Today, after suffering through recent decades of neutrally painted surfaces and faux paint finishes, wallpaper is drawing in both young and old alike with its wide range of possibilities, capable of satisfying any decorating urge. Prints are back in fashion, with influences coming from flowers and leaves, and bold, graphic retro motifs are snowballing as well.
And consider texture – something that paint has difficulty replicating. There is a new dimensional quality to wallpaper that adds a sense of depth and interest to a room, unlike any other design element.
There is simulated wood grain – and real wood veneer wallpaper. There is wallpaper that resembles brick, stucco and stone. There is cork wallcovering.
Wallpaper has can be infused with mother of pearl; metallic wallpaper shines and draws attention. For commercial usage, there is paper that has been coated with zinc oxide nanoparticles, giving it an antibacterial surface – perfect for hospitals.
Finally, wallpaper murals are a means to bring a feature wall into focus, creating dramatic impact in any room. These are easy to install, durable and ultimately more affordable than commissioning a hand painted mural.
Some people are of the opinion that once wallpaper has been installed, the room cannot be adjusted to changing styles or moods. This depends on the color and pattern selected. Yes, a bold, large-scale pattern may make itself known in a more dramatic fashion. But subtle designs such as Strie, a delicate toneon- tone striped pattern; Damask, an elegant paper with arabesque scrolling; or the popular contrasting stripe can adapt quite well. For motif designs, choose florals, tropicals, Oriental motifs or toile patterns.
A cleverly applied paper can make a smaller room feel spacious, make a dark room appear light and airy, or a light-filled room seem cozy and intimate.
Vertical stripes will elongate an interior; horizontal stripes can make it appear wider. And consider children: it has been noted that the use of pattern – especially repetition in pattern – in a child’s room provides a sense of stability and reinforces problem solving skills.
A word about adhesives: wallpaper gained quite the reputation for being difficult when paste needed to be applied by hand onto the wall and onto the paper. What a mess! True, some papers still need paste for application, but the majority of papers created today are pre-pasted, which means that they only need a quick dip in a tray of water and a short time period to “book” the paper (this gives the paste time to activate and also allows the paper to expand prior to installation) before it can be hung.
Yes, the process is still somewhat “drippy” and yes, there can be some close encounters with sticky paper, but the end result is magnificent.
Wallpaper is great for masking small dents in wallboard, and can cover up an ugly paint job in a snap. Note that if you are installing light-toned wallpaper over a very dark wall, you may need to either prime the wall in a lighter color, or install “liner” paper – basically the paper equivalent of a primer coat. This will ensure there is no color bleed-through.