My vintage wallpaper collection from the 50s, 60s and 70s

I finally got around to scanning and then posting my vintage wallpaper collection on flickr. My love affair continues as strong as ever. I think that I now have about 125 rolls. I figure these are a better investment than the stock market. There is no way that I will stop proselytizing the importance of wallpaper to your retro renovation any time soon! And remember, if you are concerned about resale – you can always do “the basics” – like tile, flooring, cabinetry, countertops in a neutral, conservative, traditional style. Then, add your retro zing with with wallpaper and other accessories. If you use a liner paper underneath the vintage wallpaper, you can conceptually remove the vintage paper and reuse it (at least, this is what one expert once told me, it’s worth checking into). If your fixed basics are neutral…timeless… a new owner can work with them to create their own look..


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  1. catherine says

    i am in awe! i just purchased my first two rolls of vintage wallpaper this week. your collection looks amazing!!! and i especially love the fifth one!

  2. MidCent Keith says

    I remember going with my mother to the paint store in the early 70’s to look through wallpaper books (It seemed like piles and piles) She picked one that looked just like your first sample, but in blues and greens. After the paper was up, my father helped my brother and me cut out the various items pictured on the wallpaper scraps and glue them on to cardboard boxes that we had painted white adding circles with jar lids and gold spray paint. Great fun, great memories, great storage boxes. I think a few of those boxes are still around more than 30 years later!

  3. Pat says

    I just bought a roll of vintage wallpaper border. I love it, but it is very fragile! How do I get it on the wall without tearing it? I am so scared I’m going to ruin it before I get it on the wall.

    • Pam Kueber says

      Pat, go to your local wallpaper store – they can help you identify the correct paste to use. The instructions will be on the box. You will also want to paint “sizing” on the wall where your border will be going. For these kinds of instructions – I recommend you talk to the experienced people at a good local wallpaper store to help you to prepare and get set up properly. And, if you are really concerned about messing up the job – perhaps this is a time when investing in a pro makes sense. Sounds like a small job….

  4. Mary-Frances Main says

    Love em Pam! Totally fun to use them. There is (maybe Google it – or I’ll look around) a Vintage wallpaper store in new York that might be a resource (for putting it up and collecting).

  5. jeanne says

    We had the fourth wall paper in the kitchen of the house I grew up in (built 1952), only it was a light yellow background (could be similar to the one you show) with green instead of the red. I haven’t ever seen anything similar before!

    Just an FYI: I just saw the movie Revolutionary Road, and it’s 1955 visual eye-candy!! Fantastic interiors, colors, furniture, assessories, fabrics, clothes…it’s like one of your vintage ads come-to-life.

  6. Pat says

    Thanks Pam. It’s not the paste, etc. that I’m worried about, I know about sizing, etc. It’s getting it unrolled and cut into strips (it’s 3 borders on one roll) that I’m worried about. I’m afraid it will start tearing before I even get it ready to hang.

  7. Denise says

    Ugh, wallpaper. … Sorry. I JUST got done removing layers of it. LAYERS. Foil silver & peach flowers, foil stripes. UNDER that: huge orange and green smiling mushrooms in the kitchen; HUGE, like 12″ mushrooms. And blue and yellow smiley faces in the bathroom. Under that, purple and yellow paint in the kitchen and too bright blue in bath. ONE BATHROOM DONE! 🙂 I love my house. But wallpaper,.. a nightmare. Still one bedroom and one bathroom with silver and blue foil abounding. It’s a ’57 California Atomic Ranch gone nuts and after 30 years we finally have money to restore it and I’m having a blast. But, it’s Say No To Paper for life after that.

    • pam kueber says

      Hey, Denise, to each her own, but you should know you are in the land of the world’s #1 wallpaper lover (me). If I had a kitchen with 12″ mushrooms — I probably would have kept them! Foil? FAB! Okay, the smiley faces might have had to go… 🙂

  8. MbS says

    We had either no 1 growing up or one very similar. I am very temped about wall paper. Fabric is are more flexible love-of-picture-patterns indulgence for some. The room I am most tempted to paper is a bathroom with white tile, medium blue bullnose, with black/white basket-weave floor tiles. Tiny, narrow bath with no exhaust fan.

    Would love this ballerina, place blue stuff:

  9. karen says

    Pam, where did you find these? Yard sales? Ebay? They are wonderful! I started wallpapering in 1977 just prior to our first child’s birth and continued through the early 90’s. That’s 3 house worth. Then around 2000 I started pulling/scraping it off to go back to simple paint. Now I’m thinking of doing an accent wall with one of the atomic age papers from Bradbury, although a little pricey for me.

    • pam kueber says

      Karen, I found them mostly at an art supply store nearby, which in an earlier incarnation sold a lot of wallpaper. They were selling excess rolls one at a time for art projects… I saw the rolls, asked if they had more, took a trip to the basement, and the rest is history. I highly suggest this approach.

    • pam kueber says

      my personal collection, tania. not for sale… see my Wallpapers category for where to find vintage wallpaper

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