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The great wallpaper renaissance

I am old enough to remember my aunt's dining room with red flocked-velvet wallpaper.

I am old enough to remember my aunt's dining room with red flocked-velvet wallpaper. How I loved to go to her house and touch the velvety walls. I am also old enough to remember going to house as a young man and having to help remove that wallpaper. I remember thinking to myself that all the spraying and scraping in the summer heat would never be worth putting up wallpaper ever again in my lifetime.


They say that what goes around comes around, and I guess that holds true for even awful things like flocked wall coverings.


Luckily, wallpaper is coming back en vogue again and there have been some substantial improvements to what use to be. Papers are more durable, washable and they are easily removed to change our walls with latest fashion of the day. Just like when I was a boy, velvet wallpapers, beautiful, rich colours and metallic sheen is emerging as a trend again. Somehow its looking a bit fresher and more fashionable than I remember when I was a younger man.

Special paint primers will help create a better adhesion from paper to wall and also allow the paper to be removed easier with damage to the wall surface below. Choose a primer type that matches your preference to using oil or latex paints on your walls. Ask for the special primers at your paint store and be sure to include this step as an important preparation to pre-hanging your wall covering. When measuring for wallpaper remember that you always buy 20 per cent more than what you measure for. This will allow for matching up patterns and allowing a tiny bit extra.


Removing wallpaper from a properly primed wall is quite easy. When working with paper wall covering you can spray a special solution to soften the paper and loosen the glue, and the paper should peel off very easily. If working with a vinyl covering or a wall that has not been properly primed then a small tool that perforates the paper will help to get the solution in behind and loosen the glue. Within just a few minutes wait, the paper should be ready to peel off the walls.

There's an old designer secret to making smaller spaces appear visually larger -- add larger prints to fabrics, drapes, art and rugs, all of which are items that don't take up any physical space in a room. The larger print gives great impact. The big trend in wallcovering right now are large prints for impact but beware, most of the prints are overscaled traditional designs that help mock the tinier patterns of years gone by. Look for fabulous colours from fashion: teal, pink, chocolate brown and grey are just a few you'll see on the walls.

Where to use wallpaper

Front foyer
Go bold and dark. Wallpaper is a great way to add a splash of colour or tone to an entrance. Wall coverings with shine, texture and strong colours add incredible impact to a small entrance space. Hang a large mirror and add a show-stopper hanging light and you'll have all the drama you need.


Behind the headboard
Go light or dark, depending on the overall decor of the room. The best place to add wallpaper is behind the bed. A focal wall of paper will make the bed look more important and add some pattern or colour you might have been afraid to choose in the headboard, bedding or draperies. If your overall look is light and airy, then choose a paper that blends and vice versa.


Small dens or guest rooms
Be dramatic and cover all four walls to create an infinite look to the room. Paint the ceiling the background colour from the wallpaper to help make the room feel larger. If matching fabric is available then upholster the furniture with it to create a seemless designer look with wallpaper, paint and fabric.

Great side projects
Wallpaper the front of dresser drawers with leftover wallpaper to create a custom look in a room, wallpaper a boring slab door with a large scale, punchy-coloured paper to help add large, vertical art to a neutral room, or add wallpaper to the inside of a china cabinet or closet. Use very bright colours like orange or fuchsia to add a pop of surprise and wake up your tired china and crystal.

 
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