Ask the Designer

“My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go!”
Identify with this famous exclamation from Oscar Wilde? Well you don’t have to! Long gone are the old-fashioned, often over-wrought, wallpapers of the past. Today, there are a myriad of fresh designs and colors to choose from, and countless inventive ways to incorporate them tastefully into your rooms. So before you grab that can of paint, stop and consider the versatility, personality, and style a new wallpaper could bring to your home. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Wall-to-Wall Style

Transform your space with a modern wallpaper.

By Haskell Matheny, ASID, CAPS, LEED GREEN ASSOCIATE

Full PDF here.

“My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go!”
Identify with this famous exclamation from Oscar Wilde? Well you don’t have to! Long gone are the old-fashioned, often over-wrought, wallpapers of the past. Today, there are a myriad of fresh designs and colors to choose from, and countless inventive ways to incorporate them tastefully into your rooms. So before you grab that can of paint, stop and consider the versatility, personality, and style a new wallpaper could bring to your home. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

When Choosing:
Start with samples. Always order these when you start looking at choices. Many companies will offer them for free, while others will provide larger samples for a minimal charge. Buy two samples and place them side by side for a more realistic view of their respective colors and patterns. You wouldn’t consider painting a room without trying some samples. Why would you wallpaper a room without them?
Consider your pattern. Know that your wallpaper pattern will have repercussions on the perceived size of your room. For example, a large repeat pattern of bold design may become overwhelming in a small room, especially if the ceiling is less than 10 feet tall. For short ceilings, a striped paper or a paper with a vertical design can give the illusion of more height.
Consider your texture. For high-traffic areas like hallways that can show abuse from scratches and “little hands” running across the walls, think about going with textured wallpaper. Many of today’s hippest papers are highly textured with raised surfaces and hardwearing finishes. They’re more durable than paint and can hide a lot of abuse.
Look out for panels. Many grass cloths and textured papers will “panel,” meaning, you can still see their individual panels and seams after they’re installed. While pleasing to some, other homeowners find this look bothersome and distracting. So be warned!

Get Creative!    
So, now that you’ve found a great choice, it’s time to let the fun begin! Part of the joy of wallpaper design is deciding where to put it. Today’s patterns lend themselves to being used in ways that are not only eye-catching, but economical, too. Here are a few:
For an accent wall. A fun option is to use an interesting paper to draw the eye to one wall. This way, you can benefit from a bold pattern or color without being overwhelmed by it. Consider using wallpaper to create an accent wall behind a bed or sofa or on a stairwell or landing.
In unexpected places. Think about using wallpaper for the back of a bookcase, inside a pantry or closet, or on a ceiling to add color and drama to a space. It’s amazing how much impact just a few rolls of paper can have! (An added bonus is that you can cover up cracks and stains, too.)
As artwork. Another cool option is to think of your favorite wallpaper as art. Whether it’s geometric or floral, you can create framed art by just papering the area you want and adding a frame or molding. It’s a great way to create an inexpensive, unique piece for your walls.
Haskell Matheny, ASID, CAPS, LEED GREEN ASSOCIATE is the owner and principal designer of Haskell Interiors, located in historic downtown Cleveland, TN. Visit www.haskellinteriors.com.