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How to choose your wallpaper

Wallpapers have made a comeback to interior design.  No longer is paint the only option for creating personality in interiors, there are now a plethora of options available to the residential and commercial interior designer/decorating enthusiast.

In a wide range of options, wallcoverings allow you to add a personal touch to your home interiors by way of colour, texture and pattern.  Let your imagination run wild!

As an element within an overarching design concept, wallpapers are now easily washable and work well paired with painted walls and other interior furnishings.  The minimal effort of installing wallpaper – compared to the painting process, means you can quickly turn around a room in a day.

Furthermore, there are wallpaper options suited to every room in the house, whether that be kitchen, laundry, bathroom, living or sleeping spaces as well as commercial projects.

Before you make your wallpaper choice there are things you will need to consider:

  • Size of the space?
  • Conditions of your walls – they need to be prepped and in good condition before hanging, otherwise imperfections easily show.
  • Ensure you have a few rolls spare for any contingency.
  • Vinyls are the best choice for a novice wallpaper hanger. They are easy to hang, easy to maintain – durable, soil resistant, and easy to clean. They’re even easy to remove.
  • Flocked papers are good choices for covering walls that have minor surface imperfections due to their raised, velvety patterns. Washable flocks are easier to install than non-washable ones, however both are expensive and installation requires a professional.
  • Always select samples to see how the pattern and colours suit the actual room or use online visualiser tools to see the design on a digital room.

What does the GSM wallpaper measurement mean?

GSM stands for grams per square meter and is the weight of the paper and/or laminate. A simple paper is typically described by a single number, i.e. 120, 130, 150 GSM, etc. However a laminated wallpaper such as PVC vinyl can be made up of two distinct layers and consequently may be denoted by two figures, such as 80/90, 100/120, 120/200. The first figure denoting the paper weight, the second the vinyl.

The logic of paper being measured by weight is that it is not possible to accurately measure it by thickness. All paper is processed through a series of rollers during manufacturing that effectively squashes the sheet as thin as desired. However, the weight of the paper, regardless of how many times it is squashed, remains constant. This can bluntly be viewed as the higher the gsm, equates to higher density (more weight for the same thickness), potentially being higher quality.  However, there is a lot more to it than that such as the various wallpaper types available.

WALLPAPER TYPES

NON-WOVEN UNCOATED SUBSTRATES

Non-woven, often referred to as ‘paste-the-wall’, products do not have paper as the base and instead are made of a synthetic blend, making this more dimensionally stable than the paper-based options.

Non-wovens tend to have a soft fabric-like feel to them and have the design qualities of an uncoated paper.  Their real benefits, however, are in the hanging. Because there’s no expansion when adhesive is applied, there is no need to leave the paper to soak-out like conventional papers. So, you can paste the wall instead of the back of the paper. This allows it to be hung directly from the roll, making hanging a lost easier and less messy.

UNCOATED PAPERS

An uncoated paper is a wood fibre sheet that has no noticable surface coating on it. The face of the paper is therefore fairly rough when compared to coated papers. The paper face is calendered (flattened) to give it a degree of smoothness for printing. Uncoated papers are valued and loved for their soft aesthetic qualities. They’re generally best suited to a space that has relatively low foot traffic and no moisture issues, e.g. living rooms, dining rooms or bedrooms. Generally uncoated papers can be sponge cleaned with a damp cloth, however care needs to be taken not to damage the surface.

COATED PAPERS

A coated paper has the same fibrous backing layer as uncoated paper, but with a very smooth light vinyl coating applied that is simple and can be printed upon.

Coated papers are a good compromise between uncoated and heavy vinyls. They can be used in most interiors as the coating gives a reasonable level of protection against moisture, marking and general wear.  They can be lightly sponged with a mild soap if scuffed.  However, they cannot withstand rough abrasives or cleaning detergents.  They will also not react well to solvents, fats and greasy foods.  This, combined with everyday moisture resistance, makes coated papers generally unsuitable for bathrooms, kitchens and anywhere with high humidity.

Coated papers are an excellent general-purpose wallpapering option for most areas of the home.

PVC (HEAVY VINYL) COATED PAPERS

PVC coated papers, or vinyls as they’re more commonly known, consist of a heavy fibrous backing layer with a soft, flexible PVC coating on top. The vinyl wallcovering is printed with the design when it is still in a smooth state; it’s not until after it’s been printed that it is ‘embossed’ to create the textured surface. 

Vinyls are hard wearing and hang beautifully, due mainly to the combined weight and strength of the PVC and paper layers. Vinyls have a PVC coating that is moisture resistant and are suitable for high humidity rooms, such as bathrooms and kitchens. They offer some degree of impact resistance and are therefore better suited than any of the other papers for the rough and tumble of family life or high traffic zones. Generally heavy vinyls can be scrubbed clean without damage.

Vinyls perform exceptionally well and are generally much heavier than standard papers because they have two significant layers. Popular in commercial use due to their good fire ratings and durability, their opportunity for use around the home should not be underestimated. Another benefit of vinyl is during redecoration, the PVC top layer is peelable and will pull off, if not in one complete strip, at least in big pieces. Once this is removed the backing layer can be made wet and easily scraped off.

What about Design?

One of the most important factors in choosing wallpaper is selecting a design you like.  You will need to make sure that the print/pattern works in the space that you plan to cover. Here are some basic style tips:

  • Any vertical design element (stripes/patterns) will elongate a space, so the ceiling appears higher.
  • Conversely, horizontal design elements will provide a wide perspective to the room, lowering the ceiling’s appearance.
  • Large patterns generally overpower smaller rooms as they shrink the perspective, overall the look is better achieved in a larger space.
  • A mini-print or a paper with a small pattern or geometric design suits smaller walls.
  • Colour is important with darker colours effectively shrinking a room, while wallpapers with a light background expands the perception of the room.

So, there you have it, a succinct guide to selecting wallpapers for a project. For further information on our range of wallpapers visit our website here or learn more about how to maintain and care for your wallpapers here.

 

See our full range of wallpapers here.

So, you’ve finally chosen that fabulous wallpaper to showcase your style but how do you best look after it to keep it looking fresh and clean? 

Many a foreign object can flick onto the surface of the wallpapers in your home that can range from food to crayon to fly spray, the list goes on.   Like any textile, wallpapers do need a little bit of love every now and then, a regular wipe down with a clean cloth should keep dust and marks at bay however there are times when there may be the need for a more deeper clean.