The New Expressionists

The debut wallpaper line from sustainable paint maker backdrop captures the breakout brand’s energy in artful patterns.

By Robin Wise

The motifs in the first wallpaper collection from Los Angeles–based paint brand Backdrop appear summoned from thin air by an artist’s hand in a single prolific sitting. The new line was adapted from a series of original artworks, yet its painterly character and tonal sophistication were carefully evolved over the past year by cofounders Natalie and Caleb Ebel with their in house design team to “bring the power of color and pattern together.” The husband and wife duo—Caleb mastered direct-to-consumer strategy at Warby Parker, while Natalie specializes in marketing, design, and color theory—launched the industry’s first 100 percent online, certified climate-neutral purveyor of premium wall paint in 2018. “We set out to reimagine the category from start to finish with expertly curated, low-VOC paint in recyclable cans shipped right to people’s doorstep,” shares Caleb.
Acquired by iconic design house Schumacher in 2021, Backdrop is now bringing its fresh perspective to wallpaper. The new five-pattern collection, digitally printed onto fine-textured paper in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, celebrates organic geometry and is a perfect example of the brand’s sensibility, a playful yet sophisticated deployment of color and pattern.

Nods to classical architecture, significant cultural movements, and nature-inspired color schemes are plentiful. The curvy stripe of 1975 is a good example, its bold wavelike pattern pulsing with a hand-painted feel. Bloomsbury—a loose matrix of nested arches—takes inspiration from the Georgian architecture of its namesake London neighborhood. And the botanical White Lotus is enlivened by rough-hewn silhouettes of layered foliage.

Nods to classical architecture, significant cultural movements, and nature-inspired color schemes are plentiful.

The company’s human-centered approach extends beyond its joyful aesthetic and commitment to sustainable design. Backdrop has an ongoing partnership with International Rescue Committee, the humanitarian aid organization whose global efforts include emergency assistance to Ukraine. “Every purchase supports families who’ve been displaced from their homes,” says Natalie. To learn more and to join the effort, visit 

Backdrop is available at the SFDC through Schumacher

Two Henry Adams Street, Suite 2M-33
San Francisco, CA 94103