Image credit: Covella
What are the worst wallpapers out there?
I ask because sometimes it’s impossible to know what you want until you see what you don’t…
On a five minute browse today I found these beauties.
Image credit: Frowe
But the more I looked, the more I lost my certainty and started to wonder.
Were the things I was looking at really bad or actually kinda cute…?
Image credit: Scion
Maybe, I thought, it’s all down to the quality of the wallpaper.
Maybe the image itself is tacky or peculiar or kitsch but the production is superb. Andy Warhol was a master of manipulating this idea, making his fortune from what might be considered tacky pop art.
(A talent that still operates 30 years after his death – his Queen wallpaper retails at around £300 a roll!)
Image credit: Work Of
Maybe it’s the difference between a cheap print of Chinese Girl,
Image credit: Chinese Girl
which cost a few shillings from Woolworths in the seventies and a print of Picasso’s Weeping Woman which sold for $5million.
Image credit: MoMA
But then of course what you consider ‘good quality’ or ‘good taste’ varies.
There’s a fashion at the moment for distressing surfaces so they look old and battered. So in certain places it might seem ‘bad taste’ or ‘tacky’ to have a pristinely papered and painted house.
And then again it might depend on what class of society you identify with.
A couple of years ago the artist Grayson Perry made a fascinating series - In the Best Possible Taste - about, you guessed it, taste.
The major conclusion he came to was that what is tasteful or tacky depends mostly on what social tribe you aspire to. Stereotypically the three classes’ version of desirable design broke down into fake tans and tattoos in Sunderland, Range Rovers and Jamie Oliver in Tunbridge Wells and the ‘impeccable appropriateness’ of antiques in the Cotswolds.
Closer to home I thought of it like this.
My best friend (completely middle class) has what I consider a beautiful, elegantly decorated apartment in Bath. Her proudly working class nan from Rotherham refers to the Farrow and Ball palette as ‘those muddy colours’ and calls her grand-daughter’s flat ‘gloomy’.
Nan much prefers a nice bright easy-wipe Hint of Primrose white on her walls: ‘You can see where the muck is’, she says.
Good taste, it seems, is a matter of taste!