What To Look For In A Wallpaper

Before you buy wallpaper, look for these characteristics.

from Householder's Survival Manual

If you are new to paperhanging, keep your first project as easy as possible. Choose a paper designed with the do-it-yourselfer in mind. Here are some characteristics to look for:

  • High-quality, machine-printed,pretrimmed papers tend to be the most problem-free. Flocked and foil papers or wallpapers with selvage edges that must be trimmed on the job are challenges better left to professionals your first time around.
  • Patterns that are “straight” are easier to hang than “dropped” patterns. Straight patterns are so called because neighboring panels meet in a straight line, so they require little extra figuring when you cut and hang them. Dropped patterns have design repeats that are meant to be matched panel to panel, a somewhat more difficult calculation to measure. Dropped patterns also require more paper to compensate for the matching.
  • Small-scaled overall patterns tend to camouflage uneven surfaces. But striped, shiny, and solid wallcoverings are best reserved for very smooth, perfectly plumb walls.
  • Matching pattern scale to room size is also critical. Too large a pattern in a small room can be oppressive; too small a pattern will be lost in a large room. Bring home samples of wallpaper or wallpaper books to see what patterns work best for your purposes. View them in both natural and artificial light.