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Ever dreamed of having a beautiful wallpapered space but nervous about where to start? Wondering if wallpaper is right for your home? Learn about the different types, application, and materials plus how to pick a classic and aesthetic wallpaper that will last with changing trends.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
What is Wallpaper?
Wallpaper is paper (vinyl, grass cloth, fabric) that is applied to walls in vertical strips to provide a decorative feature or texture to a wall, or sometimes ceiling. There are many different application types, materials, features to consider, and pattern matches. Keep reading to learn more about this.
The Different Materials
The colours show up well on paper wallpaper but be aware of tearing when applying as well as scratching.
Vinyl is one of the most common types because it is easy to install and remove. It is the best choice if you are installing in a damp area, and often comes pre-pasted.
Made from natural materials/fibers and don’t usually require any matching when installing. This makes it easier to install.
Fabric is considered one of the highest quality but it is hard to hang because of it. It doesn’t usually come pre-pasted and care should be used when applying and smoothing out bubbles.
Features to Consider
When you are choosing wallpaper there are few important things that you should take into consideration. The first is dependent on where you are planning to install it in a bathroom or kitchen backsplash – if that is the case, you should consider if the wallpaper is moisture resistant. The next is if it is washable, a very important thing if you have children. If the wallpaper is washable, it will make it easier to wipe away any messes. Finally, is the wallpaper paintable? Paintable wallpaper is thicker with raised detail to give added texture. It can cover a damaged wall and easily painted in a colour to suit your personal style.
This type does not come with a prepared adhesive, you need to purchase a paste and apply it to the wall (what I prefer) or apply it to the back of the paper before applying it to the wall. It is suggested that this method lasts the longest.
With pre-pasted, all you need to do is add water to the wallpaper and it’s ready to apply. Read the directions from the manufacturer for full details. It is quick and easy, but some suggest it does not last as long as others.
This type of wallpaper acts like a big sticker. Remove the backing and apply to the wall. Its often easy to remove and replace.
What is my personal preference? While I know many prefer pre-pasted, I truthfully prefer installing non-pasted. I like buying prepared wallpaper paste and applying it to the wall, I feel like I have more control. When I have used pre-pasted wallpaper, I had to soak it in water prior to install it and it meant that excess water and paste got on me and the surrounding ground. From my experience, the more expensive wallpaper brands use non-pasted and have a more luxurious look and feel to them.
Wallpaper Pattern Match
This is best for beginners because it doesn’t need to be lined up and can be hung regardless of the pattern.
This type of wallpaper is a little harder to install because the paper needs to be lined up vertically on the wall. For example, each strip needs to be lined up at the edge of the ceiling.
This wallpaper drop is usually for more intricate patterns/designs. They require vertical and horizontal pattern match.
How to Choose a Classic Style
Love the idea but worried about how to choose a classic and aesthetic wallpaper that you won’t grow tired of? Take a little bit of time to research to learn what patterns you like and are drawn to. Some iconic brands include William Morris (Morris & Co.), Graham & Brown, or visit the Wallpaper Direct website for some more inspiration and historic/designer brands. When you take inspiration from these iconic brands that have been around for over 100 years, you know that their styles will be in fashion/on trend for a long time. Also, when you pick something more subtle and neutral vesus bold, I tend to believe it is a safer choice. Personally, I know I am more likely to bore of a bold print much faster than something subtle. I love to pick floral pattern wallpapers with softer colours. See some of my favourites below.
The best place to start is usually at the corner, ideally on a wall without doors and windows. Then you should be able to hang a full length of wallpaper from ceiling to the top of the baseboard.
The most popular types of wallpaper are pre-pasted vinyl wallpaper because they have an easy application and are resistant to tears.
If you are using non-pasted wallpaper, yes you need to paste the wall with an adhesive prior to hanging the wallpaper. Work in small sections or the adhesive will dry. Alternatively, some prefer to paste the wallpaper strips themselves rather than the wall.
Ensure the wall is smooth (fill any holes and sand the patches), clean the walls, apply primer to seal the walls. If your walls are already smooth, wipe down the walls with a damp cloth 24 hours prior to installing.