Design January 21, 2023

Wallpaper Made a Major Comeback—Can the Wallpaper Border Do the Same?

The past few years have seen a resurgence in ’70s-, ’80s-, and ’90s-inspired home decor trends that homeowners and interior designers alike were nearly certain were left in the past. Out of all of them, one of the most impressive and surprising comebacks has been the renewed obsession with wallpaper. Available in a plethora of modern and stylish designs and patterns, wallpaper is now easier to apply (and remove) than ever, making it popular among both interior designers and home decor DIYers.

Wallpaper has quite literally made the comeback of the century in home decor, and along with it comes another related trend—wallpaper borders. While wallpaper has seen an increase in popularity over the past few years, we’re only just starting to see people experimenting with wallpaper borders again. So are wallpaper borders set to be the next big thing in interior design? We talked to a few interior design experts to get their take on this ’80s-inspired trend.

What Is a Wallpaper Border?

A wallpaper border is a thin strip of wallpaper that is used to edge a room or define a space or pattern on the wall, for those who weren’t around when wallpaper borders were previously in style in the 1980s and early ’90s. Traditionally, wallpaper borders were applied around the tops of walls or used break up two different types of wall coverings (like paint and wallpaper) as a technique to hide imperfections in the wallpapering application.

Today, wallpaper borders can be used and applied in a multitude of unique and creative ways, from accentuating doorways and windows to dressing up your staircase risers.

boys bedroom

Are Wallpaper Borders Really Making a Comeback?

As it turns out, wallpaper borders are a bit of a polarizing topic among interior design experts. For those who enjoy minimalism and clean design, the trend can feel overpowering and outdated. However, for those who enjoy maximalism and playing with colors and layers in design, wallpaper borders present an exciting opportunity to try something new.

For Laura Aguilar, owner and principal interior designer at Aguilar Design Studio, it’s a yes to wallpaper borders. “We are thrilled that wallpaper is having such a huge moment lately, and if wallpaper is popular, you can believe that borders are too!” she says.

For other designers, though, wallpaper borders are a trend they are happy to leave in the past. Erika Twohig and Julie Sanfilippo, co-founders of interior design firm Cedar House Design Collective, aren’t excited about the possibility. “As interior designers and adults with vivid memories of our mother’s wallpaper borders, we hope they do not make a comeback,” they say.

So what’s the final consensus? While it looks like this wall covering is truly making a bit of a comeback, most experts agree that it is probably set to be a short-lived trend that may not make it to the mainstream decorating world. For that reason, many experts recommended using peel and stick wallpaper borders for easy application and even easier removal (plus, peel and stick is renter-friendly!).

While we may not see wallpaper borders totally taking over the design world anytime soon, for those who love all things maximalism or are simply looking for a fun way to add some character to their space, wallpaper borders are definitely a trend worth trying.

How to Implement Wallpaper Borders in Your Home

While wallpaper borders were traditionally used to border an existing wallpaper application, there are lots of creative ways you can integrate wallpaper borders into your home. For example, try using a wallpaper border to accentuate the windows and doors in a room, or on the ceiling for an unexpected pop of color. Aguilar recommends using wallpaper borders to outline a focal point in the room to really make it pop: “Like a gorgeous fireplace mantle, beautiful artwork or dress up a chair rail,” she says. She also recommends using wallpaper borders in place of crown molding or wall trim, or as a way to break up two pieces of wallpaper for some added contrast.