Just like everything in design, wallpaper has gone in and out of style over the years. We’re currently seeing a resurgence of it again. It’s actually been quite popular for a few years but the trend towards colour and pattern is placing it at the top of the list for anyone who wants to create something unique in their home. It’s hard to say no to wallpaper because for every style preference there are hundreds, if not thousands of options. It’s also available in every colour imaginable.
There are some important things to understand about wallpaper before you buy so that you can get the most out of it. Most importantly, you’ll want to know what type of wallpaper you’re buying because they’re not all created equally.
WALLPAPER ISN’T ALL CREATED EQUALLY
Wallpaper was never regulated and because of that there isn’t any standard sizing. It’s entirely up to the manufacturer to decide exactly what size they want to offer. That’s the reason you’ll find different widths. You’ll also find roll sizes vary greatly and you should always check to see if it’s a single, double or even triple roll size.
Be sure to measure all of the walls to which you’ll be applying wallpaper. You want to know the length and height of the wall. Now plug those numbers into a wallpaper calculator to get the suggested number of rolls. Try to stick with the calculator used by the company you’re purchasing from because this will ensure the roll sizes are factored into your calculations.
And don’t forget to order a bit extra in case you make some mistakes cutting.
WALLPAPER MATERIAL OPTIONS
SOURCE: York Wallcovering
The original material used for wallpaper was just plain old paper and it’s still used today. It tends to be used by luxury manufacturers and is the most expensive option. The reason it’s so desirable is that you can get a perfectly matte finish which is the gold standard for papers. Many papers that come from European countries are made of paper.
Paper backing requires a glue adhesive because it’s unpasted. You definitely need a professional wallpaper installer for this type of paper. It’s also very difficult to remove and will come off in small pieces as opposed to in long strips. You’ll need to spray the paper with a wallpaper remover and work it off slowly with a trowel.
SOURCE: Good And Craft Design
This is similar to the look and feel of paper and it also gives you a nice, matte finish. It’s a combination of natural fibres and usually has a little bit of vinyl. You can find non-woven papers without any vinyl but that’s more rare. There’s a non-woven backing on these papers that will almost always require a glue adhesive.
This is the most durable and often the most economic option. People like this option because the vinyl makes it easy to clean and maintain. It’s really good for entryways, kitchens and kids bedrooms. You have to be cautious and spend time looking carefully at vinyl papers before you buy anything. These tend to look cheap if they’re not well manufactured so be sure you see a sample before purchasing anything.
A major benefit of vinyl wallpaper is that it’s easy to remove. You’ll tend to see it come off in long strips (so rewarding!). There can be a big mess when removing wallpaper so give yourself space and time.
You definitely can’t assume anything and you don’t want to make the mistake of buying the wrong type of paper. When wallpaper is hung incorrectly it will end up in a big pile on your floor. Always flip the paper over and see its specifications listed on the back.
Within the vinyl category there are 3 subcategories:
100% Solid Vinyl – this is the least expensive option but it’s also the easiest to clean. It’s a good option for rooms that have moisture because it’s hard for water to penetrate vinyl. This one is going to have the most gloss of all wallpaper options.
Vinyl Coated – this is the least readily available option but you do find it occasionally. This has a paper backing that has been sprayed with vinyl
Fabric Back Vinyl– this type of paper is usually used in commercial settings because it’s the strongest and most durable wallpaper. It can take a beating so it works well for busy environments.
SOURCE: Studio Ashby
Regardless of what’s happening with the trends, this type of paper will never go out of style. It’s a classic look and is heavy on texture. It’s perfect for any design style and can work in any environment. It gives any space an instant feeling of luxury and timelessness.
Something to know before you purchase grasscloth is that there will always be visible seams. It doesn’t matter how great your wallpaper installer is. The natural fibres in the paper make it impossible to hide the seams. It requires wallpaper glue so this is another paper you want to leave to the professionals.
WHERE TO USE WALLPAPER IN YOUR HOME
SOURCE: House of Four Design
There really aren’t any off-limits areas when it comes to wallpaper. It’s more important that you use the correct type as opposed to avoiding it altogether. There are however some areas that you should proceed with caution.
LOW TRAFFIC AREAS
Unless you’re using solid vinyl wallpaper be careful in high traffic areas like an entryway, hallway and even a family room. This is particularly true if you live in a snowy or rainy environment where the weather will be brought indoors. You don’t want snowy boots sitting up against your expensive paper wallpaper. You might just come back and find parts of it lying on the floor.
LOW MOISTURE AREAS
Low moisture areas are all safe spaces for installing wallpaper. You don’t want to spend the money and time to install a beautiful wallpaper to find water stains that have damaged it in the kitchen or bathroom. If you do want to use it in those areas, opt for something with a lot of vinyl.
Believe it or not, wallpaper looks amazing on a ceiling. It’s an extremely tricky job so don’t try and DIY this. Hire a professional who has tackled this before and expect to pay a premium for this back breaking work.
I bet you’ve never considered adding wallpaper to a door before but why not? This can be a great trick for rooms where you have flat panel doors that you hate but you don’t want to replace the doors. Even renters can get in on this action by using peel and stick wallpaper that can be removed before they move.
Regardless of the architecture of your home or your design style, wallpaper can be a gorgeous addition to your home. If you need help with an upcoming renovation or just some advice on wallpaper, reach out and let’s talk.
If you know your design style but you struggle with which paint to use, take a look at my Made-For-You paint palettes. They take the guesswork out and give you the confidence to get started.