Ask a design historian if wallpaper was used in period kitchens, and the answer will be, “It depends.” You’ll get the same response if you ask whether the idea is even practical. Wallpapered kitchens were rare before the electric era, for reasons that should be obvious. First, kitchens were historically smoky, greasy rooms that were kept spare and easy to clean. Then, people did not spend money decorating rooms not seen by guests.
Shelves may have been papered, or a butler’s pantry, or a breakfast room. There are other exceptions dating to Victorian times. Contrary to convention, wallpaper was more likely to be found in a rural or poor kitchen. During the pre-electric era, kitchens in wealthier homes were the province of servants. Urban kitchens often were kept out of sight, in the rear basement, to contain heat and smells and to provide easy access to deliveries. No one would have thought to wallpaper such rooms. In rural farmhouses, however, as in tenement apartments, the kitchen might well have been wallpapered with a design chosen by the housewife who spent time in the room.
Read the whole article here.