The nature of the space we live in has been of great interest in Aesthetics and Psychology for many years. Millennia before Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno, the Chinese geomancy system called Feng Shui raised the problem of the effects of the environment on people’s energy and mood.
Modern environmental psychology loses the ritual connotations in this Chinese tradition to introduce concepts like “place identity” and “place attachment”. It is a more elaborated version of the well known concept of “home sweet home”.
Not only humans associate memories with places like the protagonist of In Search of Lost Time, but also we project our identities onto the spaces we occupy.
A Proustian feeling probably hides behind the wallpaper pattern “The Family” by Swedish designer Lisa Bengtsson, which contains vintage-looking drawn frames that could come straight from the early 1900s. The empty frames allow to customise the wallpaper to contain one’s own memories, or any image that reflects one’s tastes and inspirations.
An allure vintage comes from this wallpaper, which uses one of the most traditional motifs in decoration (geometrical and flower-inspired) with a modern twist. Such a strong purple as the one used by Toronto decorator Holly Dyment would have never beem used by an upper-middle class family in the Victorian Age.
Bold choices in decoration can say a lot about the person who lives in the place. Societal expectations and gender prejudices will drive people to expect a pale pink background with a tree and birds will be on a woman’s wall, while a target will be on a man’s. It is not necessarily true, as it may have nothing to do with one person’s gender, but it is rational to assume that the person with the nature-inspired wallpaper is a calmer one.
A traditional striped one in pale colours is very neutral but still allows to give a hint of personality more than a plain background, unless in very bright and peculiar colours.
However, stripes can be twisted into optical effects that are not for the average one. If it doesn’t hint to a distorted mind, it surely hints to a design-savvy personality.
Peculiar are also wallpaper made by newspapers, like this one by Jason Wu for Canvas.
It is not as personal as a wallpaper made of composable letters, or with a writing that is significant to the people living there. Danielle Hardy at Urban Walls creates decals that are as inspiring for their words as they are for their design.