How to choose the right wallpaper

How to choose the right wallpaper

Wallpaper can really bring a room to life and make a bold, eye catching statement.  Gone are the days of difficult to apply, dull wallpapers, there is now a wide range of wallpaper types and finishes available.  So how do you choose the right wallpaper?

What is the best type of wallpaper?

The right type of wallpaper depends on where in the house you will hang it and what finish you would like.

Vinyl is the most common type of wallpaper, as it is highly durable and non-absorbent. Scratch and tear resistant, it is ideal for a busy family home.  Any wipeable wallpapers are a good idea, especially in areas like the hallway, living room and stairs where hands may be on the walls often.  Check the wallpaper rating, which ranges from spongeable to highly scrubbable, as a guide.

How to choose the right wallpaperAnother common type is printed, which is available in many different patterns and colours.  It is more delicate than vinyl and not suitable for humid areas.

Foil wallpaper gives a metallic effect; it is reflective so needs a very smooth surface underneath, or it will highlight any defects.

Flock wallpaper has a raised pattern of soft, velvet like material on it.  This is not washable and therefore more suited to adult bedrooms and areas that are not in constant use in the home.

Removable wallpaper is also available, which comes with a peel-off backing.  It does not generally have the lifespan of more traditional, high quality wallpaper, but  if you like to change style frequently it has the advantage of being easier to remove.

Some rooms in the house need to have specific types of wallpaper.  The bathroom, as it is a damp environment, will need either a vinyl type that is water resistant or a foil wallpaper. The surface of the paper will repel water, which is essential in splash areas, like around the sink.  For an extra layer of protection, apply a coat of clear matt varnish over the top.  If you want wallpaper inside the shower area as well, there is a special type available now.  For the kitchen, a hard-wearing vinyl finish is the best as it will be water resistant and wipe clean.

If you are not re-plastering your walls, consider using a liner paper under the wallpaper, to get the best possible finish on your walls.  This is essential if you are using foil wallpaper, to make the walls as smooth as possible.

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Do I need paste to apply it?

Some wallpaper needs paste applied to it, or the wall, and some comes pre-pasted.  The type that is pre-pasted justHow to choose the right wallpaper needs moisture applied, or a pre paste activator, before you hang it.  This is the easiest to apply.

If a wallpaper is not pre-pasted then you need to apply paste to either the wall, or for the traditional type, to the paper itself.  You will need to use a pasting table to brush the paste onto the back of the paper.

Make sure that you are choosing the right paste for the wallpaper you have chosen, read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.  There are some all-purpose pastes which will be suitable for light and medium weight papers, but heavier ones (like embossed wallpaper) will need a heavy duty paste.

It’s always a good idea to get the experts in, to make sure that the wallpaper is hung perfectly, and save yourself a big job!

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How about colours and patterns?

How to choose the right wallpaperWallpaper is a great way to bring in colours and patterns without overwhelming a room.  Accent walls work perfectly for pops of vibrancy and the ceiling can be used as a ‘fifth wall’ for wallpaper too.

When choosing patterns, bear in mind that larger scale ones, with a repeat of roughly 12 inches, are easier on the eye.  It is easy to spot any mistakes made when hanging the wallpaper though, so consider calling the experts in to get that perfect finish.

For a classic style or to suit period architecture, consider neutral, muted hues in floral and geometric patterns.  They lend an effortless twist to traditional design.

When it comes to colour, you want to make sure the wallpaper will complement your existing furnishings and decoration.  Darker colours give a cosy feel (though too dark can be overbearing), and lighter will make a smaller room appear larger.  For very small spaces, metallic wallpaper will reflect light, giving the illusion of a bigger room.

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Whatever you want to achieve, the experts are here to help.  Herts Decorators provide high quality and professional decorating services to our clients across Hertfordshire, book a free estimate with our team today!

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George Ryland