Wallpaper 101: Choosing the Right Style for Your Space

From graphics and grass cloth to glass beads and geometrics, take a look at these insider tips for choosing the perfect wallpaper for your next project.

Choosing the Right Wallpaper

Choosing the proper style and/or material of wallpaper is much more involved than you'd think. While bold prints are often the most popular style among homeowners everywhere, there are many other options to consider such as: woven grass, wood grain, metallic, cork, birch, moire and botanicals.

Picking Your Roll Width

One of the most important things to consider when estimating how many rolls of wallpaper you'll need is width. Many wallpaper hangers will simply refer to the rolls as American or English. American wallpaper tends to be 27 inches in width, while English wallpaper is more commonly found measuring 20.5 inches. The best way to estimate the amount of rolls needed is to consult with a professional paper hanger.

Metallic Wallpaper

Metallic wallpaper is an excellent way to add sheen to a room, allowing the walls to help reflect and play with light. Once lit by chandeliers or task lighting, metallics take on a moody, sexy appearance. As far as installation goes, metallic wallpaper with hand-painted detail is delicate and quite difficult to hang, leading to heftier installation costs. Stamped or printed metallics are often easier to work with, more affordable to have installed, and they also come with less cost than those which have been painted by hand.

Grass-Cloth Wallpaper

Grass cloth is an organic type of wallpaper made from strands of grasses which are carefully woven together. It's the perfect choice for homeowners more interested in creating a textural look in a room rather than playing up color. Professional paper hangers often charge up to 30 percent more in labor fees per roll for installing grass cloth than printed wallpaper due to the amount of precision required. To achieve the proper look, grass cloth is installed with meticulously positioned seems which help add a vertical, linear effect to the otherwise solid material.

Floral + Botanical Wallpaper

Floral and botanical prints are most common for feminine spaces. Small, tight floral and botanical prints tend to appear very busy from far away, and therefore are best used in small spaces such as powder rooms, laundry rooms or inside closets. Medium-sized floral and botanical prints are often the most popular since they read just as well in small spaces as they do in large. Large floral and botanical prints are ideal for extra-large rooms such as living rooms and great rooms.

Graphic Geometric

A huge hit among lovers of modern, retro and midcentury-modern styles, graphic geometric wallpaper is one of the most readily available and diverse styles on the retail market. As far as installation is concerned, small geometrics are the easiest to hang since the pattern repeats many times within each strip, cutting down on the amount of waste and the amount of skill involved. If the graphic look of geometric wallpaper is too much for a full room, consider installing it on a ceiling or on the back of a bookshelf. This concentrated burst of graphic impact can instantly add energy to an otherwise solid or understated space.

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