Select the Perfect Wallpaper

Choosing the right wallcovering -- and knowing how much to buy -- can be tricky. Use these tips to shop with success.
Choices for Changes

Borders can change the
architectural look of a room.

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).

Continued on page 2:  Pattern Plays