We’re picking up where we left off with yesterday’s post with a related Design Vocabulary term today. Two Design Vocabulary terms in one week? That’s crazy talk! I know, but they are so closely related. I think if we are going to talk about embossed wallpaper, we should do it right. That’s just how I roll. (Does my “roll” pun in a post about wallpaper seem spontaneous? Let’s pretend it does.)

Image courtesy of Southern Living


We discussed the popularity of Lincrusta yesterday. It was so popular that a Lincrusta company employee, a Mr. Thomas J. Palmer, had an idea for advancing the technology. He took his idea to his boss, but Mr. Walton was not interested. So, Mr. Palmer took out his own patent and formed his own successful company in 1887.


The term “Anaglypta” is compiled from two Greek root words, “ana” meaning “raised” and “glypta” meaning “cameo”. The difference between Lincrusta and Mr. Palmer’s Anaglypta is its core materials. While Lincrusta is oil and wood flour formed hard onto canvas, Anaglypta is formed from wood pulp and cotton onto paper. This makes Anaglypta lighter in weight and more flexible to apply to a wall.

If you have ever lived in an old house, you are probably aware of the phenomenon of the house “settling”. Anaglypta has the same easy-to clean and easy-to paint qualities as Lincrusta, but its flexibility makes it more suitable to other, more complicated surfaces and their aging behaviors.

Image courtesy of

Historically, it is difficult to tell Anaglypta from Lincrusta just by looking at it or running your hand along the wall. However, the most commonly produced of the two for modern homes is Anaglypta. It is just easier to apply and maintain that the rigid Lincrusta.

Modern Styles and Sources

Most great wallpaper companies make their own version of anaglypta today. It can be very handy if you need to cover a poorly finished wall in an older home. It can be a great solution to adding some big impact to modern walls.

I’ve gathered together some great modern anaglypta below for some browsing fun for you today. Most of these images are going to be without color because they want you to imagine your own color over the top. We can daydream together…

This wallpaper is called “Jana” by Graham & Brown. (I am a huge fan of all things Graham & Brown.) I really like the modern geometry of this pattern. I would love to see this in a rich charcoal color.

This is “Curvy”, also by Graham & Brown. This photo is s great example of how paint can really personalize this wallpaper. If you eve get tired of the pink color, you can just paint right over it. I would love to use this wallpaper with a peacock blue-teal paint, because the pattern reminds me of the exotic eye pattern on peacock feathers.

This is “Small Squares” from Graham and Brown, which has an older feel to it and could be used many different ways. I would love to use this on a ceiling in a rich Spanish red leather type of color. Ooh, that would be so decadent to see as you walk into a room!

This is Graham & Brown’s “Large Damask” and I’m glad they’ve shown this paper in a bathroom setting. Wallpaper in a small, less-used room, like a powder room, is a great way to use pattern and texture without worrying about “getting tired of it”. I would love to paint this wallpaper in a deep sage green.

It’s the beadboard that is the anaglypta in this Graham & Brown picture. Much easier to install than real beadboard. I am always in favor of less sawdust to clean up after a decor project. Martha Stewart makes a version of this pattern for Home Depot, too.

Just in case you’re thinking, “I haven’t seen this type of wallpaper anywhere.”, let me assure you, it’s out there. Many companies now use the term “paintable wallpaper” to market these products. I guess “Anaglypta” requires a history explanation they don’t want to bother with, but now you are in the know. Here are links to full lines of “paintable wallpapers” at stores and sites you might already be familiar with:

Next time you find yourself in one of these stores, take a look at their anaglypta samples up close. Run your hands over them and see if you can see what you great grandparents loved about them. They are great wall coverings with a long history behind them.

Do you like them idea of textured wallpaper? Do you prefer an older style or something with a more mod print? Share your impressions with me…(I promise that’s the last embossed wallpaper pun for a while.)

Posted on August 3, 2011, in Design Vocabulary. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I like your idea of the peacock color to match the tail feather pattern. That would be very elegant.

    I like this. I have learned how new paint can change your mood, but I’ve always been a little intimidated by wallpaper. Either it’s too dark, too expensive, too difficult to do by yourself, or too corny, like my mom’s kitchen flower pattern when I was little. I love the idea of wallpaper you can paint, then repaint when you need to change the color.

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