When you’re building a home or renovating or you’ve just moved into your rented pad, there will always be the question whether you’d want to paint or to use wallpaper. That’s something I’ve asked myself during the times I was in a similar situation. But before I answer that, let me show you the kind of discovery tour I go through when I think about this question.

Martinique with the Iconic Banana Leaves

Martinique, that’s the name of the iconic wallpaper designed by Albert Stockdale and released in 1942 by CW Stockwell. In the same year, costume designer Don Loper plastered this wallpaper all over the Beverly Hills Hotel. That’s when the banana leaf became a phenomenon, elevated to the world of glitz and glamor, and feted in magazines such as Architectural Digest and House Beautiful.

Martinique never went out of style. In fact, it has a lot of substitutes but if you can afford the real thing, about US$359.95 for a single roll (68.58cm width x 457.2 cm length), then go for it. Today, CW Stockwell released an entirely new collection based on this design.

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Different Wallpaper Patterns

There are so many beautiful wallpapers out there. Yesterday I saw a video about PJ Linden, a female artist from New York, who handpaints wallpaper!

PJ linden handpainting wallpaper. Source: Art Insider

But there are two other wallpaper styles that I like, aside from Martinique of course. However, these would mean that the homes they are in would also need to be of different interior styles.

Tropical Style

Martinique would fit right in this tropical interior style.

Also something that fits the tropical look is this Indochine wallpaper that I saw in one of my trips. I loved it which is why I posed for a rare selfie. But I had designer Mirz change my head. Hahaha!

Another one which caught my eye was this one above. I was eating monggo soup in Via Mare Greenbelt 1. When I looked to my left, I saw this beautiful wall beside me. I am so sorry I forgot the name of the artist but I could go there one of these days again and make osyoso. Is it a painting? a print? I have no idea but I snapped a photo because it looked really nice to me. Imagine having cane chairs in front of this wall!

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I used to love black and white and had many clothes in this combination! But in the last few years I’ve been so drawn to pink, which is why it’s no surprise that this wallpaper with the palms appeals to me! So pretty in pink! Love those fabrics too with the toucans, parakeets and butterflies. Reminds me of my tropical vibes and kukur obsessions.

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Here’s another one which is in pink again! I couldn’t let this one pass too. So whimsical and playful with those bird cages hanging on the ceiling! You’d probably be able to find some in Dapitan. Don’t you just love those cane chairs! I don’t know if they are made of cane or plastic but they really look perfect in that space. Note the concrete wall on the staircase. It just adds to the textures. You can try our Konstrukt line to get that look. And hey, look at that herringbone wooden floor.

Classical Style

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A post shared by Jane Rockett (@rockettstgeorge) on

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A post shared by Jane Rockett (@rockettstgeorge) on

This wallpaper really reminds me of those 17th century still life oil paintings of Abraham Hendricksz van Beyeren, Ottmar Elliger, Hans Bollongier, Harmanus Uppink, and many other masters whose works can be found in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. I used to haunt that place for years. The dark background and light tones of the flowers were very attractive to me, not to mention the details of the flowers themselves. I can imagine someone wanting to use this kind of wallpaper in the home. However, this speaks more of a classical interior rather than a tropical one.

To Paint or to Paper?

So here we are back to the question asked in the first paragraph. My first reaction would always be TO PAINT, for the following reasons:

  • it’s easier to do
  • it’s cheaper
  • if you make a mistake, it’s easier to correct
  • or if you didn’t make a mistake but you want a new look, that’s really easy to do
  • unless you make patterned walls, it’s much easier to tie the room together with the wall colors and home furnishings

But as you can see from the above images, installing wallpaper can also make a room really look special. My only DIY experience with wallpaper was that I helped family friends take off the wallpaper in a house they bought. That was messy and exhausting. With putty knives and with a lot of elbow grease, we finally got the walls stripped then cleaned with soap and water. However, they also rented a steamer to loosen the adhesive in some stubborn areas. I tell you, it wasn’t easy work. Before a new wallpaper was installed, the wall had to be completely dry.

If you want to use wallpaper again instead of painting, prepare the surface properly to make sure that your new wallpaper stays up and is well installed with no bubbles, perfectly aligned, and perfectly glued.

I don’t know of any wallpaper experts here in Manila. I’m sure there are. Do ask around. If your wallpaper is not so expensive and has an easy pattern, I guess you could give it a try. Good luck!

Preparing a Wall for Wallpaper Installation

Just like in painting a wall, surface preparation before the wallpaper installation is equally important.

Damp is a major enemy of wallpaper so you have to make sure that your wall is dry and will stay that way. Here are the steps outlined by our technical guru:

  1. Prime bare surface first with Boysen Flat Latex then putty minor imperfections with Boysen Masonry Putty.
  2. Then apply a full coat of Boysen Acrylic Emulsion. This coating acts as a barrier against dampness on concrete walls.

Follow the instructions on the use of the products in the links.

Once your surface preparation is done, get that wallpaper up. Then do send us some photos of your spiffy walls!


Annie is the Managing Editor of Let it B | MyBoysen Blog. An unrepentant workaholic, she runs this blog and her own company Talking Lions (https://talkinglions.com). She thrives on collaborating with people who are good at what they do, and working together with them to create something special. Annie learned interior styling while managing her own wholesale business in the Netherlands, importing high-end, handmade home furnishings to stock four outlets and a showroom in the country.

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