Wallpaper Buying Guide for Wallpaper Newbs

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Learn how to buy wallpaper!

I love wallpaper. If I could (aka hubby would be cool with it), I would have it in most of the rooms of my house.

Wallpaper adds so much life by bringing in pattern. I really love it in boring spaces, like hallways. You know, the spaces that no amount of paint will make good and that have no room for anything else. That’s why I chose wallpaper for my upstairs hallway.

However, when I went to buy it, I felt a bit lost when. There is a lot of terminology that I’m unfamiliar with, plus it’s a bit scary to make a commitment to something when wallpaper can be difficult to remove. There was a lot of research before I could purchase my beloved wallpaper, so today I’m sharing that info in a wallpaper buying guide.

wallpaper buying guide cheat sheet

Wallpaper Buying Guide

All wallpaper listings come with information. If the online store that you’re buying from doesn’t list the info, you can search the manufacturer’s website to learn more.

Important Wallpaper Terminology:

  • Double roll: Think of it like toilet paper. It just means that you get more of it. Twice as much to be precise. Typically around 33′ long. Depending on the repeat, it will cover between 3-4 drops on an 8′ wall.
  • Single roll: Typically around 16.5′ long. Depending on the repeat, it will cover between 1-2 drops on an 8′ wall.
  • Repeat: How often the pattern is repeated. You have to take this into account when figuring out how much paper to buy. There will be waste depending on the match style.

Adhesive types:

  • Ready pasted: This wallpaper comes with adhesive on it that. The paper has to be activated by soaking it in water. This wallpaper is pretty easy to apply.
  • Paste the wall: This wallpaper requires you to apply adhesive to the wall. If you can paint, you can do this.
  • Paste the paper: Also called adhesive to wallcoverings. This wallpaper requires you to apply the adhesive to the paper. This is a much more involved job, requiring at least 2 people.
  • Self-adhesive: This wallpaper is becoming more popular and is often billed as removable or apartment friendly.

Match styles:

  • Straight match: The wallpaper matches straight across
  • Free match: No matching required, no wallpaper is wasted.
  • Offset match: Also called “half drop”. The match is half of the repeat, offsetting how it lines up.

More Wallpaper Buying Tips

  • Pick a pattern that you love. This is not the time to settle for something because it’s less expensive. Save up for the real thing. Most stores offer sales if you sign up for the emails.
  • Measure, measure, measure. I used this calculator to determine how much wallpaper I would need. And I still made a mistake. Read more about how to correctly measure around doorways for wallpaper. 
  • Shop around for the best price. Anthropologie might have a great selection of beautiful wallpaper, but other stores carry the same wallpapers, often for way less money. Do a search for the paper’s name. For instance, Anthro charges almost $200 for Cole and Sons Woods wallpaper, but Wallpaper Direct has it for $130!
  • Always order samples. Every single sample that I have ordered has looked very different in person than online. Sometimes it’s a good difference; sometimes it’s not. What appears gray on the screen can look purple in your home.

Be sure to save my handy wallpaper buying guide to use in the future. Happy wallpaper buying!

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    1. Wallpaper does feel a little scarier to decide on. I haven’t hung mine yet, but I’m already looking at other places to hang it (even in rooms that don’t exist yet…) It’s a problem. I want it everywhere!

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