Not your grandma's wallpaper anymore

Wallpaper - we all love to hate it, but let's be honest, many of us secretly covet certain types, styles and looks. The biggest problem most people have with wallpaper is that putting it up is a lot of work for a look that we may tire of within a few years - and it's even harder to take down.

However, wallpaper is another relatively simple wall treatment that gives any home a polished, professional look and a cozy feel.

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According to the Wallcovering Association, there are four basic and commonly used wallpaper categories.

Vinyl-Coated Paper

It's scrubbable, strippable and works almost anywhere. It's also the most common type of wallpaper because it is resistant to grease and moisture, which makes it ideal for kitchens and bathrooms.

Coated Fabric

This "breathable" wallpaper is best suited for living areas because they are low-moisture rooms.

Paper-Backed Vinyl / Solid Sheet Vinyl

The decorative surface on this type of wallpaper is a solid sheet of vinyl, so it's scrubbable and peelable. It also resists moisture, stains and grease, but it's not very durable and won't hold up against hard physical abuse.

Fabric-Backed Vinyl

Made of solid vinyl, it has high washability, scrubability and durability.

Paintable Wallpaper

Paintable wallpaper is a new trend in wall coverings. It goes up like any standard wallpaper but is meant to be painted. You get the pattern you like with the benefit of matching your home's color scheme to a tee.

Wallpaper Borders

Wallpaper borders are simply long, narrow strips of wallpaper used to edge a wall, ceiling, doorway or window. Borders can be made from vinyl, fabrics such as cotton or linen, foil, silk, dried flowers and grass, painted stencils and much more and are often placed strategically along walls to lengthen or tighten a room. Wall borders are also commonly placed mid-point along walls to accentuate wainscoting or wood paneling, and narrow borders are effective for outlining windows and doors.

Handy Hints

  • All wallpaper is priced by the single roll, but sold only by the double roll.
  • Dye lot numbers must match up when purchasing multiple rolls of wallpaper to ensure matching color pallets.
  • Add a couple of inches to the wall measurements you've taken before buying paper, just in case you made an error.
  • The patterns in wallpaper must match up at all seams to get a polished, professional look.
  • Small tears in wallpaper don't render the piece useless - just reconnect the pieces on the wall and smooth over with your finger, and the tear won't be noticeable at all.
  • Prepare walls for wallpapering by sanding smooth, wiping clean and allowing the surface to dry thoroughly before hanging the paper.
  • To take down wallpaper you should score the paper first with a Paper Tiger (a handheld device with toothed wheels that tear at the paper,) which will allow either the chemicals of a stripping agent or the steam of a steamer to saturate the paper. Either of these methods will dissolve the glue and the paper can then be scraped away.

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