How To Buy Wallpaper


Wallpaper is a great way to add color and texture to any room. Paper all four walls of the room or place it on just one wall as a way to create a sense of drama. The range of colors and patterns available in today’s wallpaper will complement any style, whether your room is traditional or ultramodern.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Varies, depending on how quickly you make up your mind. But leave yourself at least a week.
Here’s How:
Match the product to the space.
Wallpaper isn’t just for walls. Like the look of a tin ceiling? You can get that same appearance for a fraction of the price by buying patterned wallpaper. Wallpaper can also be used to cover dressers and other furniture that may be worn or damaged or that no longer fit with your decor. Simply cover the entire item as if you were wrapping a present. For a bit of visual interest, line the back wall of built-in shelves with wallpaper in a contrasting color or pattern. Many wallpaper styles also can be painted, allowing you to color-coordinate with other items in the room.
Shop around.

Visit Big-box, home improvement retailers, paint stores and small boutique stores to check out products. Several stores allow you to shop online, but it’s better if you see the wallpaper before you buy. Colors may appear different than they do online, and you’ll want to able to see any subtle markings or texture. Obtain samples so you can see what the wallpaper actually looks like on the intended walls. Lighting, both natural and from lamps, can affect how the paper will appear in the room.

Determine the type of traffic in the room.
Vinyl wallpaper is ideal for high-traffic areas, such as the kitchen or bathroom, because it is durable and can be cleaned with soapy water and a scrub brush. Standard wallpaper is more delicate and some types can be easily damaged. It is best for low-traffic areas.

Measure the size of the space where you will be using the wallpaper.
Measure the length around the room and the ceiling height. Note the size of windows, doors and other spaces where you will not need any wallpaper. Creating a simple sketch can be helpful. The store’s staff can also help determine how much wallpaper you will need for the project. Wallpaper is typically sold as a double roll, measuring about 20.5 inches wide by about 33 feet long. Remember, some patterned wallpaper requires pattern matching at the seams, so you will need extra.

Coordinate with other items in the room.
Take the measurements, fabric swatches from upholstered furniture and paint chips to the store when you shop. Look for wallpaper with colors and patterns that complement the items in the room.
Research the price.

The price of wallpaper varies greatly depending on the quality of paper, the pattern, and colors. Costs can run from about $25 a roll to hundreds of dollars per roll. Prices are quoted for a single roll but wallpaper is usually sold in double rolls. Ask the store employee whether the price can be discounted if you buy several rolls. If you see a special-order wallpaper that you like, write down the name of the manufacturer and pattern, then search online for discounted prices. In-stock wallpaper tends to be cheaper than special-ordered paper. Stores also may discount discontinued lines.

Mix and match.
If you are planning to wallpaper a room and you can’t find enough of your favorite paper in stock, consider using a second, complementary style of wallpaper. For example, mix striped wallpaper with a solid color.

Consider ordering more wallpaper than you need in case you make a mistake.
Read the manufacturer’s instructions on installation before buying, especially if you plan to hang it yourself.
Patterned wallpaper with a drop match can be more difficult to hang.
What You Need:
Tape Measure
Fabric Samples
Room Measurements
Paint Color Samples


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