Oh, the miracle of 21st Century digital printing: It is allowing companies in many decorative industries to bring us an expanding variety of small-run, or even printed-to-order, wallpapers, laminates, and more. Latest example: Bradbury and Bradbury Art wallpapers has just introduced 48 new designs of reproduction vintage wallpapers from the 1940s, with designs suitable for kitchens, bathrooms, living areas, and bedrooms too. The wallpapers from this era are super delightful, and Bradbury has chosen their selection well. Let’s take a look at some of my favorites >>
Above: This Bradbury design — I’ll call it “handkerchiefs” is one of the 41 overall designs that come in an additional one or two colorways.
Bradbury sent me a sample of the french gray-and-red colorway, and I pretty much adore it. While I am generally skeptical of digital printed wallpaper, I would be hard pressed to distinguish this from silk-screened or rotogravure-printed wallpaper. The great thing: Bradbury has captured, in their digital printing, the “whoopsies” — that is, where the registers from the old-style printing were off… imperfect.
My sample of this colorway also was uncoated, which I associate with 1940s paper. I realize, thought, that some people may prefer coated paper so it’s easier to wipe down. The coated samples they sent me also look fine. Talk to Bradbury about the pros and cons, and of course, always get samples before you buy.
Our “Fabulous Forties” collection was chosen out of the dozens of patterns culled from period sample books in our archives. We tried to pick not only beautiful eye-catching patterns, but ones that discriminating customers might readily identify with that decade. Both florals and formal geometric patterns were popular then, along with tropically-themed motifs, Proto-Deco styles and designs inspired by Hollywood.
Digital printed wallpaper:
The company added:
One of the benefits of digital printing is being able to reproduce these machine printed papers exactly as they appeared, smudges and all. Silkscreen printing only works when solid lay downs of color are desired. Our digitally printed inks are also more “washable” than the flat oil pigments used in our silkscreen papers. The only thing we can’t do with digital printing are the metallic effects.
Oooooh, this tropical stripe is a real winner!
Update: 1950s collection now also available!
In Aug. 2021, Bradbury amped up its game and also introduced a new collection of 1950s wallpaper — 52 designs in all! Very nice!
- Check out the 1940s collection of wallpaper from Bradbury & Bradbury