If you are looking to create a wow factor in your house, using wallpapers can be your trick. In recent years, wallpapers have gained more popularity with the introduction of self-adhesive (peel and stick) wallpapers. Also, with new technologies, there is now an endless range of designs, patterns, and materials on wallpapers. This can definitely feel overwhelming when it comes to selecting and applying wallpaper for your house. Let’s break it down into simple ways of understanding how to apply and install wallpapers.
Before you begin the process of learning how to apply and install wallpaper, look at the big picture and understand the style of your home. Read this article to understand your preferred interior style. Use the following suggestions for their corresponding styles:
- Contemporary, Modern, Transitional: Use minimal designs and patterns on the wallpaper. You can choose solid-colored wallpapers with materials and textures like grasscloth, linen, cotton, etc.
- Traditional, Grandmillenial, Granny Chic: Use classic patterns such as chintz (floral), chinoiserie, monogrammed/ damask patterns.
- Scandinavian-Nature inspired: Use landscape murals that run along the length of the room.
- Mid-Century Modern: Use geometric patterns.
- Industrial: Use wallpapers with designs of exposed bricks, stones, hammered metals, coarse concrete.
Types and Materials of Wallpaper
All of the above-mentioned wallpaper designs can be found in the following 4 types and materials of wallpapers. You can choose the type of wallpaper that works for you based on your budget and the room where wallpaper is used.
- Paper: These can be simplex paper (made from only one sheet) or duplex paper (two sheets that are glued and bonded together). These are made of cellulose which is a breathable material and non-toxic. However, they are not washable, fade away with exposure to sunlight, and are less resistant to moisture.
- Non-woven: These are very similar to paper wallpapers. They are made of cellulose and synthetic (most often polyester) materials. Non-woven wallpapers have more benefits than paper wallpaper. They are breathable, environmental-friendly, washable, and non-toxic. They are stronger and tear-resistant when compared to paper wallpapers.
- Textile/Fabric Wallpaper: This is a non-woven type of wallpaper. It has 2 layers – the first one is fabric material (which can be natural/synthetic) and the second layer is of the non-woven substrate. They are usually priced higher than the other types due to the complexity of the manufacturing process and also the quality of the material.
- Vinyl: These are the popular type of wallpapers. These wallpapers have vinyl/acrylic upper coating. They are extremely durable as they are washable and weather-resistant. These are the strongest type of wallpaper making them tear-resistant. They generally have a shiny appearance. However, the material is not breathable, meaning moisture is locked between the paper and the wall leading to molds and mildew. The manufacturing of these wallpapers releases chemicals that are not environment-friendly. It is not advised to use these wallpapers in bedrooms or children’s rooms.
How to apply/install wallpaper
After you decide on the design and material of the wallpaper, it is time for installation. There are some pros and cons of using traditional wallpaper vs self-adhesive wallpaper. Depending on the coverage area and durability, decide on what suits best for your situation.
- Tradition wallpaper or ‘non-pasted’: These wallpapers require an external adhesive/glue. For the installation, you will need to apply the adhesive to the wall and/or to the wallpaper. You need professionals to install and remove the wallpapers. The removal process involves scoring and scraping the walls.
Traditional wallpapers are preferred if you are looking for materials like grasscloth or specialty, luxury paper which are generally not available in “peel and stick” wallpapers. Generally, these wallpapers are more durable.
- Pre-Pasted Wallpaper: These wallpapers have water-activated adhesive applied on their back (like a postage stamp). They require wallpaper to be soaked in water before application. To remove the wallpaper, you have to soak the wallpaper with a wet sponge to dissolve the adhesive before you peel it off the wall. It is recommended to have a professional installer to apply or remove these kinds of wallpapers.
Traditional and pre-pasted wallpapers are favored by professional installers. It is easier to slide and align the wallpaper rolls during installation to match the seams before the glue dries.
When it comes to using traditional or pre-pasted wallpapers, it can be more expensive than self-adhesive wallpapers because of the quality of the materials and also because you will need to hire installers for both application and removal.
- Self-Adhesive Wallpaper: These are the peel-n-stick wallpapers that are easy to apply and remove. You don’t need any additional glue to apply these wallpapers. They come with adhesives on their back. All you have to do is, peel the backing paper and paste the wallpaper. These wallpapers can be easily removed from the wall as well.
But these wallpapers are best for temporary applications like rentals and college dorms or smaller areas like furniture. The glue on these is not as strong as traditional or pre-pasted wallpapers. So, they are not durable. Additionally, the application can be tricky with the alignment process and ‘bubbling’
- Get samples: Wallpapers can be an expensive mistake if you don’t truly love what you use. Get samples, feel the texture, use it in the space you would like to install. Depending on the lighting situation, the wallpaper might look different than what you see in a showroom or computer screen.
- Order all at once: Wallpapers produced in different batches may have slightly different shades of the same color. Make sure all the wallpapers come from the same run. Having even the slightest mismatch in colors might ruin the look of it.
- Use in smaller proportion: Yes, the current trend is maximalism – using saturated colors and patterns. But, it is not everyone’s cup of tea. So, test your liking of wallpapers in phases. Use in on furniture – like back of a bookcase, drawer panels of a dresser and so on. Use it on the accent wall instead of the whole room. Use it sparingly in certain rooms than every room in the house.
- Make it cohesive: Using wallpaper on an accent wall is popular. Make sure the wallpaper and/or the paint on the other walls create a cohesive look.
- Hire a professional: If you are using wallpaper on more than one wall or if there are angles/difficult structures in the space, it is highly recommended to hire a professional for installing wallpaper. Even if you are using a peel and stick wallpaper, use a professional especially when there is a big coverage area. Misaligned wallpaper or bubbling of the wallpaper can make the wallpaper look cheap even if superior material is used.
I hope that these pro tips and tricks on how to apply and install wallpapers will help you in creating the wonderful space you dream of. Subscribe to receive more design tips and trends. Enter your email address in the form below and stay connected.