When we were growing up, cork walls in kids' rooms were all the rage.
Our folks glued huge sheets of thin cork onto a wall in our bedroom, painted it to blend in with the rest of the room, and set us free to decorate as we chose.
At one stage we used the cork wall to show off a collection of horrendously sentimental baby animal posters obtained through the Scholastic Book Service. Much later the wall was put to a more utilitarian use as the home of a giant world map/travelogue. Push pins indicated places we'd been or wanted to go (mostly the latter).
A a result of the cork board, we internalized the idea that displays of art at home should be personal and informal, and that they should be able to be changed on a whim.
So we're intrigued by the products of British company Magscapes: interactive wallpaper and coordinated magnet sets. Designer Patricia Adler says, "I have been exploring ways in which wall space may be used for spontaneous creative expression – seeing it as a canvas for anyone's latent-artist."
Magscapes is actually a combination of magnetic wallpaper and laser-cut magnets that you use to create infinitely customizable and changeable wall murals and patterns.
There are currently three sets of wallpapers and three sets of magnets available, though you can mix things up by swapping in a different wallpaper choice.
The combinations are inspired and slightly surreal: frogs leaping on a William Morris-inspired field of flowers, a gold Eiffel Tower silhouetted against a Mondrian-like grid. The unexpected element here is that the graphic combinations wind up being quite sophisticated, though like our cork walls, some of that is up to the decorator. At any rate, they deinitely keep decor-ennui at bay - and not just the kids'.
The site explains that the wallpaper can also store CDs, so it looks like the utilitarian comes into play here as well.
With cross-Atlantic shipping a necessity, Magscapes are not cheap: a roll of the special magnetic wallapaper costs $123, and a set of magnets about $95. Sample packs are available for about $13, and shipping (for all three) would add another $65.