaper they are becoming more popular and with many being produced on a non-woven backing it means they are becoming easier to hang, and therefore potentially can be considered as a wallpaper for a feature wall.
When to use Flock Wallpaper?
Well walls, after your flooring is the second most important area of a room, and to give any advice without seeing the room is impratical as your walls are often broken through doors, fireplaces and windows and so all this needs to be considered for the balance of any scheme. Things to consider though when there is so much choice available, that pattern will help set style of the room, and give you a required look, while colour will create the mood, you need to relate the scale of the pattern, or strength of colour to shape and size of the wall.
Aside from commonsense that it is not best hung in wet areas or kitchens, and small children with sticky fingers and flock are not the best match, there are no limits and with the growing number of designs available you can come up with some stunning feature wall ideas.
It is always advisable to request wallpaper samples and then view them under day and night lighting conditions, and pin these up on the walls with any paint samples and see how the direction of light effects your view of them. Consider purchasing a roll and hang two widths side by side to see how the pattern on the flock moves across the surface of the wall.
How to hang flock wallpaper?
We won’t go into too much detail but to say if you are purchasing an expensive type of wallpaper always ensure the decorator you are using has experience with working with these types of wallcoverings. Sure the non-woven backing on good quality wallpapers these days makes it easier to hang, but someone with experience will ensure the job goes smoothly, just like how your walls should be before you begin to apply. Make sure if you are using a pattern with a large repeat place the pattern at the top of the wall where your eye natural moves towards therefore preventing the pattern being potentially cut in half.
Modern Flock Wallpaper Designs
Flock wallpaper can, and is used, as a feature wallpaper and we took a look at some in our feature wall wallpaper ideas a while back. They can also be used to cover a multitude of sins if the state of your walls is not the best following removal of your last paper.
Lets take a look at some of the companies from our wallpaper library today producing interesting luxury flock wallcoverings. There I am sure more to consider but here are some we put together showcasing some of the best modern flocked wallpaper.
Romo Black Edition
Some striking papers are part of the Romo Black Edition wallpaper ranges, such as their
Their rough and ready abstract contemporary flock wallpaper design Jackson also from the same collection.
Another contemporary abstract flock wallpaper Zelva included in their more recent Astratto collection made all the more interesting contrasting flock and subtle metallic grounds. We may have included this in some our best wallpapers just recently if not certainly worthy of a mention
Speaking of contrast the brilliant Halston Flock featured in the Glamora collection a Zinc wallpaper by the Romo Group which features a cool crazy crazy square design on a nice textured ground.
Also their fashionable interpretation of the houndstooth design that is featured on handbags, dresses and much more these days, which is their Oscar flock wallcovering from the same collection.
Romo wallpaper from their aptly entitled Grandis wallpaper collection have a couple of flocks. Their long standing classic inspired damsak flock wallpaper of Grandis and plus their cool diamond shape flock paper of Laurito.
Have an enormous amount to choose from and some really nice designs from the abstract, to the damask, floral, aswell as stripe flock wallpaper with a good degree of variation in colour.
There are plenty more flock wallcovering within the Eijjfinger wallpaper collections including these creme and pink flock wallpaper examples below so be sure to consider them is your searching for wallpaper online.
The great thing about Eijffinger is not only do they have a diverse an interesting range of designs and quite often you can find a stripe flock wallpaper to match the colour, of one their patterns, an added bonus when designing an interior scheme or room in your home.
Have a fair few in their collection mainly in a small number of colourways though. Like most companies you will find red, black and white flocks but finding a green flock wallpaper is not always the norm and that perhaps why Designers Guild in their wisdom or madness have the Ardassa wallpaper colour Emerald in their collection
Blue flock wallpaper is also not the most common but they have it covered with their Portio Delft and small square flock design of Castellini
Black flock wallpaper as you would expect all with some interesting damask patterns.
Plus their grand floral leaf inspired design of Leblond
For some reason we do struggle to find a convincing teal flock wallpaper, but perhaps we will see more now Dulux announce Teal as a colour trend for 2014.
Of course Zoffany as a company with a long standing heritage, and a strong reference to the past, it is of no surprise to find they have a couple of what could be described as historical designs within Zoffany wallpaper ranges. First is their Persian Tulip design from the Trade Routes collection but also the Navarre design in their Nureyev wallpaper collection.
GP and J Baker
As mentioned earlier Bamboo Flock wallpaper was a feature of early designs, and GP and J Baker keep this style alive in their Emperors Garden collection with the design bamboo flock.
They move towards more contemporary flock designs in their recent Langdale wallpaper collection with a striking almost leopard flock print called Sundra. You would have seen this type of pattern as a cut velvet fabric in many collections of recent years but a bold move and inventive move to now put this onto a contemporary flock wallpaper.
Osborne and Little
Every interior designers favourite when it comes to designer wallpaper, Osborne and Little wallpaper is right up there from a creative perspective but there is not that much to show in terms of flock. One the most quirkiest flock wallpaper patterns is within their ranges of designer wallpapers and that has to be their Best In Show wallpaper featuring various different breeds of dogs. Crufts on your wall!
A quick description , with a little bit of history, followed by some examples from our design library of what is flock wallpaper. Of course please don’t take this as gospel there are many other patterns and designs to be explored but these are just some of what are around today. If your looking for something different for your home interior then we hope this gives you some options to consider.
Of course should you need any design advice or information on any of these designer wallpaper featured in this basic interior design blog then please don’t hesitate to contact us.