HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR SILK WALLCOVERING

Once you have decided to incorporate a silk wallcovering into your room scheme, you will discover that there are many ranges to compare, each with their own nuances and quirks. Without guidance, the decision-making process can be a little confusing, so we have put together some information that breaks down the main types of silk wallcoverings available, along with their key attributes. We’ve also noted which brands to investigate further based on your preference and a few ideas of where the different types work.

Hand dyed, hand-woven silk

Key attributes 

•    The finest quality silk made completely by hand.
•    Hand-dyed using traditional techniques.
•    Easy to customise colour and match to a colour sample.    

Important to know 

•    The beauty of the product is the hand-finishing which can leave subtle variations in colour that lead to a panelled effect.
•    Very delicate.
•    Not colour-fast.
•    Easily stained.

Brands to investigate
 
•    de Gournay
•    Fromental

Ideas of where to use

•    Your favourite room in the house!
•    As a background to opulent hand-painted de Gournay or Fromental creations.
•    Special areas such as a master bedroom or living room.
•    On headboards or in cupboard panels.

Machine-dyed and hand-woven or machine-woven silk    

Key attributes 

•    Fine quality and made by hand.
•    Luxurious finish at a more affordable price-point.
•    Increased uniformity of colour.  
 
Important to know 

•    Natural product, so you may still have a slightly panelled effect.
•    Delicate surface.
•    Easily stained.   

Brands to investigate

•    Phillip Jeffries
•    Stereo Interiors
•    Altfield

Ideas of where to use

•    Large spaces such as stairwells.
•    A medium-traffic room such as a study, dining room, or cinema room.    

Vinyl, silk-effect wallcoverings

Key attributes 

•    Standard colouring.
•    Practically seamless look.
•    Usually very hard-wearing.    

Important to know 

•    Does not offer a soft texture like genuine silk.
•    Always get samples to see the finish for yourself as quality can vary greatly.
•    Check on vertical surface as sheen is very different than when seen flat.

Brands to investigate

•    Élitis
•    Phillip Jeffries
•    Arte

Ideas of where to use

•    High-traffic areas such as a hallway.
•    High-moisture areas such as bathrooms or a pool room.
•    Households with young children.
•    Rooms that have strong sunlight (to avoid fading). 

Silk-look wallpapers

Key attributes 

•    Simplest and quickest to install.
•    Standard colouring.
•    Usually sold by roll instead of metre.

Important to know 

•    Check your sample on the wall to make sure you’re happy with the surface composition when vertical.
•    Perhaps not best for small rooms such as WCs where texture will be more apparent.  

Brands to investigate

•    Cole & Son
•    Zoffany

Ideas of where to use

•    Large rooms, especially with high ceilings, where visual effect is more important than texture.
•    Rooms you plan to redecorate regularly, such as children’s rooms or living rooms.

Installer’s tip:

“Make sure you have a thorough understanding of how the silk will look on your wall before you make your purchase as not all silk wallcoverings perform the same. If you choose a lesser-known brand then ask for references from previous clients so you can check that it looks as good when up, as it does in the sample book” - Michael Wells
 

Natalie Wells