Wallpaper is ready for its next act. The polarizing paint substitute and longtime decorating taboo has come back to fashion due to ultra-stylish prints, dimensional fabrics, and new materials which make it very easy to install and, yes, to remove. Providing more drama than paint, it’s a fun way to transform a room and reflect your style without breaking the bank. Some designers even liken it to present-day art for the mass market.
What’s caused the major comeback? It’s simple to attribute the sales spike to style bloggers, HGTV and Instagram, but at the core of wallpaper’s new popularity is actually a hint of rebellion.
Curtis says the renewed interest is in part a backlash for the “sterile grays-whites-neutrals” from the ’90s and early aughts, and also the more recent obsession using the layered rugs and clustered collectibles of the California bohemian aesthetic. Wallcoverings provide a personal touch and much less stuff. “People want their houses to feel special and unique,” she said. “Wallpaper is the perfect toy to achieve that with polish.”
Paulina Berberian, a creative director at Brewster Home Fashions, a wallcovering company, credits millennial consumers with driving the trend, as they’re unfamiliar with the housing marketplace as well as self adhesive fabric itself. “Young those who matured within the clean, minimalism era have not had wallpaper,” she says. It’s likely they are fully aware it only as being a design punchline, the busy ’80s florals favored by dentists and grandmas.
Indeed, today’s popular papers are vastly distinctive from the old school. The prints are dramatically oversize and fantastically whimsical, with characters that feel pulled from a storybook and patterns right from the runway. The shades are richer. The fabrics are textured and sometimes three-dimensional. And the images use a lifelike sharpness thanks to advances in digital printing.
Talking about which, we’ve hardly scratched the top when it comes to custom-printed papers. Erin Burke, who runs the contemporary home furnishings website Burke Decor, frequently receives requests to scale and print wallpapers made from personal photos which can be tiled or enlarged to mural size. “It sounds strange, but bear in mind, wallpaper is really a conversation piece,” she said, adding that hotels and restaurants already do that in bar areas and bathrooms.
If there’s a standard thread to inkjet media, it’s restraint. Designers suggest making use of it sparingly and purposefully, in a couple of rooms or maybe a single accent wall (though fabric papers like grass cloth should cover an entire room). For consumers, that’s low-cost and low-maintenance. Says Curtis: “An artsy, adventurous print can speak by itself.”
Low-maintenance is key. Installing and removing wallpaper was once a notorious headache, so technology – including new adhesive formulas and stick-and-peel fabrics that strip off walls without leaving residue – has done wonders for its reputation. “The times of scraping and steaming have ended,” Berberian said. “Less mess, less stress.”
Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams, says wallpaper has never been less expensive or maybe more convenient. Sherwin-Williams, the country’s largest wallpaper distributor, is planning to release four new books of wallcoverings this season, putting its total catalogue at more than 100,000 options.
Those numbers aren’t exactly comforting for people that already are overwhelmed by all the patterns, textures, fabrics and materials to pick from. Where do you start? And when prices range from $25 to $500 per roll, generally, how can you set a budget? Here, we’ve offered several guidelines for choosing, using and removing wallpaper.
Types: Wallpaper is categorized by its material and adhesive coating. Nonwoven substrate paper is well-liked by renters as it dry-strips easily through the wall. Pre-pasted papers include a water-activated adhesive backing. Both of them are durable, strippable and customarily grease-resistant, which makes them smart choices for individuals with children or pets. Wallpapers are typically sold as single rolls or bolts (double rolls).
Print matching: The “match” lets you know how you can line up the pattern from strip to strip. You can find three types: straight, random and drop. Straight-match papers run the width from the paper and over the seam to the next strip. Random-match papers continue seamlessly whatever. Drop-match papers require extra planning and must be aligned horizontally and vertically on both sides, because the pattern is slightly offset from strip to strip.
Pastes and booking: Pre-pasted wallpapers usually need to be “booked,” which means wetting the paper and letting it sit, usually for about 10 minutes, as the glue activates. Unpasted papers don’t include adhesive, so you’ll need to paste the wall or the back of the paper.
?Repeats and waste: Repeats are the amount of inches a pattern stretches vertically until it repeats itself. Generally, the lower the repeat, the lower the waste. Solids and textures, for instance, do not have repeat and htcyrz waste since the amount you’ll need is simple to calculate.
Calculating coverage: Before you purchase, you have to see how much wallpaper you need. This gets tricky when you take windows and doors into account, so employing an online calculator (like those available from Lowe’s and Home Depot) is suggested. Exact roll measurements vary by manufacturer, but many cover 25 to 28 square feet. Retailers often price self adhesive canvas by the single roll but sell only double or triple rolls.
?Upkeep: Wallpapers are surprisingly durable, and those days, maintaining them is simple. Scrubbable papers can be cleaned with a sponge and detergent. Washable papers could be gently cleaned or wiped with a damp cloth.
Removal: Commitment-phobes need to look for two types of paper: strippable and peelable. The previous are easy to remove without water or chemicals leaving no backing. The second peels from the wall and may leave some adhesive residue behind, which can be removed with soap and water.