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Texture and Design: Wallpaper Shopping Made Simple

by Tom Grant on Feb 4, 2015

Wallpapering can "save" a room, providing an inexpensive facelift for the space. Still, picking wallpaper that's going to work isn't easy considering the thousands upon thousands of options retailers sell. These tips can make the shopping process much less stressful.

Set a clear budget.

Elements like material and adhering method have a big effect on how expensive wallpaper is. Be honest with yourself about how much you can spend before you ever start looking at samples, and remember that stores usually sell wallpaper rolls in pairs.

Establish your main wallpapering goal.

Figuring out the main job your wallpaper has to do - for instance, hiding imperfections - immediately reduces the number of acceptable wallpapers. It also forces you to create a mental vision of what you want your space to be. Remember here that you have two choices that relate to the budget you've accepted - either go for one or two accent walls in more expensive wallpaper, or do the entire room in something cheaper.

Note what's in the room you'll cover.

Wallpaper pulls your room together, unifying whatever's in it. Decide what décor will be focal points. Then match the style and color of the wallpaper to those items. Realistically, in a brick-and-mortar store, you're probably not going to remember the exact color of your favorite furnishings or decorations at home, so as the Wallcoverings Association suggests, put together a "match-to" binder you can bring along that has some swatches or pictures of items you want the wallpaper to blend to. This way, you don't lug home sample after sample that doesn't work from different retailers.

Consider how you use the space you're going to wallpaper.

Different spaces can have very different purposes and traffic levels, which can force you to learn to certain wallpaper types or designs. For example, if you're working on a kids' room, you'll probably need a wallpaper that's easy to clean. In your bathroom, however, your main concern might be the wallpaper's ability to handle moisture.

Search options online and then pull books.

Many retailers, such as Graham & Brown, present the wallpapers they have in well-organized online galleries. Look through these galleries before going to the brick-and-mortar stores to find colors and patterns you think might be good options. Write down the information for the wallpapers you like, such as the book number, pattern number and page number. When you get to the shop, have a representative pull the books for only those wallpapers so you can compare them to what's in your "match to" binder.

View samples in your home.

Once you've made some in-person comparisons using a retailer's books, ask for samples you can take home for the wallpapers you still like. The lighting in stores simply is not the same as you'll have at home, so you need to see how the wallpaper is going to work where you're going to install it. If you decide to order, make sure all your rolls have the same dye lot number, as Lowes suggests. Doing this ensures that the color and patterning is uniform through all the wallpaper you get.


Wallpapering is a viable alternative to painting, provided you know how to shop for good choices. With these tricks, you'll have the perfect design on your walls within your budget fast.



Tom Grant

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