You’ll be hard pressed to find a home décor topic more divided than the question of wallpaper. This wall covering saw a period of great popularity in the 1980s and 1990s, when the styles included busy patterns, bright colors, and intricate detail that quickly became dated and unfashionable. Today, wallpaper is once again gaining a surge of popularity, but with colors more muted, and patterns more subdued than their previous period of popularity 20-30 years ago.
Choosing wallpaper for your home isn’t a choice to be taken lightly. After all, if you buy a paint you dislike, painting over it is (usually) not a big deal, but removing wallpaper is a tedious job. Does this mean you shouldn’t choose wallpaper for your home décor project? Certainly not – you’ll be able to do things with texture and patterns that are impossible (or at least very difficult) with paint. There are just a few steps you’ll want to take when choosing a wallpaper for your home to ensure you end up with a wall covering you’ll enjoy for the product’s lifetime.
Types of Wallpaper
Wallpaper is more than just rolls of paper with gaudy patterns today, and you should be familiar with some of the common wallpaper types before you start shopping.
Standard wallpaper is inexpensive and easy to apply, though you should take care not to tear the paper while applying. This is what most people think of when we say “wallpaper.” It’s typically colorfast, which means it won’t fade in the sun.
Vinyl coated wallpaper and solid sheet vinyl varieties are usually used in kitchens or restrooms, because this durable wall covering can be easily cleaned by wiping it off with a damp sponge or rag. The solid sheet vinyl is more rugged, and should be chosen for places where it’s likely to endure a bit of punishment.
Finally, mylar and cloth-covered wallpaper will allow you to experiment with finishes and textures difficult to achieve otherwise. Mylar’s intense shine makes it great for smaller areas, but it can be overwhelming in large amounts. Other papers are available covered in grass, hemp, and other woven fabrics for a hint of luxurious texture.
Patterns, Patterns Everywhere
Choosing a pattern will determine the effect the wallpaper has on the room. Horizontal patterns have a tendency to make a room seem wider and less tall, while vertical ones do the opposite. Large, expansive patterns can overwhelm furnishings and make a small room seem smaller. Similarly, overly busy patterns work best in small spaces, as in large rooms the patterns are lost, or at worst, headache-inducing.
Try Before You Buy
When choosing a wallpaper for your home, it’s considered a best practice to order samples first. When they arrive, use regular old office tape to affix the samples loosely to the walls you’re thinking of covering, and live with them for a few days. This will enable you to experience the wallpaper in place before you suffer the expense and effort of installing 20 rolls of wallpaper you may end up hating.
We hope this guide helps you as you begin the process of choosing a wallpaper for your home!