|William Morris Pomegranate wallpaper|
Does it still count as vintage or retro if it's actually Victorian? Well, I think the whole Arts and Crafts movement style was a precursor to some of the later styles that I love, all about warmth and functionality, somehow natural and stylised at the same time. I'm not usually a fan of elaborate, busy designs, but this is different somehow – very organic and flowing, and using muted colours that would flatter vintage furnishings.
William Morris designs are influenced by medieval art, which I think is obvious when you look at them. The Pomegranate wallpaper could be a woodcut from an early Bible or something. The emphasis on tapestry and stained glass is also quite medieval, and it's easy to see similarities in the ways all three mediums were used – maybe that explains why the wallpapers look so rich and decadent.
These pictures are all from a wallpaper sampler that was donated to the Brooklyn Museum, who kindly uploaded all the designs to Wikimedia Commons so we can all enjoy them/lust after them. I think Pomegranate (a.k.a Fruit) is my favourite, although you'd have to use it sparingly. The Willow Boughs wallpaper is also incredible, but doesn't have those lovely hints of orange and yellow.
Fortunately, it seems Morris & Co – the interiors firm the great man set up in 1861 – and its designs were bought out by another company, which still sells rolls of Pomegranate wallpaper. Something else to add to my list of things to save up for.