DIY Basics | Wallpaper 101
With a variety of trendy colors and patterns to choose from, wallpaper poses a fun and funky alternative to paint. Today on the blog, we explain and explore wallpaper terminology, types, and best practices for application.
Wallpapering 101: Terms to Know
The term booking refers to the treatment of traditional (prepasted or unpasted) . Once a sheet of wallpaper is wetted (prepasted) or combined with paste (unpasted), it should be booked by gently folding the sheet so that the top and bottom edges meet in the middle. The purpose of booking is to give the adhesive time to activate before installation. You should book your wallpaper for about five minutes to prevent blistering.
Blisters are small bubbles of air that appear behind the wallpaper after it’s been installed. Blistering can be caused by improper application; for example, skipping the booking step, neglecting to prime the wall properly, or installing in a room with a temperature that’s less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Butting refers to applying sheets of wallpaper side by side without overlapping or interrupting the pattern or colorway. If you’re installing wallpaper over a large wall space, it’s important to pay attention to butting to ensure seamless results.
Colorway is the term used to describe the particular color or colors used in patterned wallpaper. A single wallpaper can contain multiple colorways.
If you’re working with a particularly ornate wallpaper pattern, you might want to consider installing it in a way that showcases a focal point. Centering refers to using the most visually dominant part of the wallpaper to draw the eye to a focal point or some kind, be that a structural feature or statement piece of furniture.
Choosing the Right Type of Wallpaper for Your Needs
There are a number of types of wallpaper; the style and make of the wallpaper you choose should depend on the space at hand. For instance, vinyl wallpaper is ideal for areas such as kitchens and bathrooms, because it won’t warp when exposed to moisture. For places where the humidity level is more controlled, you can consider paper wallpaper or fabric wallpaper. There are pros and cons to both paper and fabric. While appear beautifully on paper, it’s extremely delicate and prone to scratching and tearing. Fabric is considered the highest quality wallpaper, but it can be difficult to install without wrinkles.
There are three application types when it comes to wallpaper: non-pasted, pre-pasted, and self-adhesive. Non-Pasted wallpaper must be used in conjunction with paste, but the paste doesn’t come pre-applied to the paper. Adding paste yourself can be a messy and tedious process. That said, when installed correctly, non-pasted wallpaper can produce the most enduring results. Pre-Pasted wallpaper has paste pre-applied and can be activated by simply adding water. Self-Adhesive wallpaper (also known as “peel and stick”) is wallpaper in its most contemporary form. It acts as a sticker and is easy to remove and replace.
Wallpapering Best Practices
Step 1: Measure
Before you purchase anything, make sure you properly measure the area you’re planning on papering. This is an important step in ensuring you purchase the right amount of wallpaper from the getgo. To be safe, purchase a few more rolls than you will reasonably need; this way, if you make a mistake, you won’t have to run back to the store. Having extra wallpaper on hand could also benefit down the road if a portion of your paper gets damaged and needs to be replaced.
Step 2: Sand
Much like , wallpaper looks best when applied to a clean, smooth surface. To ensure the best results possible, prep your wall or walls by lightly sanding. Once you’ve achieved a smooth surface, scrub the area down with a wet sponge and a light detergent.
Step 3: Level
Once you’ve prepped your walls, you can get started with the installation process. When applying your first sheet of paper, use a level to ensure it’s flush with the lines created by the ceiling, corners, and any windows. Getting that first sheet perfectly level will make it easier to apply the subsequent sheets evenly.
Step 4: Sweep
Using a wallpaper sweep, rather than a brush or your hand, will ensure the smoothest end result as you adhere it to the wall.
TIP When installing your paper, you’re likely to encounter blistering. As the wallpaper settles and dries, air bubbles should naturally flatten; if not, simply puncture the bubble with a small pin and gently flatten the area with your wallpaper sweep.
Finding Wallpaper Samples With Vishion
With Vishion, you can find thousands of wallpaper samples at the push of a button from brands like Mitchell Black, Wallshoppe, and Arhaus. Use the Vishion IOS app or our website to explore designs and decor by
- Visit our website and click “color search” or
- Upload an inspirational photo or type in a HEX color
- Search for paint & wallcoverings
- Select wallpaper to view options by your chosen color
- Find your perfect match and start your project today
Zakiya is a freelance lifestyle journalist, reporting on interior design, creativity, and sustainability.
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