To Wallpaper or Not To Wallpaper ?

On December 5th, 2009, posted in: Miscellaneous by

About thirty years ago I learned how to hang residential wallpaper, fabrics and commercial vinyl wall coverings. I understood the value in commercial applications but always struggled with wallpaper in homes because of all the negative aspects that came along with it. Some of the obvious negatives are visible seams, bubbles, peeling, repairing damaged areas, and the worst is when it comes time to redecorate and you need to remove the wallpaper. This is almost always a difficult and messy job. Many times people try to avoid this by painting over it. I don’t recommend doing this because it creates more problems that it solves.

Aside from these problems, I found many of the patterns to be overstated, or they did not create harmony for the space. I appreciate creating a theme or time period, but aside from that type of application, I often felt many of the patterns to be a distraction rather than adding value. Adding VALUE is a requirement of any design element. Some of the components that make up value in my world are Authenticity (design in context with architecture and other fixtures), Harmony (create balance and compliment rather than distract), Economics ( if cost is a major factor and a poor finish is the result, try something else) and finally, positives should ALWAYS outweigh the negatives.

Years ago I learned the art of decorative painting. It quickly became clear to me that I could offer my clients the “look” of wallpaper, while eliminating all of the negative aspects. When a client called me to install wallpaper, I would suggest a decorative finish, or to recreate the wallpaper they liked using paint. Painting the finish gave us control of color and design while eliminating all of the other difficulties.

So before you decide to use wallpaper, think about a painted finish instead. A painted finish will not only offer a wide range of options, it will be easier to maintain and when it’s time to redecorate…just paint over it.

For more ideas on wall finishes, color and design, please visit my website at:

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