BY BEN BRANNEN
Wallpaper is a designer’s secret weapon — it instantly creates a mood and palette for a room. Designers call it a “jumping-off point” because it nails down many of the decisions essential for creating a cohesive look.
Elements of its colour scheme can be used throughout the rest of the room. For example, you can pull darker or lighter values of its colour to use on the ceiling and trimwork.
Why choose wallpaper? When used correctly, wallpaper brings style, character, history and elegance to a home. It can instantly finish a room and also add a valuable focal point. In some cases, it can even replace the need for artwork in a space.
Many hotels use wallpaper exclusively as their finish of choice for walls. While the wallpaper helps create the desired ambience, it also protects the walls from frequent cleaning and general abuse. Vinyl is usually chosen as it is thicker, pliable, water resistant and hard-wearing. The same attributes can be helpful in your home to protect high-traffic areas from wear and tear.
The Finer Details
Wallpaper comes in a variety of dimensions and price points. A double roll will cover approximately 50 square feet (not taking into account a pattern repeat). Sizes range from 21″ wide by 11 yards long to 27″ wide by 9 yards long to 36″ wide and sold by the yard. The wider the paper, the fewer the seams. Basic anaglypta paper (meant to be painted) can cost as little as $75 a roll, while hand-painted silk paper can run to thousands of dollars.
Whenever possible, I recommend using a professional installer, who can come to your home, measure the room and recommend the amount of paper to order for the project.
Top Trends to Try
There are no “rules” on how to use wallpaper in interior design, but here are some guidelines based on how today’s designers use wallpaper to create magnificent rooms.
• The number-one use of wallpaper is to add a feature wall in your living room, dining room or bedroom, using a wallpaper with a bold, striking design.
• Wallpaper your powder room. This is a safe area to make a splash and surprise your guests. Be sure to use a bold pattern and cover all of the walls. A fully papered powder room gives the feeling of entering a jewelry box. All you need is a mirror over the sink to finish it off.
• Use grasscloth or vinyl wallpaper to protect high-traffic areas like a hallway, stairwell or even the family room. Along with added protection, these papers add texture and some acoustic absorption.
• Apply a wallpaper to the back of a bookshelf or built-in cabinet to add some visual interest. Choose a bold colour or graphic pattern that makes you look at the background as well as the objects you are decorating your shelves with.
• White is a classic in kitchens, but it often needs a little something to warm it up. Adding a textured or patterned wallpaper to inject personality and charm is an emerging trend in interior design.
• Along with the abundance of mid-century modern elements and furnishings comes a companion wallpaper that complements it — Scandinavian Chic. Scandinavian designs often present a fresh, cool palette along with rustic modern nature elements.
Make it Personal
However you decide to adorn your walls, remember it’s the diversity of uses and pattern combinations that make wallpaper so interesting.