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Not Your Mother’s Wallpaper

Updated: Jan 5, 2022

There are still a lot of skeptics out there when it comes to wallpaper. I’m not going to say it’s always a safe bet, but if done right, there is so much potential to be realized. There is not a single room in the house that is off-limits to this design option but with all things, moderation is key. I wouldn’t recommend doing all four walls top to bottom in the room or all rooms in the house. While we will still want to keep those 80’s borders at bay, the quality of wallpapers has come a long way since your mother’s muted floral prints.

With some thoughtful consideration, it can be so much fun to add an element of surprise and intrigue to a space that paint or shiplap can‘t accomplish on it’s own. But before you make your final selections, taking these factors into consideration can help make the project less daunting and more of a rewarding experience for all who have the pleasure of entering your cozy, smart and beautiful home.

DON’T limit yourself to just patterns…DO consider humidity and cleaning needs. Textured wallpapers, like grasscloth, have a lot to offer your more sophisticated and grown-up spaces like dining rooms, living areas, and master bedrooms. Grasscloth is available now in so many beautiful colors! This style of wallpaper is also timeless, durable, and depending on your existing wall texture, you might be able to avoid extensive skimming. When considering bathrooms and kitchen spaces, you could opt for a paper that is conducive to water and wipe-ability. Vinyl options are not only durable but can also be easier to install.


DON’T cover the entire room in wallpaper…DO make sure you do the math!

There are lots of ways you can use wallpaper to achieve a more distinguished style besides just covering all the walls in a room. Maybe pick just one or two walls to cover, it makes it more of a purposeful statement rather than overwhelming the room and saves money too! Sometimes just using it on the interior of a panel or shelving is also a way to bring some personality to your space. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you have done your homework before placing your order. Knowing the size of the roll, if it’s a double roll (typical) or what the pattern repeat is will help you determine the amount you need. Always allow for waste and if it’s a mural, you will need the right number of panels to cover the desired space.


DON’T forget to consider your starting point…DO get the right paste for the job.

After you have chosen your wallpaper, take into consideration both the pattern and the print. You don’t want to leave just an inch before you get to the corner or have an awkward stop to the print. Also, be sure to read the manufacturer recommendations as they will often guide you on the specific type of paste (if it’s not a peel and stick) for the job. You don’t want to spend a lot on the paper only to have to buy more because you didn’t read the directions!


DON’T think you have to always play it safe…DO try before you buy.

It can be scary to go bold on a paper, but this means there is also more potential for a greater satisfaction in the end. We consider re-sale value a lot when renovating homes but you also want to impress and enjoy the spaces while YOU live in them, not your future buyer. And if they don’t care much for it, it can easily be replaced. But I think it could also be a selling feature if done right! Or if a rental property, I’m sure renters would appreciate something other than a blank wall to enjoy. Practicality has it’s purpose and while we suggest making sure it achieves a cohesive look with adjacent rooms, playing it too safe can fall short of the value of your efforts. That being said, it is highly recommended you get a swatch before buying paper online. We all have bought a rug or sweater that looked like a different color online and the same can happen with wallpaper. So before you drop a nice penny on the paper, take it for a test spin!


DON’T worry about the size of the room…DO consider the 5th wall!

Even small rooms deserve their due. Powder bathrooms, mudrooms, and studies are all great places to add some personality with a paper that shows off your design style. And you don’t have to limit yourself to the four walls of a room either! The ceiling is a perfect way to draw your eyes up and show off a vaulted ceiling or add an unexpected wow factor to a room.


DON’T assume quality of papers are all the same…DO consider all costs involved.

Certainly paper quality should be considered when making your selections, which is why a sample is also highly advised prior to purchase. However, the most expensive papers also don’t always mean the best quality. Many times your local ACE hardware will have books on hand so you can actually feel the paper yourself. If working on a budget, be sure to factor in the other costs such as labor for skimming or application if outsourcing, paste, and other supplies needed to complete the project before you begin.


We hope these tips are helpful and inspiring you to take the leap and dress up a room with a wallpaper that speaks to you. Southern Roots Living can help guide you on making the right selections that will transform your space into a beautiful room for your whole family to enjoy!

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