Something that has remained with me since I was a child is just how powerful wallpaper design can be. From the bold brown and orange florals of my mums 70’s living room to the demure and delicate swans that elegantly swam around in my nan’s loo. These wallpapers evoke memories gone by, depicting a time and place of my youth. Whether vivid or demure, pattern, colour and imagery are all around us and we are now seeking to embrace it more than ever with wallpaper.
There are also some fabulous new wallpaper designers creating wonderful works of art for our walls. It’s incredibly hard for us not to avoid the new wallpaper trends that are out there. With this in mind and the possibility that you may be wanting to create some wonderful memories of your own through the wonder of Wallpaper and it’s place within our homes, I’m providing you with The Ultimate Guide To Wallpaper & Your Homes today.
The Ultimate Guide To Wallpaper & Your Homes
It can be a big step going from painted walls to wallpaper and you may not even know where to start. So I’ve tried to be as thorough and to the point as possible and without too much waffling on!
If you read my How to Use Pattern In Your Homes post you’ll know that colour and pattern are visually instantaneous in an interior setting. They display a sense of style and personality which in turn can impact on how we feel. We’re embracing wallpaper more than ever as we seek to define not just ourselves but our homes too. There’s no better way to introduce these attributes than with wallpaper.
Whatever you have in your rooms think first of the walls for they are that which makes your house and home, and if you do not make some sacrifices in their favour you will find your chambers have a kind of makeshift, lodging-house look about them…’ William Morris advising on the importance of wallpaper during a lecture (V&A)
Decorating our walls can really make a difference to our homes. Determining the look and feel through the style, colour and pattern you choose.
PAINT VS WALLPAPER
Whilst painting a room may be cheaper in the short-term, wallpaper does have a longer life-span if hung properly and chosen wisely.
Longevity may not be your immediate concern, but if it is, wallpaper wins over painting. If you’re not an avid fan of decorating frequently, then wallpaper maybe your friend as it should outlast paint.
TYPES OF WALLPAPER
There are a number of different types of wallpaper and to help you out, I’ve selected a few popular ones to help you work out what is best for your spaces.
NON-WOVEN/PASTE THE WALL
Non-Woven wallpaper is becoming a hugely popular choice when it comes to decorating our walls. It has the added advantage over some wallpapers as it’s breathable which eliminates problems of mildew and mould. If you’re not keen on vinyl wallpaper (see below) it makes a great alternative choice for bathrooms and kitchens. It’s also washable.
Easy to apply non-woven wallpapers have a “paste the wall” technology which basically means the backing paper doesn’t expand when it gets wet. Decorating time is halved as you don’t need to soak the paper you just paste the walls directly.
Best of all when it comes to redecorating they are easy to remove as they come off in one piece. Its made from synthetic and natural fibres which makes it tear-resistant which helps if you’re looking to do some DIY.
Consider Non-woven wallpaper if you like to DIY and it’s suitable for nearly all areas of your homes.
If you have high traffic areas or are looking to wallpaper your bathrooms or kitchens, vinyl wallpaper is perfect. Its composed of a paper layer with a printed vinyl film on top. It’s water and vapour resistant and easily cleaned.
TIP: Consider vinyl wallpaper for bathrooms and/or kitchens. It offers a great alternative to tiling and is cheaper. Or mix it up and use a combination of both to add interest and contrasting textures. It’s great for breaking up all those shiny white surfaces.
Consider for Kitchens & Bathrooms or high traffic areas.
Flock wallpapers are one of the oldest types of wallpaper around. Originally invented to imitate cut velvet hangings in the early 17th Century, it was once a luxury used by the wealthy. And there was, of course, the period of time where you couldn’t enter a pub or restaurant without seeing it.
Regardless of their history, flock wallpapers still have a place in our homes and have never really gone away Their 3d qualities add interest and dimension to a room and they’re irresistible to not reach out and touch them. Then there are the array of patterns and motifs to choose from as well as colourways. Flock wallpapers also help absorb sound as well as making a bold statement within a room.
Consider Flock Wallpaper – If you’re seeking a luxury feel and look to a room.
If you’re in your middle youth like myself, you may recall this type of wallpaper first-time around and may even be surprised that it’s recently seen a revival. Invented by Frederick Walton in 1877, anaglypta wallpaper became a success story with the Victorians. It was the first washable wallcovering and provided durability with decorative qualities. Its name derives from the Greek word Ana (meaning raised) and Glypta (meaning cameo).
Anaglypta is synonymous with paintable wallpaper and is starting to see a rise in popularity. A huge range of styles from vintage to contemporary are available. There are as luxury textured vinyls and textile reinforced Supaglypta papers too. Its versatility to have pattern and change its look with colour by painting it might just appeal to your homes especially if you love to revamp and redecorate frequently. You might want to check out Analygpta.co.uk They have a huge range and lots of helpful advice on the many types available.
Consider this type of wallpaper for heavy traffic areas such as hallways. It’s a highly durable wallpaper that reinforces walls and ceilings and is suitable for high traffic areas and perfect at disguising imperfections.
If you’re not keen on pattern or colour, wallcoverings such as grasscloth are the perfect way to add interest and depth to a room. Beware though, as they can be incredibly costly!
Consider if your walls have seen better days as textured designs hide imperfections. If you are also looking for durability and longevity they will stand up against everyday wear and tear.
HOW TO CHOOSE WALLPAPER
With wallpaper, you’ll likely to be introducing colour and pattern and possibly texture. All these elements can reinforce not only the style of your room but also set the mood.
I would say how a room makes you feel is just as important as how it looks. Choosing the right wallpaper can help set the mood and reinforce the overall look and feel of a space! I’ve given you a couple of examples below…
LIGHT & AIRY
Wallpapers can help capture the feeling of light and help brighten up a room. Subtle patterns like this Front wallpaper by Engblad help add interest and create a soothing airy feel to this bedroom space.
WARM & INVITING
Choosing a warmer colour palette combined with soft florals creates a welcoming space to cosy up in.
Deciding on how you’re going to use a room can help determine the style or loo you want to achieve. Whether its fun and bright or more formal, there will be a wallpaper for you.
This Vertigo wallpaper design by Arne Jacobsen provides a sophisticated retro feel that also provides a glamorous and elegant feel to a room. Vertigo by Arne Jacobsen was originally designed for a furniture fabric. Its pattern of semi-circles adds a sense of rhythm and movement to a space.
Some wallpapers are without a doubt works of art. I personally love this Ava Marika Ditsy design that offers a dark moody floral look. Whether you opt for bold more delicate floral wallpaper, they can be surprisingly versatile. Paired with contemporary modern furniture in simple forms creates a completely different look to what is often seen with flowered wallpapers. If your chosen wallpaper has a strong floral print pair it with lots of plain surfaces to create a balanced look and feel.
If you’re still loving the Botanical trend, which is still going strong , you can read here on how to decorate and make a statement with these wonderful nature inspired designs.
You can’t get more dramatic than a wallpaper that features tropical palms, jungle foliage and big cats like this one from new designers Divine Savages. If you’re looking to make an impact, look for a design that combines a bold colour palette of rich hues and imagery to complete the wow factor to your spaces.
Murals are great at providing a backdrop to a room. They’re often works of art in themselves, telling a story all of their own. They’re great for feature walls and add an air of creativity to a room. Wall murals will provide your homes with a showstopping design element that will grasp yours and your guest’s imagination.
TIP: The best surface for a mural is a flat, plastered and painted wall.
Panelling has seen a resurgence in recent years and to save you the hassle and your pocket, there’s some fantastic realistic wallpaper that’ll have everyone believe you have got the real thing.
If you like the look of a brick wall but the reality is way beyond your budget, there are some fabulous realistic wallpaper designs available. It’s cost-effective as well as being a lot cleaner and easier to keep.
Opting for geometric patterned wallpaper brings a modern edgy vibe to a room. From Scandi inspired chic to bold design statements, they’re great for modern interiors. Geometric prints are perfect for providing a greater illusion of continuous space to a room.
Of course, geometric wallpaper can be subtle too like this Fold wallpaper by Lime Lace. Creating a modern vibe that offers this space a feeling of light and spaciousness. It’s also an eco-friendly wallpaper by Eco Wallpaper a Swedish brand that puts the environment at the forefront of its work.
Metallic wallpapers are great at adding another layer of texture to a space. They’re also perfect for bouncing light around with their reflective qualities and add a warm feel to a room. They create visual interest and stimulate the senses with their tactile qualities whilst adding an air of luxury and elegance to a room. They’re also great for hiding imperfections in walls.
DIRECTIONAL & STRIPES
Wallpaper designs that use the diagonal provide a sense of direction which creates movement in a room. Striped or patterned wallpaper with strong vertical lines draw the eye upwards and creates visual height to a room. Whereas hung horizontally it provides movement and a sense of direction and make narrow rooms appear wider.
- Get a sample! Never order without sampling the wallpaper in your home. Hang it on the wall to get a feel of how it will look.
- As with paint, colours and textures can look completely different with light whether natural or incandescent, you’ll need to see how the colour and/or pattern work at different times of the day.
- Assess your artwork. If you have a lot of artwork going for busier wallpapers may end up competing with your gallery walls.
- Assess your current furniture and style to help you evaluate the which design to opt for.
- Found a wallpaper that you love but would break the budget to decorate the whole room? Place a large mirror on the opposite wall to reflect it back into the room.
- Think about the scale of any patterned wallpaper. In general, small-scale pattern creates a feeling of spaciousness but can look lost in larger rooms. Larger scale patterns can make a room feel more intimate.
- If a whole wall is still out of your budget consider backing bookshelves, alcoves or using it as an accent piece to highlight areas of a room. A little of something you love in your spaces is a whole lot better than nothing at all.
WAYS TO USE WALLPAPER/INSPIRATION
MIX IT UP
There’s nothing stopping you from mixing and matching patterns in a room. Use colour to connect and create a harmonious design scheme. Wallcovering books usually group designs by colour to make coordinating easy.
You can really have some fun and experiment in areas such as hallways and cloakrooms as we don’t tend to spend that much time lingering there. Although you might want to bear in mind with hallways that open onto other areas of your home, to either pick a colour or pattern that visually connects each space to help your home flow visually so it doesn’t feel disjointed!
Wallpapering your ceiling is becoming a popular trend amongst designers. This is a great way to highlight architectural features. If you have a lot of artwork, keep your walls plain and add wallpaper to your ceiling. It’s a fun way to introduce pattern and colour to a room. You can read more about decorating your ceiling here with my 10 reasons why decorating your ceiling can enhance your home.
Most websites have a built-in calculator to work out how many rolls of wallpaper you will need. If you want to work it out yourself you can follow this simple guide below:-
1. Calculate Number of Drops Needed
Measure the width of each wall you want to cover and divide by 53cm (this is the standard width of most wallpapers, so you’ll need to double-check. This provides you with the number of drops.
2. Calculate the Length
Measure the height of your room and multiply by the number of drops (see 1.) to get the meterage needed.
On a final note, go with what you love and take a leap of faith. You might just surprise yourself!
As always, thanks for stopping by!
If you enjoyed today’s post, you might also be interested in My Kitchen Makeover using a Photowall Wall Mural above. You can read it here