Plants are trending. Succulents crowd social media feeds and greenery dominates open-plan offices. The obsession with flora extends to America’s restaurant designers, who display plants not just in pots, but on the walls too.
The designers behind some the country’s most beautiful restaurants are using botanical wallpaper to transform their dining rooms. At these restaurants, bright tropical greenery, soft blooms, and, yes, succulents give wallpaper a good name. According to designers, plant-covered walls can make a bold statement, as in Hello Sailor’s cactus-filled entryway, or create transportive oases, as with ’50s-themed Leo’s Oyster Bar or Frenchie’s floral atrium.
Here are six restaurants across the country making good on the botanical wallpaper trend — and what to buy to bring the look home.
Bellecour, Wayzata, Minnesota
The focal point of one of the dining rooms at Bellecour, Gavin Kaysen’s Wayzata, Minnesota, restaurant, is a watercolor mural of brightly colored flowers, climbing vines, and birds. But it’s not as difficult to come by as the seemingly hand-painted design might suggest — it’s actually wallpaper that anyone can buy at Anthropologie.
Linda Kaysen, who led the design at the French-inspired restaurant and is also married to its chef, refers to the room as the “garden room” and says the wallpaper provided the perfect accent. “Our intention was to make the room feel like an extension to the patio,” she explains. “We love the whimsical feel of the wall panel and wanted to bring a sense of fun into the space.”
Shop it: Flora and fauna
Hello Sailor, Cornelius, North Carolina
Katy Kindred, one half of the husband-and-wife team behind Hello Sailor, said she was going for a “desert vibe” at the fish-focused Cornelius, North Carolina, restaurant she designed. “I went out looking for cactus paper, specifically,” she says. “I like how the watercolor is bold and punchy but still grown up.” The prickly-pear print Kindred ended up finding on Etsy covers an accent wall at the front of the restaurant. “I also really wanted to make a bold statement the moment you walk in the door. I think it stirs up a fun ‘That was unexpected’ thing out the gate,” Kindred adds.
Shop it: Cacti
Frenchie owner Sandrine Rossi wanted to create a peaceful atmosphere in the Boston wine bar’s dining room. Designer Cécile Thieulin, from Paris architecture firm Descombes & Thieulin, selected a dark floral wallpaper from Amsterdam-based Ellie Cashman Design for the back wall of the main dining room, which leads into an atrium overlooking a garden. The idea was “to make this room a blooming glass bubble overlooking the backyard,” Rossi says. “We wanted to attract our guests’ eyes to this urban green oasis, and the natural light of the atrium.”
Shop it: Dark, dramatic florals
Leo’s Oyster Bar, San Francisco
Tropical plants may not seem like the most natural pairing for oysters. But, according to Big Night Restaurant Group co-owner and managing partner Anna Weinberg, tropical wallpaper was the perfect choice for creating Leo’s Oyster Bar’s “Mad Men-meets-vintage, 1950s, Hawaiian design aesthetic.”
Big Night’s former creative director, Jake Mogelson, designed the custom wallpaper, which features large green palm fronds and bright pink flowers. Leo’s intends to eventually sell the design to diners who want to achieve that same retro-tropical vibe at home. “We designed Leo’s Oyster Bar to be transporting, there’s no question about it,” Weinberg says. “As soon as [they] walk into the bright, fern-filled entryway, we want guests to feel like they’ve stepped into an oasis from another era.”
Shop it: Tropical vibes
Grey Gardens, Toronto
Toronto restaurateur Jen Agg opted for a botanical mural at Grey Gardens to evoke the “elegant decay of the OG Grey Gardens while still feeling like a modern restaurant.” For the mural, artist Danielle Worrall painted palm fronds in gray, pale green, and sea-foam onto a nearly 40-foot wall that runs the length of the wine bar and restaurant. Agg collaborates frequently with Worrall and used her freehand mural as the starting point for the restaurant’s entire design. “The room just kinda grew from there, if you’ll forgive the awful pun,” Agg says.
Shop it: Pale, pastel foliage
Angel Face, Portland, Oregon
A hand-painted floral mural is also the focal point of the design at Angel Face. Giovanna Parolari, who opened the Portland cocktail bar with husband John Taboada, told interior design publication Remodelista that she intended for it to be a “a feminine counterbalance” to their essential Portland restaurant Navarre. The pink walls with hand-painted blue and turquoise flowers by artist Michael Paulus repeat in a near-symmetrical pattern to create a jewel box-like space.
Shop it: Graphic florals
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