Choosing the right wallcovering -- and knowing how much to buy -- can be tricky. Use these tips to shop with success.
The wallcovering you choose can make a room appear bigger, warmer, and brighter (or vice versa), and even hide imperfect elements.
Take a Cue from Color Color can set the mood in a room. To make a space appear larger and the ceiling higher, pick patterns with cool-color backgrounds, such as green, blue, or violet. Soft cool colors suggest tranquillity, while intense cool colors are fresh and dramatic. Warm colors -- reds, yellows, and oranges -- live up to their name and actually make people feel warmer. These are a popular choice in colder climates and also work well in north-facing rooms. The more intense the color, the more excitement it will give to a room.
Play with Light In a north-facing room, dark hallway, or windowless space, look for wallcoverings that will reflect light around the room, such as patterns with light colors and those with metallic or iridescent inks. Also consider patterns with smooth surfaces, which reflect maximum light. Dark colors absorb light, making walls appear closer and the room smaller. Textured surfaces also tend to make a wall look darker.
Hide Flaws with Texture Patterns with real or perceived texture can hide or camouflage wall imperfections or architectural eyesores. Patterns with actual tactile surfaces include grass and string cloth, burlap, foil, expanded vinyl, and even fabric. Other papers simulate the look of marble, wood, leather, fabric, even animal skins. A pattern with a layered design also creates a perception of texture (such as a monochromatic damask design behind a floral pattern).
Consider how the room is used, and how often, when choosing wallpaper patterns.
Choose a Suitable Style For a formal look, choose large-scale patterns with dramatic colors. For a fun, bright style, pick small motifs that are open and regularly spaced, such as polka dots. Don't forget the decorative impact of borders. Available in all sorts of motifs and styles -- from sports scenes to pastoral views to wildlife images -- borders quickly establish the theme of a room.
Accent the Positive Stripes and other vertical patterns, which emphasize height, suggest dignity, vitality, and formality. Vertical patterns, including florals where the motif's shape suggests a V or a U, will make a ceiling appear higher. Horizontal patterns accent width, suggest quietness and repose, and make narrow rooms appear wider.
Scale for Success Small-scale patterns create a feel of spaciousness, while large-scale designs make rooms more intimate. To make an empty room look more furnished, pick large-scale patterns with bright colors and dark backgrounds. To give flat walls the look of depth, try a large, open dimensional pattern, such as a trellis design.
Mix and Match Wisely A room without pattern can bore, while a room with too many patterns can cause restlessness. When mixing stripes, florals, or plaids in a room or between adjacent areas, pick patterns that repeat the same color or values of that color. Wallcovering books usually group designs by color to make coordinating easy.
Follow these steps to determine how many rolls of wallcovering you'll need.
1. Calculate the wall space to be covered in square feet. Measure a wall from ceiling to floor and horizontally from corner to corner. Multiply those two figures. Repeat for remaining walls. Add the totals.
2. If you're covering a ceiling, calculate the square footage by multiplying the width of the floor by the length.
3. Divide each figure by 25 -- the average square footage in a standard single roll of wallpaper.
4. Subtract from the total one-half single roll for each window and door. The resulting figure is the final number of single rolls needed. Always round fractions to the next highest whole number. If your wallpaper comes in double rolls (most residential wallpapers do), divide this figure by 2.
Learn how to wallpaper successfully with these five tips. We are using peel and stick wallpaper but these application tips can be used with pasted wallpapers. Read the instructions and label before you begin. Calculate the square footage of the wall to determine how much wallpaper you'll need. Multiply the length of a wall in inches by the width in inches, divide by 144. Divide the total square footage by the square foot coverage listed on the roll of your wallpaper. Include square footage for doors and windows. This allows for matching patterns, waste and trimming. If your pattern has a large repeat, 12 inches or more, buy an extra roll to be sure you have enough for matching. Be sure the power is turned off. Remove outlet and switch covers. To allow for matching the pattern for repeat less than 6 inches, cut strips at least 6 inches longer than a desired length. Start in an inconspicuous upper corner. Leave a 3-inch over overhang at the top and bottom. Trim the excess with a wallpaper razor blade. Start applying the second and subsequent pieces starting at eye-level. Line up the pattern on the second strip with the first. Work the strip up and down from that point, lining up the pattern as you press it to the wall. If the pattern becomes mismatched, gently pull the paper back a few inches and realign it. And gently smooth it with your hands. Then use the brush in the same motion to continue removing bubbles. For stubborn air bubbles, gently peel back the wallpaper and reapply it to the wall. After positioning your paper strip, locate your outlet. Be sure the power is turned off, then carefully cut an X with a wallpaper razor over the box. Use scissors to trim the excess paper. Wallpapering is a project that takes patience. Just take your time and follow these simple tips, you'll get stunning results.