How to work wallpaper into the home

Wallpaper is a speedy, fashion-forward solution to fixing dull and dreary walls.

Off the wall

Wallpaper is enjoying a resurgence – and no wonder. Quick, inexpensive and easy to D.I.Y, wallpaper injects life and texture into walls, speedily transforming a blank canvas into a personal statement. “The power of pattern, texture and colour is electric,” says Paula Taylor from Graham & Brown. “It can awaken the senses and enhance your mood. And now wallpaper is so easy to hang, it’s a great way to breathe new life into your home.” 

Material matters

For wallpaper that’s both breathable and washable, you can’t go past non-woven wallpapers (try the range by Graham & Brown). Made of a blend of natural and synthetic fibres, they’re the most user-friendly coverings going, as they’re tear resistant and easy to both install and remove. Vinyl wallpapers, such as those from the Designer JMD collection, are washable, durable and light-resistant, making them perfect for kitchens and bathrooms. But they don’t allow walls to breathe, so are best avoided in bedrooms and poorly ventilated spaces.

If texture is what you’re craving, consider an embossed wallpaper like those from the Superfresco paintable collection, which can add depth and an interesting contrast, as well as allowing you to create your own striking colour scheme; embossed wallpaper looks particularly stylish in rich, dark colours. Textured wallpaper also works wonders at hiding wall defects such as scratches and cracks, but installation can be more difficult and it’s harder to remove when you want to try a new look.

Grey and white gingham pattern wallpaper in a bedroom

Paste-the-wall wallpapers are simple to hang and to replace – just strip off without scraping or steaming.

Easy installation

If you’re going D.I.Y., the new technology behind paste-the-wall paper means anyone can confidently install it, unlike the more traditional wallcoverings where you need to paste the paper itself. “Paste-the-wall wallpapers have a unique backing paper that doesn’t need to be soaked with adhesive prior to hanging,” explains Eva Bowker from Fantastic Handyman. “This makes it much easier to install.” 

Measure up

Getting the right amount of wallpaper is crucial, so do your sums carefully. First, decide if you’re papering the whole room or just one wall. Online calculators are helpful here, but as a rough guide, measure the width of each wall and divide by 52cm (a standard roll width) to get the number of drops. Measure the height of the space, adding 15cm to allow for trimming, and multiply by the number of drops to get the required amount in metres. “If you’re using patterned paper, you’ll need a bit extra to play around with so you can match it perfectly,” adds Eva Bowker. Always overestimate, rather than underestimate. It’s important that all the rolls come from the same batch (check the number on the roll), as colours can vary.

Safari animals wallpaper in a study

Create a statement wall with a playful pattern.

Water resistant wallpaper

Contrary to popular belief, you can use wallpaper in wet areas like the kitchen and bathroom – but choose one that is water-resistant. “Look for a thick vinyl coating, which is designed to divert any moisture,” says Eva. In the kitchen, you could use wallpaper to demarcate dining areas, or line the back of shelves to give a glimpse of colour. For a spa-like feel in your bathroom, look to patterns that mimic nature, like oversized botanical prints or the iconic banana-leaf pattern. 

Pink wallpaper in a lounge room

Five ways to wallpaper

Look up: There’s no statement ceiling quite like a wallpapered one. This is your chance to add personality to your space without disrupting your existing scheme. Wild florals and dramatic damasks look spectacular on the ceiling. 

Stairway to heaven: Wallpapered stair risers make the staircase a place you’ll want to stop and linger. You can stick with one pattern or choose a solid colour and repeat it in varying hues as the stairs ascend. 

Feature it: Limiting your wallpaper to one wall gives the pattern a playfulness it might not have in a whole room. “Trending now are geometrics, tropical and industrial brick,” says Paula Taylor. Check out how we have transformed a bedroom using wallpaper.

Small slice:
Wallpaper can have as much impact in the in-between places. Use a favourite paper to cover the backs of cabinets and bookcases, on top of shelves or inside drawers – you’ll smile every time you pull out a plate. 

Break the mould: Use a geometric wallpaper to draw attention to your home’s architectural features, such as moulding, trim and panels. You could try a mid-century pattern on wall panels, a hint of colour inside recessed window frames, or a textured paper above a fireplace.

Turn your blank canvas into a statement

Check out your local Bunnings store for all your wallpaper needs to transform your walls today.

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