Wallpaper came into vogue during the Renaissance, and it continued to be a popular adornment in the homes of middle-class Americans into the twentieth century. But over the past 40 years, wallpaper has been sent to the cultural margins, cropping up primarily in the houses of the elderly and the uber-hip.
Now, new LED-powered wallpaper might help bring the wall decor back in vogue for anyone who wants to give their room a little glow - and cut down on electricity bills. The technology is currently being developed by British company Lomox.
The wallpaper uses a chemical coating to produce a glow that mimics natural sunlight, without the glare of a conventional light bulb
. Like a traditional lighting source, the brightness of the paper can be controlled by a dimmer switch.
The coating uses LEDs, but the UK Times reports that it is two and a half times more efficient than energy-saving light bulbs
powered by the same technology. Although an electrical current will run through the paper, the company told the source that it would still be safe to the touch.
The government-backed Carbon Trust recently awarded Lomox a $720,000 (454,000 pounds) grant to help put the wallpaper on store shelves by the time the American incandescent light bulb ban takes effect in 2012. The wallpaper might offer homeowners an alternative to light bulbs since some consumers worry about the initial cost of energy-efficient bulbs.
Meanwhile, major lighting companies in the U.S. are committed to reducing the price of LED
chief executive Rick Leaman recently said his company will work towards a target price of $10 for an LED replacement "to justify the value of the product" by 2012.