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First let's start with different types of wallpaper. There are actually many varieties, but let's stick to the basics and where they should or shouldn't be used.
Types of Wallpaper
This type of paper can be used anywhere in the home. It's a paper that's coated with a liquid vinyl during the manufacturing process. It's washable and is usually prepasted. When you're ready for a change it can usually be removed with a steamer or chemical wallpaper stripper as long as the walls were properly primed before the paper was hung.
Bathrooms, kitchens, and hallways are ideal places for solid vinyl. It's a heavier than vinyl coated and is extremely durable. Sometimes paste has to be added, but that's really not too difficult. There are different weights with the heavier ones being suitable for high traffic areas in commercial spaces. Some of the commercial wallpaper comes in large 54" bolts, and is sold by the yard. Solid vinyl is easy to remove and comes down in large strips as long as the walls were properly primed before the wallpaper was installed.
We have a commercial grade faux grasscloth textured vinyl in our entry and down the main hallway of our home. It's been there 10 years and doesn't show one bit of wear. (similar one found here)
Made from natural reeds and grasses, this type of wallpaper gives a beautiful texture and timeless look. It's not washable, so it shouldn't be used anywhere like a bathroom. And FYI, it's prone to stain from water and fade from direct sunlight. It's great for dining rooms, living rooms, entryways, or rooms that aren't high traffic areas. On the plus side, it's easy to hang because it doesn't have to be matched at the seams.
Phillip Jeffries Grasscloth found here
PaintableUsually this type of wallpaper has a texture or raised pattern of some type and is great for hiding flaws in your walls. And since it's paintable you can make it any color you want. We have a paintable textured paper lining the back of our family room bookcase, seen below. (found here)
A mural is a large photo or scene that usually comes in panels. It's applied to the wall like large rectangular pieces of a puzzle and can make a dramatic, beautiful accent wall.
Other terms related to wallpaper
- Prepasted - has a water-activated paste on the back of the paper. Follow the instructions on the roll.
- Unpasted - Paste must be added to the wall or the back of the paper, according to the instructions. The easiest way to apply it is with a paint roller.
- Peel and stick - self explanatory.
- Pretrimmed - most papers are pretrimmed. Some high end, hand painted ones might not be. If you're using one of these you'll definitely want a professional to install it.
- Strippable - can be removed with a wallpaper stripper or wallpaper steamer. (if the walls were primed properly before the paper was installed)
- Peelable - when ready to remove it, the top layer will peel off and the paper backing will remain on the wall. The good news - it's usually pretty easy to remove the paper backing with warm water and a scraper.
- Dry strippable - the best words for wallpaper. This means you can remove it in complete strips when you're ready to change it (as long as your walls are prepped properly before it's installed.)
- Washable - can be wiped down with a soft rag and a mild detergent and water mixture.
- Scrubbable - can be washed with a mild detergent and a soft scrub brush.
- Double roll - most wallpapers are packaged and sold in "double rolls". It can be confusing because sometimes it's priced by the single roll. If that's the case, you'll have to order in mulitples of 2 (2,4,6,8,...). Always check the size of the roll and ask if you have questions.
- Run Number, Batch Number, or Lot Number - this indicates when the paper was made, and you always want your rolls of paper to have the same pattern number and run/batch/lot number. If they're made at different times, the shading could be slightly off and it would be noticeable in the middle of the wall. If you have different run numbers, have them meet in a corner or over a window or door and any difference in shading won't be as noticeable.
Tip - ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS prime your walls with a primer made to go underneath wallpaper before you install any wallpaper. If not, it probably will never be able to be removed. And that would be so sad! (I have used and recommend this primer)
And now for some serious eye candy.
There are so many amazing wallpaper designs these days...so much better that it was even a decade ago. Here are just a few of the thousands of beautiful wallpapers available today. Sources known are listed below each photo.
For all of you Fixer Upper lovers, here's a new shiplap wallpaper that anyone can hang, no nail gun or saws required! I'm dying to find a place for this in our house. I'll keep you posted on that. This paper is found here.
faux tin tile wallpaper // octopus tryptich (similar)
Faux tin ceiling tiles! Can you imagine having these on your ceiling? Oooh. It would be great in a bedroom, small bathroom, or a vintage style kitchen.
I had to do a double take here this because I thought this was real brick. I can think of so many ideal places for this wallpaper...accent wall, mudroom, backsplash... Found here.
Want to create a coastal look with worn boards on the walls but don't want 1,000 nail holes? This wood planked wallpaper is ideal for that type of project.
Or you could hang this new wallpaper from Joanna Gaines for the look of the smaller shiplap, no nails required! Found here.
Wallpapering above the wainscotting is a good way to break up a pattern. This black and cream floral is such a classic design and would never go out of style. Found here.
The wall behind a bed is a perfect place to use wallpaper and create a wonderful backdrop. We have an off white background version of this wallpaper in our basement bathroom and just love it. Found here.
These birds and clouds are dreamy. This would be so fun in a nursery or laundry room. Found here.
For nature lovers, how about branches or leaves? I've admired this tree wallpaper for years and would love to have it somewhere in our home. Photo from kerrisdale design. Wallpaper available here.
This gray trellis wallpaper looks great in this black and gray themed bathroom. You could use any color with it.
Dare to go bold with a large scale print in a bathroom like this one from Shophouse Design. Isn't this wallpaper stunning? Found here and a similar, less expensive version is found here.
The neutral grasscloth in this living room is the perfect subtle backdrop for the furnishings and artwork.
Make a statement with a dramatic mural on an accent wall. Wouldn't this be great in a bedroom as an accent wall? Found here.
For a more boho or Indian feel, a large paisley print would be nice. I love the blue and white on this one. Found here.
Believe it or not, this is a mural. It gives the look of rustic wood without the termites! It would make a great accent wall. Found here.
This stunning bathroom was on an episode of Property Brothers. Found here
From my domaine, this bird wallpaper adds just the right amount of pattern and color to this small bathroom. I love the airy feeling of it.
Toile prints will never go out of style and this black and white one is a true classic. Found here.
For a more cottage type look, this chunky floral adds just the right touch.
For a more modern look, this navy and white trellis would be perfect for an accent wall.
From Fixer Upper, this block print type wallpaper looks great as an accent wall behind the fireplace. Such a great improvement from the before photo! Found here.
pink peel and stick wallpaper
If you're renting or need temporary wallpaper, peel and stick wallpaper might be a good idea.
Colorful Geometric Mural
WOW! This mural makes such a dramatic statement! It would be fun anywhere. Found here.
Got a favorite photo you'd like to make into a mural like this little league wall mural? It's super simple. Go here to make your own.
This faux tin ceiling paintable wallpaper looks amazing. It gives a texture and dimension to the ceiling that you could never get with paint. Image from Young House Love. Paper found here.
Do you have any wallpaper in your house? Where would you like to use it?
SourcesOnline Sources for Wallpaper and Murals:
Farrow & Ball
Graham & Brown, Inc.
Grow House Grow
Hannah's Treasures (vintage wallpaper)
Hygge & West
Madison and Grow
Serena & Lily
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