As much as I love me some Cole & Son or Tres Tintas Barcelona wallpaper, I realize that not everyone (uh, including me) can blow $150 per roll for a beguiling backdrop of knobby trees or a Cy Twombly-esque tangle of black wire chairs.
That's why I was particularly struck by Sean Scherer's Catskills, N.Y. farmhouse, which was featured a couple weeks ago in the New York Times.
DIY wallpaper is nothing new, of course, but Scherer, a painter and curiosity shop owner, lends it a certain mastery. For this avian-inspired vignette, above, he papered the walls with pages from a "Birds of New York" folio. The birdcage sculpture is by Brazilian artist Vik Muniz.
In the farmhouse guest bedroom, above, Scherer created a backdrop using blank sheets from an old ledger. The side tables are Art Deco; the botanical print is Czech.
The walls and ceiling of the master bathroom are papered with Soviet propaganda posters and newspaper pages, bought in Moscow in 1989. The painting over the bathtub, inspired by Kasimir Malevich, is by Scherer.
When it comes to wallpaper on the cheap, newsprint is a good place to start. And you'll be doing the industry a favor, since kidnappers and ransom-note writers are the only people buying newspapers these days. Above, a bedroom by Ligne Roset.
If you're using your old Merriam-Webster's as a doorstop, why not tear it up and slap it on the wall? DIY magazine has a nice tutorial on how to pull it off.
Lucky ladies visiting the powder room of the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, above, are treated to Jenny Holzer's photocopy wallpaper.
You can't really go wrong with maps, either. Above, a guest bathroom at the acutely-hip Ace Hotel in Portland, Oregon.
A South Hampton bedroom designed by Steven Gambrel.
Karen Breen-Bondie kitted out her son's bedroom, above, with a map mural from Environmental Graphics. The bed, duvet cover, and desk chair are from Ikea.
A home featured in the Denver Post.
Interstate wallpaper at the World's Largest Truckstop in Walcott, Iowa. I have driven by this institution many times.
If you just can't be bothered and don't mind sacrificing some DIY cred, there's always Ralph Lauren's Great Harbor wallpaper, above.
Vintage Campbell's soup ads might be just the thing in the kitchen.
Old letters and diary entries do the trick, too. The more scandalous, the better!
Photo credits: Sean Scherer's farmhouse, Tony Cenicola, the New York Times; newspaper room, Ligne Roset; dictionary wallpaper, DIY magazine; Jenny Holzer wallpaper, Kevin Cooley, the New York Times; Ace Hotel, Apartment Therapy; Steven Gambrel bedroom, from his website; world map bedroom, Karen Breen-Bodie; Ralph Lauren wallpaper, Coastal Living; Denver Post and truckstop wallpaper, Apartment Therapy; Campbell's soup ads, Etsy; letter wallpaper, zedomax.com.