Wallpaper is a great design choice but, in the face of the other trends that take the world of interior design by storm, it’s an unsung hero. This is especially so in Indian homes which are often decked up in paint and patterns but not so much wallpaper. Wondering whether wallpaper home decor is the right choice for your home? This guidepost has the answers– from types of wallpaper to how to put wallpaper up and everything in between, it tells all.
Part A: How to buy wallpaper for home decor
Choosing the right amount of wallpaper and estimating the amount you have to buy is a tricky process. To begin, narrow your sights down to the ideal wallpaper by looking at application, features and material.
Types of wallpaper: By application
Contrary to popular depictions, not all wallpaper needs a lengthy, rather glue-covered process to be installed. In a world of advancements, wallpaper home decor isn’t far behind– here’s a rundown of wallpaper types sorted by application.
This variety is the traditional type. It comes as a roll of paper without any glue backing. Decorators will need to buy glue separately and layer it on the back of the wallpaper to paste onto a wall.
Just like stickers, this peel-and-paste wallpaper comes with pre-applied glue. All you need to do to get it on your wall is remove the backing paper.
Pre-pasted wallpaper home decor doesn’t need paste to be applied, which is a blessing. All it takes is water to act as an adhesive against the surface of the wall. That said, this sort of wallpaper doesn’t last as long as the others.
Types of wallpaper: By material
Wallpaper home decor is available in a variety of material options, each serving a different purpose and with its own pros and cons.
Paper wallpaper is also called lining paper because it’s often used to ‘line’ walls and hide damages. It’s the more commonly known variety because it’s one of the oldest. Colours and patterns tend to show up best on paper wallpaper; it’s also easy to remove.
Vinyl-coated wallpaper is a popular option because it’s easy to paste on walls and can be applied to damp areas without wrinkling.
This type of wallpaper is considered to most luxurious. However, it’s heavy to hang up and take down and requires a lot of paste to hold it up securely.
Types of wallpaper: By features
Unlike common assumptions that all wallpaper can’t stand the test of time, good quality wallpaper home decor comes with a laundry list of features.
If the purpose of your wallpaper is to cover up damages yet fit in with the rest of your walls, paint-friendly wallpaper is your best bet. It’s thick and often has a textured surface– both perks because it’ll hold up under the weight of any paint choice.
Homes with curious children and pets would benefit from this wallpaper option. You can wipe it down with water and a sponge to remove scribbles and stains without damaging the surface of the wallpaper.
This type of wallpaper holds up well in high-footfall areas that experience a lot of dampness and moisture, such as kitchens and bathrooms.
Here’s a pro tip– when deciding how much wallpaper to buy, it’s best to measure your walls first, round off the measurements and buy more than you actually need. This saves you from extra trips to the store should anything rip!
Types of wallpaper: By pattern
Patterns make for interesting additions to an otherwise plain room.
Randomly-Aligned Wallpaper Home Decor
With this type of wallpaper, you don’t need to worry about the pattern being aligned. Any random arrangement of the pattern will look intentional!
Drop match wallpaper
This is by far the most difficult type to hang up because it requires alignment of patterns both horizontally and vertically.
Straight aligned wallpaper
Not as difficult as drop match but still requiring more effort, straight-aligned or straight match wallpaper requires that you match the pattern vertically.
Part B: How to hang wallpaper for home decor
Once you’ve decided the type of wallpaper you’re going for, the next hurdles are hanging and maintaining it.
Clean the surface: Begin by sanding down your walls for extra grip and wiping them with a sponge and detergent– you don’t want hidden dirt to cause unsightly bubbles later on.
Get your measurements: Measure the length and width of the wallpaper strips and size them up against the wall. It’s always a good idea to draw lines on the wall beforehand so your wallpaper is level and there are no gaps. This will also allow you to identify how many strips you need and of what dimensions before you actually go in with the sticking.
Align the edges: If you’ve purchased a self-adhesive kind, you can now peel off the backing paper and align the top and side edges to the corners. If your wallpaper needs an external adhesive, then you’ll need to either apply the paste on the back of the paper or on the wall depending on the type of paste you’ve purchased.
Sweep downwards: Once your top corners are secured, use a wallpaper sweep to wipe down over the wallpaper, sticking it to the wall. You want to apply a lot of pressure and go over one area multiple times to reduce the chances of air bubbles.
Remove air bubbles: If air bubbles do appear, don’t fret– it’s part of the process. Use a pin to puncture the bubble and run over the area with the wallpaper sweep until it sticks firmly.
Part C: Maintaining wallpaper home decor
If you’ve purchased a washable kind of wallpaper, all you need to do is wipe it down on occasion to keep it clean. For non-washable variants, here are your options:
Remove dust particles: Use a dry cloth from bottom to top rather than top to bottom and in the direction of the vertical seams. Use a damp cloth on stubborn stains but take care not to scrub too hard or use too abrasive a cloth.
Tackle sections: It’s always better to clean section by section rather than in patches. This reduces the chances of going over the same area twice and ruining the wallpaper and is also more systematic!
Use only water: When cleaning wallpaper, avoid using abrasives, solvents or chemicals of any kind. At best, this will create an unsightly patch. At worst, it’ll take off a chunk of your wallpaper, leaving you with no choice but to paper over it or change the wallpaper entirely!
Pro Tip: If you’re using a damp cloth to wipe down your wallpaper home decor, take care not to leave the cloth on one spot for too long. If any moisture seeps into the wallpaper, it could result in air bubbles or cause the wallpaper to peel off in sections.
Part D: How to remove wallpaper in the right way
To remove wallpaper home decor entirely, you’ll need to get rid of both the strip layer and the peel layer.
Soak the wall: Begin by soaking patches of the wallpaper with a stripping solution mixed with water. Let it soak for 15 minutes and peel off the top layer from the bottom corner upwards.
Remove the lining paper: You can do this by scraping away at the paper with a scraping tool. If you want to keep the lining paper as a base for new wallpaper, ensure it doesn’t have any holes or missing bits.
Wipe the walls: Use a sponge dipped in a soapy solution to wipe off any wallpaper and glue bits that remain.
Pro Tip: If you plan to re-wallpaper or paint the room, leave it to dry for at least 24 hours before going in again.
Now that you’re all prepped with the necessary information, you’re ready to take off on your wallpaper home decor adventure! You might want to check this out as well: 8 Best Modern Wallpaper Designs
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