Before you set about papering your next dollhouse, there are a few things you should know. Mini Land is pretty much bursting at the seams with different wallpaper choices. Some are OK. Some are downright awful. Here are some reasons you shouldn't use anything but Les Chinoiseries:
- Most wallpapers are comparatively thin. Even Les Chinoiseries' biggest competitor, Brodnax, has a very thin paper. This isn't optimal. Thinner papers a) are harder to attach smoothly, and b) tend to ruffle and pill. I, personally, don't care for Brodnax paper as I'm not impressed with either the quality of the paper or the quality of the printing. Les Chinoiseries wallpaper, on the other hand, stands up to a lot of abuse.
- Another reason you want a thicker paper is if you're planning on wiring your house. Wiring tape is extremely visible under poorer-quality papers. This is a primary consideration of mine in deciding whether or not to wire; if I can't find decent period-correct papers or other wall coverings, I don't.
- Les Chinoiseries' papers represent the most high quality printing available on the market today. Their colors are extremely rich and vibrant; their lines are extremely crisp. In comparison, many supposedly "expensive" papers have weak, bland colors and fuzzy lines.
- It's EXTREMELY challenging to find historically accurate wallpaper. I've toured a number of historic houses across America, and seen much of the original wallpaper on which Les Chinoiseries' designs are based. There's even one particularly fine example in my hometown. One aspect of historical colors, which modern designers, in their ignorance, often fail to reproduce is saturation. Real antique wallpaper--and fabric--started out life bright. Mostly, their current pastel hues are the result of fading. In larger homes especially, many rooms--such as the formal parlor--were used only at night, and, therefore, seen only by candle or lamplight. It was necessary to use bright colors, as even the brightest colors would appear soft and faded in dim light. This historical tidbit is extremely useful to know when it comes to designing your dollhouse. Most commercially available dollhouse lighting is weak, and, thus, the real life decorating problems of our ancestors are illuminating in solving those faced by us, as miniaturists, today. Bright, busy patterns might look bizarre under fluorescent light, but they'll make the best dollhouse rooms.
- The price is right. It might seem like a lot, compared to, say, the bargain grab bag at your local miniatures shop, but, believe me, you're getting your money's worth. I'd actually never had much of an opinion one way or the other about Les Chinoiseries, until I helped a friend wallpaper a house for her granddaughter. I was so impressed--I literally couldn't get over the difference in quality. I went home and threw all my other wallpaper out.
Do you have a company or product you really love? Really hate? Tell me about it!