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Debunking Your Wallpaper Fears

From a designer’s perspective wallpaper is a versatile way to make a bold statement. It adds texture, colour, pattern and has the ability to transform any room. From a client’s perspective wallpaper is often a scary design element they’ve either begrudgingly had to remove or fear removing in the future.

Here’s a quick guide to innovations in wallpaper and why it’s no longer something to fear:

FEAR 1 – Wallpaper is Impossible to Install

Thanks to modern innovations almost 85% of wall coverings come pre-pasted. That means no more struggling with messy, finicky wallpaper paste. Simply dampen with water and apply each strip to the wall.

For my DIYers consider painting the wall behind your wallpaper the same predominant colour as its background. This minimizes the appearance of seams should the paper tighten and contract over time.

When in doubt, your designer can also provide a list of professional installers they trust. By combining their ability to purchase the right quantity, calculate pattern repeats etc. and their installer’s expertise matching patterns and minimizing seams, installation worries can be a thing of the past for a nominal fee.

FEAR 2 – Wallpaper is Impossible to Remove

Decals, murals and removable wallpapers are extremely popular and much easier to find. Not unlike the removable building ads you see outdoors, innovations have allowed companies to provide peal and stick papers that are printed based on the exact measurements of your walls. Many manufacturers also accept high-resolution images or photographs to create something uniquely your own.

This is a great idea for renters who want to personalize their space but can’t make permanent changes. It’s also good for those of us that want to try something trendier like a bold, oversized floral pattern that runs the risk of looking tired over time.

Another bonus of removable papers is that they’re almost always waterproof. This explains the increasing number of designers using wall coverings in kitchens and bathrooms. Some companies even provide industrial grade papers that can withstand the elements and be used outdoors.

FEAR 3 – Wallpaper is Expensive

If your budget is unlimited, expensive wallpaper isn’t hard to find. Some manufacturers are incorporating real gold leaf, Swarovski crystals, and even small LED lights to illuminate their papers from within.

Personally I’ve had a lot of luck finding the perfect wallpaper online and in big box stores. Certain Home Depot’s carry beautiful papers in store that don’t require long delivery times. Graham & Brown is another favourite with tons of affordable options proving wallpaper doesn’t have to cost a fortune to make an impact. Sites like also ship to Canada and feature periodic sales.

Most sites send free or inexpensive samples so you can try before you buy - something I highly recommend as both colours and textures are hard to predict online.

FEAR 4 – Wallpaper isn’t Versatile

Depending on the pattern you choose, wallpapers either hide or accentuate a world of sins. If your home is older and you’re contending with rough, plastered walls there are special polyester linings available that allow perfect application over grooves, bumps etc. Even concrete block or wood paneling can be given new life with wallpaper. Grass cloth is another personal favourite that hides a multitude of sins.

Designers are also using wallpaper in unexpected ways. Whether subtle for texture and colour or you prefer a bolder, high contrast pattern, consider adding paper to your ceiling. Rooms like the first one shown above depict how to successfully paper all four walls in a floral then accent the ceiling with a complimentary geometric. If your home is newer and lacking old world charm, consider using wallpaper as an architectural detail or an excellent way to visually divide the space and create zones.

Final Word to the Wise

Sad to say, since so many of us – myself included – have feature walls in their homes, but the days of accenting one wall in a bold colour or pattern are behind us. Nowadays it’s go big or go home when it comes to wallpaper commitments. Bold patterns are all the rage and covering the entire room is a much bigger statement than papering a single wall.

That said, whenever clients are open to trying wallpaper I still recommend starting small. Whether a powder room, inside a bookcase or even a moveable room divider, I guarantee once you embrace wallpaper in one area of your home you’ll be much more inclined to incorporate elsewhere.

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