Hung Up on Wallpaper

Cutting-edge styles and techniques are giving a dowdy old standby a hip new look

Jacobean by Portofino Collection

Large prints like this floral pattern use contrasting colors to make an impact.

Laura Lovett had always associated wallpaper with her grandmother's dated prints, but when she heard that her hip mom was redecorating with contemporary wall coverings, Lovett was intrigued. After 14 years of experimenting with painting techniques in her home in Summit, N.J., she started poring over books filled with materials like bamboo, sand-embossed patterns and unexpectedly large shapes. Wallpaper, she quickly realized, had changed since her grandmother's time. "I'm looking to make a statement," says Lovett, 49. "And with these funky designs, you can do that with texture and color."

Lovett has caught on to interior designers' latest passion. Photographic murals...

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