Home & Garden

How to wallpaper like a pro

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Home & Garden

How to wallpaper like a pro

Updating your home decor can seem like a costly and time-intensive task. But inexpensive updates, like hanging wallpaper, can take a room from drab to fab in no time!

If you haven't contemplated wallpaper before, you might want to consider this easy option for your home. Whether your style is bold and in your face or simple and subtle, there's a wallpaper pattern out there that would look right at home in your home.
 
Current wallpaper trends
Today's wallpapers have come a long way from the colours and patterns of yore. Wallpapers are now gorgeous and modern, and the wide selection means there's something for everyone.

Some of the hot new trends? According to Maria Raco – the owner of New Wall, a Canadian importer of fine wallcoverings – flocking, black stripes, urban patterns and plaids are hot right now. If you're more adventurous, you may want to consider animal skins such as crocodile, ostrich and reptile, or patterns involving flora and fauna. Prefer a solid colour? Navy, blue, black, white and silver are elegant choices, says Raco.
 
Choosing the wallpaper that's right for you
"When choosing the right texture and pattern for your space, keep in mind that smaller prints will offer a delicate backdrop, adding pattern and background colour at the same time," says Raco.

"Larger patterns offer a 'wow' factor, and when combined with a plain ceiling, you automatically get the sense of heightened ceilings. Textured wallpaper adds dimension to a space because it provides shadow, light effects and colour variances," she continues.
 
Finding your individual style
With so many patterns to choose from, you want to make sure you achieve your desired look before you get the wallpaper up on your walls. "Wallpapering should be about giving your space an individual style, and you can be as daring or traditional as you like," says Raco.

"In my opinion, it's not just about the pattern or design you choose, but rather how and where it is used. I suggest creating a design board, because once the mood of the space is established, choosing the right style of wallpaper will come more fluidly."

Raco recommends creating a design board that's a collection of photos and images taken from magazines and blogs, all of which inspire you and convey the look you're going for. "It's also really important to identify the colour palette you want to work with and to have a good sense of the furniture that will be in the space," she says.
Wallpapering kitchens and bathrooms
Beautiful wallpapers are gracing the walls of modern kitchens and bathrooms more and more. But before you jump on this trend, be sure to choose carefully. Raco recommends a vinyl wallpaper for high-moisture spaces. "Vinyl will resist warping, peeling and damage that can occur from the moisture," she says.
 
How much wallpaper do you need?
Before you get started, it's important to know how much wallpaper you'll need for your space. There are lots of online calculators to help you, but Raco recommends the following process that she says works every time:
 
1. Determine the square footage of each wall to be covered by multiplying the ceiling height by the wall width.
2. Add the square footage of all the walls together to get the total square footage to be covered.
3. Divide the total square footage number by 25 to determine how many single rolls you will need. The number 25 allows for a large repeat pattern, ensuring you will have plenty of wallpaper for your project.
4. All wallpaper is sold in Euro/double rolls. So after you get your number in Step 3, divide it by two to figure out how many Euro/double rolls you will need.
 
How to prep your space
Before you hang your wallpaper, be sure to get your space prepped. "Remove anything that will get in the way of achieving a flat, smooth, clean surface," says Raco. This means removing light-switch and outlet covers, wall hangings, hooks and screws.  Next, patch any holes in the wall and sand down any rough surfaces.

Priming essentials
"After this you are ready to prime the walls, something that is strongly recommended because it promotes adhesion, making it possible to hang wallpaper on surfaces that would not otherwise be so easy  – for example, glossy painted walls," says Raco. "Priming is also a good idea if you plan to remove or change the wallpaper later on, as it will allow the wallpaper to be stripped off more easily."
 
"But be sure to use a wallpaper primer versus a regular primer, because there is a difference between the two," cautions Raco. "After these important steps are completed you're ready to hang the wallpaper."
 
So – once you're ready, should you hang the wallpaper yourself? "I always suggest hiring a professional wallpaper installer because experience is key," says Raco.
 
5 wallpapering dos and don'ts
Raco shares these five tips to heed before you start wallpapering:
 
1. Double- and triple-check your calculations. 
2. Buy more wallpaper than you need.
3. Make sure all your rolls are from the same dye lot, run or batch number.
4. Carefully read the instructions on the label that comes with your wallpaper.
5. Hire a professional to install your wallpaper.
 
Natalie Bahadur is the senior editor of styleathome.com and a contributor to canadianliving.com.
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How to wallpaper like a pro

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