Wallpaper buying guide

Wallpaper buying guide
Chapters:
Guide written by:
Julie, Interior Designer, Manchester

Julie, Interior Designer, Manchester

22 guides
Whether you’re after simplex, vinyl or non-woven, finding a wallpaper can be tricky. To start, you have to consider the wallpaper’s application and care needs, and its resistance to stains and fading. Only once you’ve figured out all that should you pick a colour or pattern. Read on for more wallpaper tips!

Important features

  • Washable
  • Pattern repeat
  • Application
  • Light fastness

Choosing a wallpaper based on room type

RoomType of wallpaper
Living roomWashable paper
Entrance and hallwayWashable paper
BathroomMoisture-resistant wallpaper
Bedroom or officeAny type (washable wallpaper for a child's room)
KitchenStain- and moisture-resistance wallpaper

When selecting a wallpaper, you should take the following characteristics into account:

  • The wallpaper material;
  • The application method;
  • The wallpaper's resistance to moisture and fading.

The different types of wallpaper

Paper-based wallpaper


Paper-based wallpapers consist of one or several layers of paper and fall into three categories:

  • Simplex wallpaper is made of a single layer of paper;
  • Duplex wallpaper is composed of two layers of paper and is therefore stronger;
  • Vinyl features a higher weight per square metre (m²) making it more durable. It is also easier to maintain.

Non-woven wallpaper

Non-woven wallpaper is composed of textile fibres and comes in two different types:

  • Vinyl-based non-woven;
  • Paper-based non-woven: the easier of the two to hang as the wallpaper paste is applied directly to the wall.

Paintable wallpaper

Paintable wallpaper allows you the option of applying the paint of your choice over the wallpaper once hanging is complete. This type of wallpaper is not to be confused with glass-fibre wall coverings which offer greater resistance but also usually feature pre-printed patterns. Self-adhesive wallpapers are also readily available and are especially suitable for bordersdecorative stickers and magnetic wallpaper.

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Wallpaper symbols


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Light fastness (resistance to fading by light exposure)


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Pattern matching


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Application methods 


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Removal method


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Other symbols 


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Calculating how many rolls of wallpaper you need

How many rolls of free match wallpaper do I need?


  1. Firstly, determine the number of strips you require by dividing the combined width of the walls you want to cover by the width of a roll of wallpaper.
  2. Then work out how many strips you can get out of a roll. To calculate this, divide the length of the roll by the height of the wall. I
  3. Find out how many rolls you require overall by dividing the total number of strips (step 1) by the number of strips per roll (step 2).

How many rolls of offset wallpaper do I need?

  1. Firstly, determine the number of strips you require by dividing the combined width of the walls you want to cover by the width of a roll of wallpaper.
  2. Then work out how many strips you can get out of a roll. To calculate this, divide the length of the roll by the height of the wall. In this case, however, you will have to add the pattern repeat (noted on the packaging) and an additional 6 cm (for levelling) into the equation.
  3. Find out how many rolls you require overall by dividing the total number of strips (step 1) by the number of strips per roll (step 2).


With the decision-making part out of the way, it’s easy enough to hang the wallpaper yourself as long as you are armed with the proper wallpapering tools, a bit of know-how and a lot of patience!

  • Guide written by:

    Julie, Interior Designer, Manchester 22 guides écrits

    Julie, Interior Designer, Manchester
    After years of DIY, renovation, designing, I decided to turn my passion into my career.

    Starting in 2006, in the South-West, I helped people with renovation or contruction projects. My expertise and my curiosity led me to look further into innovative ideas for myself and my clients.

    Indeed, to live your passion is also to transform the space you live in and the objects you use daily. My family love my creations and ideas that I bring into their lives!

    My favourite thing to do: use colour to brighten up interior space. But also tips to hide away clutter. Your home is just never big enough, is it? It is thus a great pleasure to share my tips with you, so that you also can take as much pleasure as I do when starting up your next project!  

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