“Fossil geometry” (detail)
Based on Eschschottzia Californica seeds collected by Mr W Reeves, April 1864.
From the collection of the Royal Microscopic Society.

UK sci-artist Heather Barnett has created a line of wallpapers using micrographs of cells, crystals, seeds, nanofibers, etc. They’d be particularly striking in a loft or other industrially inspired space – including a lab or a clinic waiting room. Come on, PIs, you can squeeze a wallpaper budget in your next grant application, can’t you?

“Fossil geometry” (repeat)

Check out more of Barnett’s biological wallpapers below the fold…





I think most of these fascinatingly detailed papers need a modern, strong-lined interior to balance them; have a look at the simulated interior shot on the splash page of Barnett’s website for a better idea of what these papers look like in a modern, streamlined room: very nice indeed!

On the other hand, they could also work in a sumptuous, heavily patterned Victorian parlor. Some of them were originally created for the Small Worlds exhibition (2007-08) at the UK’s Museum of the History of Science, where they smothered curtains and walls in rich rust and red damask:


So you can definitely work with these papers no matter what your tastes in home decor – you just need quirky taste, an accent wall, and the authority to apply wallpaper (which, tragically, we renters don’t have). The best part? Your non-sciencey guests will have no idea they’re looking at cells.

Browse and buy Heather Barnett’s wallpapers at


  1. #1 Esmeralda
    May 30, 2010

    You know, this reminds me a tad (in a good way) of spoonflower- the website where you can design your own fabric:
    That’s one of my designs- (I mean, it’s not really mine, it was drawn by Ernst Haeckel, I just fiddled with the colors and uploaded it) – there are others- I think Haeckel translates really well to fabric.
    But yeah- there are tons of sciency designs and some are rather remenicent of this, only it’s on fabric, not wallpaper.

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