Wallpaper has a long and extensive history spanning over more than 2000 years. The Chinese invented paper and the first wallpaper was rice-paper glued to their walls as early as 200 B.C. Wallpapers started out as hand painted as printing only started in the 14th century and the first manufactured roll of wallpaper was produced in 1830. As advancement in technology progressed production costs were reduced significantly and wallpapers gained popularity. The first wallpaper-manufacturing machine was made in France. In 1778 King Louis XVI issued a decree specifying the required length of a roll of wallpaper to be about 34 feet (approximately 10m). Not much has since changed in this regard, as today the standard is usually 53cm x 10,05m per roll. In the 19th century wallpaper was mass-produced and becomes widely available to everyone. The materials used steadily grew with the advance of technology.
For various reasons wallpaper fell out of fashion throughout the end of the previous century. Any one who ever had to remove wallpaper from a wall installed in for example the 70’s or 80’s, will know the absolute nightmare of trying to get it off the walls successfully. New and better wallpaper has however returned with a bang over last couple of years and I suspect will be around for quite a bit. Although, today it should probably not be called wallpaper any longer as we are able to choose from a vast array of finishes, compositions and properties, and designs are limitless thanks to modern digital print possibilities.
But all this information does not help me choose the perfect one for my home, you might say. Here are a few questions to consider:
Start by considering the style of the room you are decorating. Certain décor styles work better with certain designs. Geometrics will work well with a contemporary look, damask and florals in muted colours will go with a romantic French or Shabby Chic style. Remember to research your style if you are uncertain of what will work or not.
Next reflect on how much. Will you cover all the wall of the room, only a feature wall or only a portion of the walls (e.g. under the chair rail)? Or maybe the ceiling for a dramatic twist? Remember, if you cover all the wall, rather select stripes, muted colours and/or larger prints. Small colourful prints could become very busy, overwhelming the room.
You should also decide whether you want a flat or textured design. The patterns of textured wallpapers are generally less detailed than a flat wallpaper and works better in a relaxed décor style. Flat wallpapers offer more fine detailed design and can even include metallic, gloss and mica effects. They usually works best in a more formal room. Textured wallpapers will add some dimension to a wall whilst covering imperfections of the wall underneath. There are textured wallpapers available that can be painted for a monochromatic finish. In general, textured patterns give a more casual look to a room, whereas flat designs can make a wall more refined.
The design selected will also determine how many rolls will be needed. Start by measuring all required walls and multiply the width by the height of each to determine the square meters. Add all totals to establish the total square meters. Deduct for windows, doors, and other large openings. A standard roll of wallpaper yields just over 5m2. This can be verified from the label on the selected wallpaper.
But this is unfortunately not so straightforward if the wallpaper has vertical and/or horizontal pattern repeats, which needs to be taken into account. The patterns need to be aligned and wallpaper should not be joined horizontally. If a wall is 3m high, you will only be able to use a maximum of three lengths from the roll. Luckily your interior decorator or wallpaper installer will be able to tell you how many rolls will be required for the selected area.
It will also be wise to order an extra roll, especially if the required number of rolls is just enough to cover the area. This will ensure that you obtain rolls from the same batch, as an additional order later may result in slight colour and texture difference. Off cuts can always be used to line a drawer, bookcase and cupboard insides etc.
One of the most exciting additions to wallpaper is photomurals. It is a great way to make a room seem larger. Using a good quality photo you took yourself will also add a very personal touch to a room.
Wallpaper, as with most things interior, wallpaper options range from affordable to very expensive. To avoid a costly mistake ask a professional to install your wallpaper. If this is not possible (due to budget or location) and you wish to do the installation yourself, rather start with a small wall such as a guest water closet wall. If you have imperfections on your wall and you prefer flat wallpaper, you should consider having the wall prepped for installation to ensure the best possible result. Unfortunately this could become expensive.
Other consideration would be lifestyle (animals, children etc), durability, whether it can be washed or wipes off, can it be exposed to moisture (depending on the area to be used).
Yes, the selecting wallpapers can be daunting, but remember to rather take your time in making a final decision. And do your homework or ask a professional for assistance.
Images extracted from the Internet