Choosing Your Perfect Wallpaper: What Not to Do

Skip all the easy mistakes and oversights with this handy list of wallpaper dos and don’ts.

Wallpaper can instantly transform a room. For half the time and effort of painting, you can have a bedroom blossoming with flowers, a children’s playroom in another galaxy, or a bathroom gleaming with glitter tiles. But with so many wonderful patterns, colours, and designs on the market, how do you choose the right wallpaper for you, while avoiding all the usual traps along the way?

Whether you’re looking for the perfect print for your living room, bedroom, kitchen, or dining room, we’ve got you covered. Our handy list of dos and don’ts is here to make sure that you dodge all the simple mistakes and oversights that are all too easy to make at the start of your wallpaper journey, streamlining your road to the room you’ve been dreaming of.

Practical & Prep Slip-Ups

Choosing the Wrong Material

First step – what material do you need? With so many wonderful prints available, it’s easy to overlook the importance of the material you’re using, which is crucial to achieving your desired finish. For example, higher traffic areas like stairways and living rooms might need a more durable material, such as a heavyweight vinyl, while children’s bedrooms might benefit from a chemical-free or eco-friendly option, as these are better suited to sensitive lungs or allergy sufferers.

There is also the factor of higher moisture areas to consider, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Many will decorate an entire house with the assumption that wallpaper is an absolute no-go for rooms subject to daily splashes and condensation, without realising that there are hundreds of wipeable, moisture-resistant materials out there, perfect for papering a bathroom or kitchen with.

Or, they might mistakenly paper an entire bathroom with a material unsuitable for a wetter environment, only to discover the sad reality later on after a few showers.

Buying Before Trying

Anyone who’s decorated a house will be familiar with the endless striped sections of walls tried and tested with different shades of paint samples. When it comes to wallpaper, however, people can tend to skip over this crucial testing period, hopping straight from finding their dream design online to papering an entire room with it, only to discover that they’re not such a fan in the flesh, or the colours don’t quite match their furniture or floorboards. Ordering swatches is the best way to avoid disappointment when you think you’ve found your perfect match.

Not Buying Enough Rolls

You’ve found the one, you’ve tested your swatches, you’ve ordered your rolls. Now you’re halfway through papering a wall and there’s a black hole of plaster in front of you.

Making sure you’ve accurately measured your space and accounted for things like sloping ceilings, rounded corners, and window spaces is key to the planning process, as you’ll need to figure out exactly how much paper is required to cover each inch of wall, especially if there are patterns or murals involved in the design, as you’ll have to take the continuity of the print into account.

Not Removing Other Papers

When it comes time to apply your wallpaper, making sure you’ve got a smooth foundation to work with can make all the difference – even the most gorgeous designs will look shoddy on a rough or uneven surface. Removing old wallpaper is the first step to ensuring your canvas is ready for your new print – using a stripper is one of the most effective ways to do this, which works by applying steam to the wall, allowing you to easily scrape away the damp paper.

Design & Aesthetic Mistakes

The Feature Wall Combination

Feature walls are a quick way to transform a room with minimal effort. If you’re looking for an easy and effective wallpaper idea for your living room or bedroom, simply switch up the design on one of your four walls and you’ve got yourself a striking centrepiece.

However, it’s important to consider how your feature wall is going to work in harmony with any adjoining walls to avoid things looking random, muddled, or out of place.

First, consider the placement – which wall will be the feature wall? Ideally, you want to choose the wall that your gaze naturally rests on when you walk into the room – maybe this wall holds your mantlepiece or fireplace, or the headboard of your bed.

Second, make sure you combine pattern with plain. Whatever design your feature wall has, avoid overcomplicating things by choosing another pattern for the remaining walls – opt for a plain print that will complement the feature wall nicely. If your accent wall has a colour palette of bluegold, and white, an all-over blue of the same shade will look beautiful along the remaining walls.

Forgetting About Plain Prints

When we think of wallpaper, we often imagine intricate designs, glamorous patterns, and exotic murals, forgetting about the wonderful world of plain print wallpaper that can serve as a brilliant alternative to paint. If any of you out there are struggling with picking the perfect paint sample or dreading donning your paint-splattered overalls to go over the grubby kitchen walls again, plain wallpaper could be the ideal solution.

Wallpaper is often much more durable and reliable than paint, built to last for years in the home. Not only is this a more sustainable option, but you’ll also benefit from fresher-looking walls for longer, and you’ll spend far less time and money on sprucing up your paint job in the future.

Not Considering the Space

There’s not just the practical aspect of space to consider with wallpaper – there’s also the aesthetic impact. With so many designs, creations, patterns, and prints on offer, you might be overflowing with wallpaper options that feel irrevocably you – but do they match the decor of the room? Will that particular pattern complement the unique perimeter of the room you’re papering? If the room is smaller, will the design just serve to make the space feel claustrophobic? Or is there another design that might add more depth?

The level of detail, shape, and illusion that a wallpaper can bring means you have a whole spectrum of aspects to play with. Get creative – see how you can make the most of the space. Maybe look for an eye-catching pattern that you could paste on the ‘fifth wall’ – the ceiling – or something bold and unique to build an accent wall with.

If you’re short on extra rolls, you could even create an interesting feature wall piece without having to coat the entire length of your wall from top to bottom – opt instead for a feature panel within the wall, creating the illusion of a piece of art within a ‘frame’. Finish with a complementing paint on the surrounding walls to give a feeling of harmony.

Finding your dream wallpaper doesn’t have to be daunting. Plan your room, prepare your walls, and make your vision a reality – the ceiling’s the limit.

If you’re on the hunt for your perfect wallpaper, feel free to browse our stunning selection today, or get in touch with one of our helpful team for more information.

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