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Wallpapering The Right Way - Part 1

Dec 11, 2007
Everyone knows how to wallpaper, so it would seem. It is easy to do a bad job, but there's more to getting the perfect finish than most people think.

The first, and often the most difficult, wallpapering problem are choosing the paper. Nevertheless, before you do anything else, estimate the number of rolls you will need. If anything it is better to over estimate - retailers will usually accept back an unused roll providing it is in good condition. However, cost in relation to quantity is often the overriding factor when it comes to making a choice.

Apart from cost, colour, texture and pattern are the main considerations. The wrong wallpaper can ruin a room; the right one can produce dramatic improvements in its appearance.

Colour:
Very bright, cheerful colours are best for kitchens and workrooms where you are unlikely to spend time sitting back and relaxing, but where it is nice to have a lively atmosphere. Warm and soft tones are good in living rooms where they act more as a backdrop to furnishings. Similarly, bedroom décor should be conducive to sleep. If you have a small or dark room, try a light colour to make the room feel more spacious. The same principle applies for a large room - dark colours will make it look smaller.

Texture:
Textured wallpapers have again become very popular. Some are plain and designed to be painted with emulsion, others are already tinted. They are useful for hanging on walls in poor condition as their texture often covers up imperfections. Naturally textured wall hangings like Hessian and cork tend to be expensive buy are anyway best used in moderation - such as on a feature wall. They make a particularly effective background for houseplants.

Pattern:
Patterned papers usually have a dominant colour with one or perhaps two sympathetic colours or tones included to make up the pattern. Pick out one colour that is already in the room - the carpet for instance - and match it to the colour in the wallpaper. To give an illusion of height is a low room, use vertical stripes. To give the illusion of length, use horizontal stripes. However, if the doors or walls are at all out of true, use a small dense pattern to disguise this.

Types of paper
Not all papers are suitable for all rooms or surfaces. Consider the following points before making your decision.

Uneven surfaces: Hang a lining paper first in horizontal strips (at right angles to the wallpaper). Lining paper comes in various weights but you may as well get the thicker 600 and 800 grades, which are easier to hang.

Condensation: Where there is likely to be condensation, such as in a bathroom or kitchen, use vinyl or washable paper. Vinyl's are made from PVC with a paper backing and can be wiped with a damp sponge. Washables are resin coated and can be scrubbed.

Heat-reflective papers: These are designed to cut down heat loss through the walls - and hence save energy. They may also reduce condensation. Hang as conventional papers.

Painting: Hang a lining paper vertically before painting a wall. For a textured surface, there are any amount of woodchip or embossed papers which are designed to be painted.
About the Author
Johan Nickson is a DIY expert at Dewalt Power Tools
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