To the Trade Only - Designer Wall Coverings

If you’ve ever researched designer wallpapers or wall coverings, your hopes were quickly dashed when you saw the words “to the trade only”.  It’s like some exclusive design club that won’t let you in the front door.  What does is mean and why do they do it?

To The Trade Only

High end fabric and wallpaper designers such as Schumacher, Thibault and Scalamandre are considered to the trade only – that’s the design trade, as in design professionals such as interior designers.  But what about the average customer who doesn’t want a full room makeover, but found just the perfect wallpaper.


First, make sure you can afford it – the high end designers are just that, high end in quality and in price, and their wallpaper can run easily over $100 per roll.  Interior design professionals do get a wholesale price and mark up the product from 20% - 40% to the homeowner.  That’s part of their pay, and that’s how they make a living, as do retailers.


Next, find a member of the trade to buy it for you, designers and design centers are loosening up on the trade only restrictions.  For example, the Pacific Design Center in California offers referrals to local interior decorators along with a purchasing service.  Their design services program allows an onsite professional to purchase up to five items on behalf of a shopper at the discounted price.  They then tack on a 25% charge to the individual.  They also offer design consultations in addition to their purchasing services.

There are also companies that specialize in providing consumers access to designer furnishings, wall coverings and fabrics.  They typically charge 20% over the wholesale designer cost, which is a huge change from the typical charges of an interior decorator with hourly fees and 20% - 40% markups.  Many online companies offer this service as well, and there are a variety that have popped up over the last few years.

Budget Option

Now, if you’re looking for just a little bit of fabric or one or two rolls of wallpaper and would love to add a high end designer product to your home, there is a budget option available.  When an interior designer completes a project, there are usually leftovers, and what happens to the leftovers?  Often they’re offered in the secondary market for very reasonable prices.  One lucky shopper we know was able to purchase 11 yards of Scalamandre velvet drapery fabric for just $100.  Not a bad deal, considering the fabric retailed at a whopping $195 per yard!