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The rising popularity of Sustainable Wallpapers

By Antara Chatterjee In Home & Lifestyle Posted On August 05,2019 0 Comments

Wallpapers have become a popular means of home decoration. Interior designers will vouch for the versatility offered by wallpaper designs for walls. They are easy to install, durable and cost-effective. Slowly but steadily, wallpapers are taking over wall paints in most homes.

If market estimates are to be believed, 98% of all wallpapers are made with vinyl-based materials. While vinyl wallpapers come with their own set of advantages, they also have some drawbacks. Their high rate of harmful VOC emissions negatively affects our indoor air quality. Owing to this, many home owners have been gradually moving towards eco-friendly wallpapers.

Why choose sustainable wallpapers?

Wallpapers originated sometime during the 1500s. They were introduced as a cheap substitute for tapestry and paneling. In the earlier days, wallpapers were made of paper or fabric with hand-painted designs. Vinyl wallpapers were introduced for the first time during the early 1900s. These wallpaper designs for walls soon gained popularity, thanks to its lower cost and higher durability.

Vinyl-based wallcoverings come with a protective layer of plastic coating. Now it is widely known that any kind of plastic product emits harmful VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds). Vinyl wallpapers too produce a high rate of VOC emissions. They release toxic gases like chlorine, bromine, arsenic, mercury, lead, and more. These, in turn, can harm our indoor air quality. Long-term exposure can lead to respiratory problems, asthma, eye irritation and even liver disease.

This is why wallpaper companies have started investing a large part of their resources into finding more sustainable materials to make wallpaper designs for walls. Some of the most popular eco-friendly wallpaper materials are:


It comes from the bark of the Cork Oak tree originally found in southwest Europe and northwest Africa. Cork is one of the most sustainable natural resources in this earth. The bark of the Cork Oak tree is harvested commercially. Wallpapers made out of cork are quite popular. They come in many different color combinations and available in varied textures.


This is a natural fiber obtained from the Raffia Palm tree native to tropical Africa and Madagascar. Wallpapers made of raffia strings are strong, durable and biodegradable. The raffia strings are weaved together which gives the wallpaper its distinct look. Finer weaves produce modern and elegant wallpaper designs for walls, while thicker weaves create a rustic feel.


Grasscloth wallpaper is more like an umbrella term to include various eco-friendly materials. Originating from Asian countries, it mostly consists of dried Asian grasses like hemp, jute, sisal, arrowroot, sea grass or reed. These wallpapers have textured grass-like surfaces. Grasscloth wallpaper is marked with various lines, knots and streaks. No two rolls of grasscolth wallpaper ever look the same. Thus, when hung together, they do not align vertically and create a sort of paneled look in the room.


Linen wallpapers are categorized as high-end premium wallpapers. They have a simple yet luxurious finish. Linen is a natural fiber, thus, completely eco-friendly. It comes in a wide variety of colors and textures. Linen wallpapers bring in elegance and sophistication to your home walls.

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 Shubham Bhattacharje
 Antara Chatterjee
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