How to Choose Wallpaper

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Perhaps the biggest single statement in any room--visually--is made by the walls. And, as your mother said, "If you can't say something nice..." The first step in saying something nice with your walls is to buy wallpaper made of the right material.

Things You'll Need

  • Wallpaper borders
  • Wallpaper
  • Wallpaper paste
  • Wallpaper accessories
  • Select the most common wallpaper--vinyl coated--for living rooms, family rooms and adult bedrooms.

  • Use more durable papers, such as heavy-duty vinyl-coated, solid vinyl or fabric-backed vinyl, for kitchens, bathrooms, children's bedrooms and high-traffic areas like hallways, entryways and mudrooms. These papers are much easier to clean and can take more abuse.

  • Choose colors and patterns that you like. See How to Choose Colors to Set a Mood and How to Combine Patterns in Decor.

  • Be sure to buy all rolls from the same dye lot, so that the colors and patterns will match.

Tips & Warnings

  • Test paper for a bathroom by lightly rubbing a section with a damp sponge to make sure the paper is colorfast.
  • Older types of wallpaper, such as untreated papers, foils, flocks, Mylar and fabrics, may be hard to find in part because they're not as popular as newer papers and in part because they don't always wear well.
  • If you lean toward stripes or plaids, remember that doors, windows and even whole rooms are often out of square. This fact may make it very difficult to carry the pattern cleanly throughout the room.

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