The World of Wallpaper
Wallpapers have added a decorative flair to homes since the 18th century. In fact, during the Renaissance period, they served as a more affordable option for tapestries. They often featured scenes as opposed to the more familiar patterns of today.
Nonetheless, they still add color and, in some cases, texture unlike a simple coat of paint. Furthermore, when selecting a wallpaper, you won’t have to worry about whether or not the sales associate might unintentionally botch up a shade you were trying for. Plus, you have a broad selection to choose from regarding materials and designs.
Types of Wallpaper
Nowadays, there are many different types of wallpapers. From solid colored, simple paper that hides nicks and cracks to elaborate flocks and foils, you’ll never want for variety when choosing a wallpaper for your decorating plan.
Here are some of the most common and most popular.
This wallpaper type is one of the most popular due to its longevity which is well worth its high price. As a matter of fact, vinyl wallpaper doesn’t fade even if placed in brightly lit rooms and is probably the simplest kind when it comes to application or removal.
This type is commonly available in a variety of colors and patterns. The printed wallpaper tends to be cheaper than the hand-printed since it can be mass-produced, but you can also special-order customized printed wallpaper if you have an original design in mind. One important factor to remember, however, is the printing ink is water-based, so it might not be a suitable option for high-humidity areas like kitchens and bathrooms.
You almost can’t take your eyes off of the metallic hues of this one-of-a-kind wallpaper. The base is fabricated from a metal foil and boasts of a shimmery, polished look that’s actually quite delicate and not at all “loud.” This wallpaper type works best in a room that doesn’t receive too much direct sunlight from the east or west as the reflection can be a bit overpowering.
Flock wallpaper is the perfect option if you’re looking for both texture and color. Printed on a paper lining, it comes with fuzzy or suede velvet-like texture. With intriguing three-dimensional effects, this wallpaper can change the overall feel in any room. Just make sure to take extra care when installing it as the front can be easily stained.
Literally, this type is fabricated from bamboo that’s glued to the paper itself. Each roll is quite distinct from the next since bamboo doesn’t possess a uniform shade which gives a unique appeal. However, you would need to be careful when applying bamboo wallpaper because the adhesive can damage the outer part; plus, it’s difficult to keep clean.
Wallpaper Patterns and Matching
In addition to the many options of materials and types, different patterns and designs allow for different methods of matching and varying degrees of challenge when applying them to your living space.
Straight Match Wallpaper
As you can guess by the name, this wallpaper's stripes and patterns line up and match across the whole wallpaper. Consequently, you will not need to worry about making any installment mistakes. Just make sure that once purchased, you take your time to understand how the patterns are lined up.
Drop Match Wallpaper
Also known as the offset match, the patterns at this wallpaper repeat almost regularly. Lined up horizontally and vertically, they usually start at the top of the ceiling line. One thing worth mentioning is that the drop match wallpaper requires a fair deal of planning. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most complex in relation to matching the pattern of each panel.
Free Match Wallpaper
The free match gives the least headaches of all. It can be hung on walls without any prior planning or matching. No matter how you decide to place it, the patterns would always look great. Because of this, it is a wallpaper that will result in minimal wastage of material.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Wallpaper
As with everything in the interior decorating world, there are certain advantages and a few drawbacks. Here are some important points to consider:
- They’re available in a variety of patterns, designs, and surface finishes
- Some wallpapers can last up to 15 years
- Many are washable
- With little preparation, wallpaper can cover defects or uneven walls
- Wallpapers are an eco-friendly option since many are manufactured from natural materials.
- Some are more expensive than paint
- Traditional wallpaper is hard to maintain or remove
- It cannot be applied over raw concrete or textured wall
- The edges can separate from walls, particularly in a humid climate
- Patterns must match and align exactly
- Certain fragile wallpaper types have a short life span of up to 5 years.
How to Apply Wallpaper
Now that you’re armed with plenty of information about wallpaper, are you ready for installation?
Before you make a run to the home interior store, make sure you measure the entire room so that you’re ordering enough paper. As an extra caution, you might give yourself an extra foot or two.
Before applying the wallpaper, you will need to complete some prep work to ensure the wall’s surface is clean and smooth. This includes the following steps:
- Make sure you’ve removed all plate covers, heat registers, and light fixtures
- Fill any holes and cracks with non-shrinking joint compound
- Remove miniscule imperfections by scraping with a drywall knife and then sanding the walls using 50-grit sandpaper.
- Cover the entire surface with “wall size” which is a product that acts as a primer and helps the paper to adhere to the surface more easily.
Next, when ordering your wallpaper, make sure you choose the appropriate paste. There are three basic types: clay wheat and starch. Each type has its own subcategories. Also, you should try avoiding the universal paste unless the specifications of a wallpaper call for it.
Once the prep is completed, you will need to follow these steps:
The first is to map out the room. You can position the wallpaper roll into a corner where you plan to start the application. Next, use a pencil to mark at the edge of the roll.
You’ll then slide the roll down to that mark to make another mark at the other edge and so on. This step is repeated until you have a general scheme of where the wallpaper panels will be applied.
Once you’re ready to hang the paper, you’ll need a ½-inch nap paint roller to apply the paste to the back of the paper. If you purchased pre-pasted wallpaper, then the roller can still be used to roll the water on the paper.
Next, you’ll need to create a seam at every inside corner to make the next panel plumb. You’ll install the first panel in a corner, and it should overlap onto the adjacent wall at least 1/8 of an inch. When working your way into a corner, you’ll need to measure from the last panel to the corner at the top, middle and bottom.
Then you’ll cut the corner panel 1/8 of an inch longer than the longest of the three measurements. The leftover piece can be used to start the new wall, but you may need to cut it at a slight angle if the corner is slightly crooked. If you happen to have wallpaper that won’t stick to another panel, try applying some seam adhesive in the corner before placing the second piece on top of the other.
Next, you’ll need to “book” a few panels of wallpaper. Loosely roll the wallpaper with the pattern on the inside. Some types need to be completely submerged in warm water for about a minute. Then you’ll fold the wallpaper into thirds in on itself. This helps the glue to activate and the paper to soften. From there, you can place each “roll” in front of the section of wall that is ready for covering.
As you place each panel carefully on the wall, make sure you gently run a smoother over it to prevent “bubbling” from occurring underneath. Be careful not to apply too much pressure on the smoother so that the glue doesn’t ooze out of the edges.
After the paper is smoothed over, you’ll need to run a damp sponge over it to keep the surface clean. Again, remember not to press to hard.
Also, use a small roller to keep the edges flat and prevent them from curling up. If you find that you need to create your own seams, lap one panel over the other and then use a sharp blade to cut down the middle of the overlap. Be careful not to cut too deeply. Then peel the two pieces apart.
For the edge of the wall that meets the ceiling, you can use a putty knife as a straight edge when cutting off the excess paper. For relief cuts, like those around a window frame or above the trim, scissors would work best. You would just have to keep a steady hand to make a straight cut.
Of course, each of these steps are repeated until you have the desired coverage in your room.
Afterward, just relax and enjoy the fresh, new look that has taken hold of your habitation.
Thus, wallpapers can be an excellent, cost-efficient option for covering surface imperfections. Although the initial investment can be higher compared to paint in some cases, you’ll still get a quality, long-lasting wallpaper for any room that’s needing an update. If you wish to look over some of the best designs and materials or gain some insight into which option is best for a particular room, visit us at Sussex Home.