18 different patterns of vintage wallpaper in David’s Australian bungalow — 50+ photos

An “exaggerated, joyous, and smile factor”
vintage wallpaper frenzy

mid century modern house australiaI have long had a theory that it is nigh on impossible to wallpaper just one room. Once a bit of wallpaper goes up onto the wall, it begs for company. It begs for a party. And holey Down Under, a party is just what reader David has delivered: He says he “stole” the words “exaggerated, joyous and smile factor” from our blog — and encouraged, he has joyfully plastered his sunny Australian mid mod house with 18 different patterns of vintage wallpaper.  And to heck with matchy-matchy. It’s visual chaos — and absolute delight. You know me and my luv of vintage wallpaper — I am absolutely entranced by David’s masterpiece. Get read to click on through and be amazed, with this warning: If you have a hangover or have just consumed much coffee and sugar, you may want to hold off for a few hours before viewing:

vintage 1970s wallpaperI first heard from David before the recent holidays. He wrote:

Hi Pam

I sent in a photo to Retro Renovation [for your] wallpaper [uploader] in June.

I have completed the wallpaper frenzy, in time for Xmas. On and off for months I have been wallpapering the house, it is summer here in Australia and I have had to pick the cooler days.

vintage volkswagen australiaThe wallpapering has got me into the mid century colors and I also stumbled upon a honey brown 1971 VW for $600 on ebay. It matches the house, I have been working in it in addition to the wallpapering. I have recently road registered the VW.

vintage wallpaper australiaIt is my turn to host 25 of the family for Xmas. We are having mid-century theme — food, clothes and thrift shop presents.

vintage wallpaper bedroomThe wallpaper has been sourced from ebay and is mostly vintage left overs.

vintage wallpaper 1970sThere are now 18 different patterns in the house, and I have used some 45 rolls. Every wall has wallpaper except the toilet. I not only did the walls but also the refrigerator, dishwasher and inside the kitchen.cabinets

vintage car wallpaperl have stolen the terms from your blog “exaggerated, joyous and smile factor” and have used this as inspiration. The wallpaper patterns and colours therefore are meant to be over the top and not necessarily matching.

The best thing about wallpaper is the finish, also once you stand back you cannot see any imperfections even when you know where they are.

vintage bathroom wallpaperPeople that have seen it have said what happens when you sell the house, my response is the only way I am leaving this house is feet first


So David sent me all the photos, in batches, and we touched base again after Christmas. I asked him what his family thought of the wallpaper frenzy. He wrote:

Hi Pam

I am so relieved xmas is over!

Everyone liked the mid century theme and house, although some were initially a bit overwhelmed by the wallpaper and other mid century trinkets. As they looked around there was a stunned silence from those who had not seen the house, I guess they are more accustomed to whites/beiges not patterns and colours.

wallpaper muralI think I overheard the word eccentric – there are worse things one can be called (and in fact have been called), anyway I take this as a compliment.

vintage wallpaper patchworkThe funniest thing about the mid century theme was the thrift shop presents. How funny was it to unwrap a 70s wooden tennis racquet with an original kangaroo skin cover or a beige polyester safari suit that the recipient had to wear (by popular demand). The invite for the day had said “guests may be required to wear their present” – this was an attempt to steer people into getting funny vintage clothing for presents.

flocked wallpaperAll the wallpaper was from ebay and advertised as vintage or retro. Going by the packaging it was mostly vintage. To my horror one lot had a barcode.

putting up wallpaperWhat can I say. Life’s a big canvas — throw on a lot of paint. Or better yet: Wallpaper.

Thank you, David, for this super mega dose of exaggerated, joyous, smile factor — which will radiate all across the Retro Renovation universe all day long!

Full gallery of David’s interiors, enlarged images:

Tip to view gallery: Click on any image, it will enlarge on screen, use arrows below image to move forward and back, you can pick up slide show at any point:

love the house you're in

  1. Marie Gamalski says:

    Wow…. just, WOW!! Couple of things…1) David, are you married…and if so, how did you find the perfect mate?? Hahahaha hahahaha 2) your bravery knows no bounds my friend! 3) your installation is perfection, I see paper hanger in your future! 4) those velvet pinch pleats are STUNNING!!! 5) Rock on David, rock on!!????????

  2. Kim says:

    Glad to see not everyone likes ‘contemporary’. Do you have any more of the red flock wall paper left. My 85 year old father had an electrical fire in his house and had to have house re-wired. Insurance would not pay out as they classed wiring as ‘on going’ maintenance which should have been replaced. He would not be able to live in a ‘contemporary’ decorated house, so we need to replace wallpaper. The odd roll would help. Please can you help?

  3. Jo Hodson says:

    Was led to your images by our mutual friend. I love what you’ve done David, it’s inspirational, individual and eclectic….so NOT sheepeople!

  4. Sue says:

    How wonderful to see another Australian Mid-mod fanatic on this wonderful site! Where are you located David ? I have a friend whose whole house is the same thing-different wallpapers in every room plus she has the floor tiled in mixes of retro tiles so the final effect is that of a tiled rug. My obsession has led me to create a retro style B&B in the Dandenongs out of Melbourne. It is designed to capture Australia in the early 1950s and though we only opened in late December 2012 we are getting lots of positive feedback about what fun it is and how people love the nostalgia. All the best with your project!

  5. kristin says:

    wow – just so cool and fun. way to go david to do this, and send it in to pam to share. a total fun house.

  6. Kim Rosas says:

    I would LOVE to know where you found the light fixture over the washer/dryer! We had a pull down light in an apartment many years ago and I would love to find another. I’m not even sure what it is called. The one you have is just perfect! What a fun home!

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