Designer Insights: John Paul Valverde & Miguel Vicens, Partners, Creative Directors, Coeval Studio

The big picture. Too often, when people think of wallcoverings they only think of wallpaper. We think about the category in a bigger way. It might be wallpaper, but it can also be a finish or a material like a veneer, or graphics, or tile, or a custom-printed vinyl that reinforces the brand. You can even find a lot of great natural materials like paper-thin wood that you install like wallpaper.

Instagram and ROI: That being said, we do use a lot of wallpaper in different ways, sometimes to make a big impact or energize a space and sometimes to soften a space. A great thing about wallpaper, too, is that it’s a really easy way to transform a room without blowing a crazy budget. The main goal is always to create the right ambience and those social moments that people want to be in, take pictures of and share. But in restaurant design, it also has to be all about ROI. You can go in and cover all the walls with high-end finishes and custom products, but for many projects, especially independent restaurants, that’s just not realistic or smart.

Strategies: Stating the obvious, but always use commercial-grade, wipeable wallcoverings for restaurant projects and/or make sure you know what it’s going to take to keep them looking good. And think about traffic. You probably don’t want higher end wallpapers in very high-traffic areas, service areas or even on hard corners that are likely to get bumped and brushed up against routinely. Opt instead for some of the more durable finishes that you know won’t get chewed up. A lot of times we’ll use wallpapers on higher accent walls, or on the upper portion of walls with painted wood wainscot below it. It helps to protect it from contact, but also adds another layer to the design.

Snapshot: We’re just opening the second unit of a restaurant in Dallas called El Bolero. We did a cactus wallpaper installation. It’s a really beautiful, bold, clean pattern that’s picked up again in a mosaic tile installation around the kitchen expo window. We wanted to mimic the pattern in the wallpaper so the green is an element from all angles inside the restaurant. And we did another wallpaper installation there that has more florals in it, which is a nice soft element. Together, they help to create a really fun space. For another project, Vidorra, we used a local illustrator and did a really great mural there at the entry and across from the bar. It really complements the space and people take a lot of pictures of it. That’s a painted mural, but in the same space we also use a moss wallcovering. It’s dead moss, but it doesn’t look dead. It’s a natural material that adds a unique look.

wall ceiling aimee wilderFun with Fungi

Mushroom City, a trippy wallpaper pattern from Aimee Wilder, unifies the natural and man-made worlds by reflecting a cityscape in the featured fungi’s fluctuating heights. Screen-printed by hand on FSC-certified, clay-coated paper, it’s also available on contract vinyl and in a variety of color combinations. Single rolls measure 27 inches by 5 yards, pre-trimmed; sheets measure 27 by 36 inches.

Aimee Wilder

wall ceiling nemoMoroccan-Inspired Porcelain

Aster is a collection of Encaustic and Moroccan-inspired porcelain tiles available in three colorways, Classic, Black and White. Each colorway is available in five individual patterns, as well as nine mixed patterns. The muted, washed-out tones of the Classic line lend a sense of aged elegance to a space. The Black and White patterns provide contrast for a more modern aesthetic. The Colors line, featuring blue and yellow tones, offers a soft brightness and is influenced by Moroccan and Spanish design. The collection comes in 8-by-8-inch square tiles reminiscent of cement tile. Intersperse its geometric patterns with any of the line’s four solid colors for additional variety.

Nemo Tile

wall ceiling pulp artDie-Cut Pattern Panels

PAS010 “Avant” Anaglypta panels from Pulp Art Surfaces are made from 100 percent recycled material. Suitable for walls and ceilings, the panels can be finished with UV digital printing and can be painted to suit any color scheme. Each sheet weighs 7 pounds and measures 347/8 inches by 697/8 inches.

Pulp Art Surfaces LLC

wall ceiling armstrongAcoustic Ceiling Panels

Armstrong’s InvisAcoustics ceiling panels attach to the deck of an exposed structure space, allowing them to provide acoustical absorption while virtually disappearing in the ceiling. The panels have a noise reduction coefficient (NRC) of 0.75. The panels measure 2 feet by 4 feet and are available in white, tech black and field paintable. The paintable panels have an unfinished, factory-applied scrim that can be painted to match the deck while still maintaining their acoustical and fire-resistant properties.

Armstrong Ceilings

wall ceiling vercadeFashionable Planks & Tiles

Verçade Wall Fashion offers visual designs in vinyl composite planks and tiles. The three-dimensional, ultra-textured wall products — 6-by-48-inch planks and 12-by-24-inch tiles — feature natural stone and hardwood designs.

Verçade Wall Fashion

wall ceiling atiCustom Decorative Surfacing

ATI Decorative Laminates’ Fusion program allows for the combination of art or graphics with an array of suitable substrates. Designers can choose custom or stock imagery from the manufacturer’s Idea Library or supply their own art to be combined with the various surfaces. Fusion allows restaurant designers to create a custom surfacing solution for use as wall protection, large-scale murals, wall dividers, custom millwork or a point-of-purchase display in addition to wall art. More than a dozen options are available for high-traffic restaurant interiors.

ATI Decorative Laminates

wall ceiling artaicThe Shape of Water

Emulsion, part of Artaic’s signature SPLASH! Collection of fluid-inspired mosaics, creates a marbled mural with a mixed color palette that translates into any hospitality or restaurant space. Each mosaic is custom made to reduce waste.


wall ceiling surfacing solutionWood Veneer Wall Panels

Tambour panels — flexible solid wood and real wood veneers — are suitable for use on walls, bar fronts, wainscot, bar kicks, columns and more. All Tambour panels can curve in or around a solid backing. Class A fire-rated varnish is available. The new modern triangular profile is available in red oak, white oak, maple, walnut, alder, cherry, and more. Brushed veneers such as red oak, white oak, white ash, and teak are available, too.


wall ceiling innovationsModern Nostalgia

Inspired by a personal photo, the unfilled stone tile pattern evokes nostalgia. Its implied texture comes in a fabric-faced Type II vinyl construction with a usable large-scale repeat: 72 inches high and 50 inches wide (54 untrimmed). Ashlar’s four colorways, underlain with metallics, have the potential to bring you to a specific place in time.


wall ceiling crossvilleVibrant Glass Mosaics

Crossville’s Convergence glass mosaic tile collection provides the appearance of end-grain woods awash in eight colors and cast in polished glass. The 4x4-inch mosaics are mesh-mounted on 12x12-inch sheets. Use this tile to create unique designs on interior walls and in wet or dry applications.

Crossville Inc.

wall ceiling ege seramikVintage, Urban Allure

Ege Seramik’s new Ethnic Collection is available in one standard-size 4-by-8-inch porcelain tiles. The field tiles have 15 different faces and 9 different deco designs that come mixed in the same box. The collection is available in classic gray, beige and brown colors with the decorative pieces available in one complementary style for all three colors.

Ege Seramik