Images courtesy of Emma Hayes
Wallpaper designer extraordinaire Emma Hayes will make you want to put up wallpaper in every room of your house — and then some.
You don’t need to break out the paint to completely change the mood of a room—and Emma Hayes knows that well. The New Zealand-based artist and founder of Emma Hayes Textiles creates gorgeous wallpaper—which are made of sustainably sourced fibres and organic ink—and textiles suitable for any space in your house. She uses soft colours and watercolour designs to create pieces that inspire tranquillity and act as works of art in any room they reside.
We caught up with the designer when she was in Toronto to talk about her designs, her inspiration, her products (which are available exclusively in Canada at NewWall) and why you shouldn’t be afraid of wallpaper anymore.
How would you describe your design style?
It is quite tricky to give it a term. I guess I would consider it contemporary gestural.
“I’m quite heavily influenced by nature and New Zealand itself. This is kind of inspired by geological layers of sediment."
What kind of furniture styles work best with your designs?
I’m always surprised by how many different styles that it actually works well with. Generally, for our shoots, we use quite contemporary pieces, a lot of clean lines or pieces that are handcrafted in some way. But I have also seen interiors where it’s mixed with more ornate pieces, and it works very well.
“I like to start with something that’s perhaps layered in colour or quite busy and then disperses to something more plain.”
Are there any styles you wouldn’t expect to be paired with your designs?
More decorative pieces are not something I’d expect, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by.
Do you have a favourite design?
I keep getting new favourites! From our last set, Bloom was definitely a favourite. And now that I’m just releasing these new Sediment pieces, I’m in love with those and just the richness of colour in them.
“If you don’t want to commit to a full wall, you can frame wallpaper as an art piece. If you were renting or living somewhere temporary it’s a nice way to be able to take it with you.”
What advice do you have for someone who might be afraid of using wallpaper?
Don’t be scared! Wallpaper paste and products have come a long way. Previously, wallpaper was really difficult to remove and caused problems, whereas now that process is a lot more straightforward.
“[This is] designed to bring calm and peaceful to a room. I designed this after I had children and I was quite sleep-deprived…I think it came out quite subconsciously.”
Where do you begin when choosing a wallpaper that’s right for your home?
I think it’s important to consider the mood that you want to create in the room. So, if you’re maybe thinking about doing a feature wall in the master bedroom for example, you might want it to be a quite calming space or a children’s room could be a little bit more whimsical.
“Most of my designs start from hand-drawn or watercolour paintings and then I develop them from there. I just really love the way the ink bleeds and just the heavy accents that you get when working with water and ink.”
Which rooms do you see your wallpaper most commonly used in?
We tend to find that feature walls in master bedrooms or powder rooms are quite popular. A powder room is an area that you want to have a bit of fun with as well so it’s a nice surprise to have a beautiful wall.