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Wallpaper 101: What you Need to Know to Get Started

Published on:

11/22/18

written by:

Carrie Barker

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Are you considering adding wallpaper to your home but you just don’t know where to start?! If you answered YES, then this Wallpaper 101 post is for YOU! I have compiled a list of TEN important things you should know about wallpaper. I also included a boutique of wallpaper ideas for YOU! Let’s get started!

Ten things you NEED to know before installing wallpaper in your home.

I am a firm believer that wallpaper can completely transform a room … and I think everyone (even you!) should have wallpaper in at least one room in their home! We aren’t talking about the outdated styles from the 1980’s … we are talking about modern patterns and textures that will stand the test of time!

Affiliate links are used in this post for your shopping convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

WALLPAPER 101: 10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

1.  WALLPAPER IS SOLD IN DOUBLE ROLLS … BUT PRICED IN SINGLE ROLLS. 

Manufacturers package in double rolls because it allows for better coverage. I know this is confusing but all you need to know is this … you must order an even number of rolls and don’t be alarmed when only three rolls show up at your door after ordering six rolls. The ‘three rolls’ are actually three double rolls which are equivalent to six single rolls. Do check the fine print if you are ordering online because some retailers consider a double roll ONE roll.

2.  YOU CAN (AND SHOULD) ORDER A TEAR SHEET OR SAMPLE.  

A tear sheet is a small sample of a wallpaper print. I highly recommend taping the sample to your wall and keeping it there for several days to really get a feel for the pattern or texture. I ALWAYS order a sample when I am deciding on a paper for my home!

3.  WALLPAPER HAS A PATTERN REPEAT AND THIS AFFECTS HOW MANY ROLLS YOU NEED TO ORDER. 

A pattern repeat is the vertical distance between where the pattern is identical again (repeats).  I could write an entire post titled What the Heck is a Pattern Repeat?! I will elaborate in a future post, but for now, just know that the pattern repeat will help determine how many rolls you need to order. This brings me to my next point …

4.  HIRE A PROFESSIONAL TO MEASURE YOUR SPACE. 

Obviously, you don’t have to do this, but I highly encourage it! Not only will he or she get proper measurements, but he or she understands how the pattern repeat affects the amount of wallpaper needed. Most wallpaper hanging professionals will measure free of charge if you use them to hang the paper as well. Prior to measuring, you will want to have your paper picked out so you know what pattern repeat you are working with.

5.  HIRE A PROFESSIONAL TO HANG YOUR WALLPAPER. 

Again, you don’t have to hire a professional if you are handy with DIY projects. Wallpaper is a large investment in cost and I prefer to have it done perfectly and quickly by a trained professional! It is the PRODUCT that is expensive … not the installation. If you do hire someone, make sure to ask around for local recommendations.

6.  YOU CAN ORDER WALLPAPER THROUGH A LOCAL INTERIOR DESIGN BOUTIQUE OR FROM AN ONLINE RETAILER. 

There are some manufacturers that sell only to the trade so you need to order these products through a designer or local boutique. Fortunately, there are also MANY retailers that sell wallpaper directly to consumers. I added a list below of some of my favorite places to order wallpaper online. Remember the rule from above … order a tear sheet before ordering the final product!!

wallpaper 101

7.  WALLPAPER COLORS VARY SLIGHTLY FROM LOT TO LOT. 

It is always better to order an extra roll or two if you aren’t sure how much wallpaper you need for a project. If you run out of paper and need to order more, there is a good chance that the paper will be from a different dye lot and therefore may not be a perfect color match. Check with the manufacturer before ordering to verify whether or not you can return unused (and unopened) rolls of paper.

8.  MANY COMPANIES OFFER TEMPORARY WALLPAPER PRODUCTS.

A temporary paper is a great option if you are just getting into the wallpaper game and aren’t sure if you are ready to fully commit. This is also a great alternative if you live in a rental unit and are not allowed to hang permanent wallpaper.

9.  USE VINYL WALLPAPER IF INSTALLING IN A BATHROOM WITH HIGH HUMIDITY AND STEAM. 

You can use any material in a powder room or a guest bathroom (that is rarely used) because there are minimal steam and humidity.

10.  YOU WILL SEE SEAMS WITH GRASSCLOTH WALLPAPER … AND THIS IS OK! 

Grasscloth is gorgeous but seams are just part of the overall package. There is no way to avoid visible seams in grasscloth (unfortunately) BUT I think it is still the most beautiful and sophisticated wallpaper available!

MY FAVORITE ONLINE WALLPAPER RETAILERS

  1. Serena and Lily
  2. Anthropologie
  3. Decorators Best
  4. Lulu and Georgia
  5. Caitlin Wilson
  6. Hygge and West
  7. Graham and Brown
  8. York Wallcoverings
  9. West Elm
  10. Houzz
  11. Etsy
  12. Amazon
  13. Wayfair

I hope this Wallpaper 101 post offered some helpful information on how to get started with wallpaper. If you would like some guidance in sourcing wallpaper, I would be happy to help!

You can learn about my interior styling services HERE … or get started by shopping the wallpaper boutique below! Simply click on any image to get more information!

SHOP WALLPAPER

  1. Tammy says:

    Thanks for all this advice!!! I took soooo much wallpaper down when we first bought our home over a year ago that it scares me to put any back up. I am considering doing a classic Grisalle wallpaper in my foyer but still scared of the commitment. I love white walls ????Plus I have a slight textured wall so curious about that aspect and the wallpaper ????

    • I hear you! It can be a scary commitment! Luckily I have never gotten sick of my wallpaper … in this home or my previous home. However, I know there will come a day (in the far future) when I am ready to remove it or replace it. Crossing my fingers that my “wallpaper guy” can easily strip the paper! Textured walls do add a tricky component to wallpaper. I would suggest hiring a professional to navigate a textured wall!

  2. Alex says:

    Thanks for writing some great tips, this would help me a lot in my upcoming project. Wish me luck 🙂

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  8. Ellen Costigan says:

    do you have to put a primer on before you wallpaper

  9. Martina says:

    Ohhh wallpaper patterns can be so tricky, but you’re right, it’s important to order enough to be able to repeat the pattern across the wall. Great tips Caroline!

  10. Pat Anders says:

    I have never liked my island. Has black granite top which is fine but sides are cheap white “something”.
    And the sides are painted and rather slick and smooth. Will prepasted wallpaper adhere to this kind of siding. I plan to do the papering myself and use an easy stripe type paper and will have an extra pair of hands to help me.

    • Hi Pat! I am not sure how well wallpaper will stick to your slick/smooth island sides. You might want to do a little experimentation with a small piece of wallpaper before doing the entire island.

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