This was actually a reader request post, and I thought it would make an amazing topic to discuss today. Wallpaper can be costly and it might seem like a daunting selection (and maybe even installation) process, but I’m here to help you choose the right paper for your home. Click through for some quick facts, comparisons, and my thoughts on all things wallpaper! I didn’t realize just how many spaces I’ve wallpapered until compiling this post. Obviously I’m a fan…
Permanent or Removable?
First, let’s chat about our wallpaper options. There are typically two types of wallpaper- permanent and removable. Permanent papers usually require paste or an adhesive, while removable wallpaper (also called peel-and-stick) applies to the wall like a decal and can be peeled away at any given time without damaging the wall (although spot testing is recommended). Let’s go over some pros and cons for each to determine what type of paper would best fit your home.
- great longevity
- looks more custom
- more options
- some may find installation more challenging
- permanent solution, if you change your mind
- cannot be easily removed
- more expensive
- simple installation, no paste required
- non permanent solution, great for renters
- quick and easy
- pattern repeat is often easier to align
- not great longterm
- can stretch or warp during installation
- feels lower end
- fewer options
I tried to keep this section short and sweet, so please let me know if you have any questions! The two types of wallpaper couldn’t be more different. I’ve found that permanent wallpaper is perfect for ceilings, dining spaces, bathrooms… basically “finished” rooms you plan to love for a long time. Whereas peel-and-stick paper is wonderful for kids rooms & nurseries (that they will eventually grow out of), rentals, and short term solutions.
Choosing a Pattern & Color
Once you’ve decided on permanent or removable paper, now for the tricky part… choosing a pattern & color. There are a TON of options in the world of wallpaper, so how do you go about narrowing down the perfect paper for your home? I’ll share my thought process below..
- Am I looking for longevity? If so, choose a paper that is classic and timeless, rather than trendy. Think neutral colors, simple patterns, and something you could see yourself loving for years to come. In my guest bath, pictured below, that was a large, yet subtle floral patterned paper.
- Where will the paper be installed and what surrounds it? This is very important! If you’re installing wallpaper in an already busy room, you might opt for a subtle wallpaper. If you’re installing wallpaper on the back of built-ins (like our formal living room, pictured below)… maybe something simple and textural for contrast, like grasscloth, is your best bet. Be sure to consider how the room functions, how bold you’re willing to go, and how it plays with the existing architecture and decor.
- Geometric or organic? If your space already has a lot of sharp lines, hard edges or a masculine aesthetic, an organic pattern might be a nice contrast and vice versa.
- What type of scale best works in the space? Do you have extra tall ceilings? A tiny pattern would easily get lost, so going with a larger scale would be more appropriate. Be sure to consider the environment in which the paper will live and how the scale will translate once it is installed. I wallpapered the ceiling in our previous hallway, pictured below.
- How much wallpaper do you need? Are you covering a small area- like the back of a bookcase, or are you wallpapering an entire room? Perhaps an accent wall is what you had in mind (like Jacqueline’s nursery, pictured below)? I’d recommend doing the math and calculating the cost based on your square footage. Wallpaper can add up more quickly than you might expect and running short is never fun.
Once you’ve asked yourself the tough questions and weighed your options, ORDER A SWATCH prior to committing. Wallpaper is a lot like paint- you really can’t know for sure the exact color or scale until you see it in person. Given wallpaper can be spendy, it’s always safe to order a swatch before you hit the buy button.
Once you’ve ordered a swatch and you’re finally ready to commit- be sure to account for overage and pattern repeat.
When & Where to Apply Wallpaper
Wallpaper can really live anywhere… on the ceiling, inside panel moulding, in a bathroom, etc. I’m making a list of areas I enjoy seeing wallpaper below:
- the ceiling
- framed in panel moulding
- the powder room
- the water closet
- a bedroom
- lined drawers and furniture interiors
- the closet
- the linen closet
- the dining room
- the hallway
- built-ins and other architectural elements
- the entryway or staircase
- a home office
- the laundry room
- the bathroom
- the living room
- … pretty much anywhere!
I know wallpaper can be intimidating, but it really adds character and personality to a home! If you have any questions about selecting wallpaper, installing wallpaper, or my thoughts on a specific paper… I’m all ears. Let me know in the comment section below. I’m happy to help! There are SO many beautiful options, it can be difficult to choose, but I hope this post will help you hone it in. Is anyone feeling particularly inspired to install some wallpaper someplace in your house now? I’m not going to lie- I am! Looking back at all of these old photos has me craving more pattern and texture. You can see some of my recent favorites below…