Mad About … Anaglypta Wallpaper

Sit down and take a deep breath because it’s true; textured wallpaper is making a comeback.

navy blue anaglypta wallpaper painted navy blue from rockett st george
alfred navy blue anaglypta wallpaper

Galling when I think I painstakingly stripped off about nine layers of the stuff in my last house less than ten years ago but that was then. Now it’s back and before you realise you’ll all be at it.

anaglypta comes in white ready to be painted in any colour

Shall I tell you how we know this? Because firstly when the editor of Elle Decoration is tweeting pictures of her renovation and talking about her painted textured wallpaper (a sort of neon yellow since you ask) and secondly when uber cool interiors store Rockett St George starts stocking it then you might as well give in now. You know it’s coming.

Derby image flat
Derby anaglypta from rockett st george

The key is that this time it’s not painted magnolia but in the above mentioned neons, or moody blacks and charcoals or (tip for the next big colour) shades of navy. Or even sprayed in metallic tints like copper or silver.

anaglypta gold and silver
deco paradiso in silver from rockett st george and gold lincrusta

Jane Rockett said: “We love this wallpaper and think Anaglypta is due a revival.”

Now that’s probably all she needs to say to make it happen, but she did expand a little: “It’s stunning paper and when painted it can bring subtle pattern, depth and warmth to a room.

“We were inspired by the BBC TV series ‘Peaky Blinders’, where we saw the pub walls adorned in gold painted anaglypta – It looked amazing. Since launching  our edit of Anagylpta in November last year we have seen sales soar – the most popular is Alfred.

embossed wall panels by Ganna Studio

“As the paper comes in white you are able to personalise with your favourite paint colour, which makes it so popular with our customers. We would opt for a dark and sumptuous palettes with a matt finish to create drama; such as the Night Jewel Range from Dulux or try Stiffkey Blue by Farrow & Ball to add richness.”

lincrusta textured wallpaper from  wallpaper direct
lincrusta textured wallpaper from wallpaper direct

Anaglypta is one of the best known and oldest wallpaper brands – now in its 126th year. It was traditionally used to reinforce walls and ceilings and crucially to disguise imperfections while allowing the walls to breathe.

cesar textured wallpaper from
cesar textured wallpaper from

It fell out of favour in recent years as I think it didn’t occur to people to paint it funky colours so it became associated with neglected houses that were in need of a refurbishment.

embossed paper cesar from
embossed paper cesar from

Andrew Simpson, the managing director of Anaglypta, said: “We are seeing a resurgence of interest in what I would loosely describe as traditional Anaglypta patterns, especially those we manufacture on traditional papers and textile reinforced papers – these products combine design heritage with integrity of material in terms of durability and sustainability.

painted embossed wallpaper via Inge Zelewitz on pinterest
painted embossed wallpaper via Inge Zelewitz on pinterest

“For years the paintable textured wallpaper market has been dominated by easy to use, generic textured ‘blown vinyl’, piled high and sold cheaply – but have little design merit or integrity in terms of durability or sustainability – products such as these are in decline.”

navy painted embossed wallpaper from
navy painted embossed wallpaper from

While we’re on the subject we might as well clear up the difference between Anaglypta and Lincrusta, both of which – to the untrained eye (mine) – seem to be the same thing. But Anaglypta is paper based, can be applied normally with paste but Lincrusta is made with flax you have to soak it before use.

navy blue painted wallpaper by
navy blue painted wallpaper by

The traditional application was to put Lincrusta below a dado rail – as it would get heavier abuse from hands, boots, furniture etc and Anaglypta above.

So there you have it. Anaglypta, who’d a thought it? What do you think? I love that navy blue in the image above.

Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. I am looking to use anaglyptic wallpaper to cover a ceramic tile backsplash in our kitchen remodel. Any tips or tricks(especially regarding application of paper over ceramic and waterproofing) would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Hi We have a 1915 house with a worse for wear anaglyota ceiling over lat and plaster .i am looking at sticking hits back up with wallpaper paste and the. Spraying it all with either a copper or a silver plasticky spray I’ve seen it in gold in a local bar and it is wow

    Only thing is I don’t want to mess up and would like some advice if anyone has any experience

    I personally feel that the grey will soon be yesterday’s colour

    1. It’s a great idea but don’t use spray paint. Spraying paint is not easy especially overhead. It is dangerous to do without the proper Health & Safety equipment and if you are using rattle-cans you will not believe how many cans you would go through!!
      You can buy fabulous metallic paints, Modern Masters does a great range. Paint the ceiling a dark colour first, metallic covers better over dark colours. Roll randomly so you don’t get lap lines. Personally, I would then do an antiquing glaze over the top but I am a Decorative Painter so that would be easy for me.
      I also feel grey is yesterday’s colour!!

  3. Hi could you help me I have magnolia walls on anaglypta wall papers and I want to give it a shine wot would you recommend

    1. If you want a shine then you’ll need to use a gloss paint but actually anaglypta looks more modern in a flat non shine paint in a modern colour like grey.

  4. I considered Anaglypta for my old bedroom a few years ago. Everyone said I was mad. How wrong were they????? I love it although some designs are dodgy and have a whiff of hideous wood chip – been there too!

    I want to dress a photographic back drop with Anaglpta, and plan to create a (light grey) distressed look – do you think I can achieve this without spoiling “Alfred”.

  5. Anaglypta -difficult to strip? We don’t agree.

    Anaglypta wallpaper is available on different substrates, to meet different requirements, but they are all paper based and should be no more challenging to strip than any other type of wallpaper, in fact Anaglypta Luxury Vinyl is peelable – leaving only a thin paper layer to strip and Anaglypta Armadillo Contract is ‘dry-strippable’. So, why is there a misconception that Anaglypta is hard to strip – one reason is that it is so durable that in some applications it ends up being painted 10 or more times which means when it comes to stripping, the surface will be resistant to steam, yet simply scoring the surface will overcome this problem. So when people say its hard to strip, they are forgetting how long it has lasted, which is a little bit unfair – its a bit like complaining that your Volvo has lasted 25 years and should have fallen to bits after 5.

  6. Lincrusta is gorgeous, in a completely different league to Anaglypta. I have painted and glazed Anaglypta and it can look good. It’s great if you have damaged plaster but I’d always prefer to float out the walls and make them good. It’s all great until you have to strip it off!!!!!

  7. Wow, as you say, who’d a thought it?! Anaglypta is inextricably linked in my mind with that other wallpaper nightmare, wood chip, memories of my parents house with one or both in every room …. But I don’t remember these fabulous patterns, just random uninspiring swirls. So these are a very pleasant surprise, and I love Derby in that moody blue.

  8. Love, love, love it!!! Those panels from Ganna Studio are so stunning and the embossed paper from Studio Brinsen looks amazing in the dark blue. I really need my own house… 🙂

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