Ever since buying our first home back in late November 2020, I’ve been dying to add some flair with wallpaper. Wallpaper was absolutely a big home decor trend back in the 70’s and 80’s, with entire homes plastered in random bold prints. Wallpaper today, dare I say it, is done a little more tastefully. From funky powder rooms to accent walls, wallpaper is a fun way to personalize your home.
Our home may not be our forever home, so I’ve been debating how we can make it feel like ours without totally sinking loads of money into it that we’ll never get back. Wallpaper was my big solution. I’m absolutely in love with how our first dip into wallpapering went and wanted to share how you can use wallpaper to totally transform a room.
The first question my mom asked me when I told her we were going the home wallpaper route was – why not just paint instead? While wallpaper was a huge hit in the 70’s and 80’s, it seems like by the 90’s homeowners were leaving the past behind. Painting entire rooms or accent walls became the number one way to add flair to a room.
The installer we hired confirmed this! She said she had a huge several decade long gap in work after the 80’s when people realized an entire wallpaper home felt aggressive – but that she’s now busy almost every single day of the week with people wallpapering accent walls, powder rooms, and hallways.
I distinctly remember when I was a community college student still living at home with my parents and they decided to paint the entire house. It was such a production. Furniture had to be moved out and around, things were covered and unreachable, and most of my family vacated the house for the duration of the project. Painting requires time for primers and multiple coats to dry. Paint may also come with an added cost if multiple people are needed to professionally execute.
Wallpapering can have some of these costs – but it doesn’t have to. Wallpaper frequently has little to no dry down time, meaning the time for installation is often much less than painting. Wallpaper also can often be installed without the help of a professional. Many brands offer peel and stick options that are easy for DIY and come at a relatively low cost.
Painting really requires you to either own your own home or have landlord permission. Painting is more permanent, while wallpaper can be temporary. Peel and stick options are often easy to remove leaving no damage behind – perfect for renters.
Another reason renters may love opting for wallpaper is because it’s an easy, damage-free way to make a space you don’t own feel like a “real” home. Wallpaper is often viewed as an extra, added detail that can personalize a room.
Paint obviously comes in loads of color, so whether orange, blue, brown, or pink is your vibe – there’s a paint shade out there for you. Wallpaper, on the other hand, has even more variety. Prints and patterns are absolutely endless. Wallpapers can come in very classic patterns in muted colors or even come in more specialized prints that pay homage to everything from books to movies.
Selecting wallpapers for home can be tricky! These simple tips will help you evaluate if it’s the right print, pattern, or paper for you.
The labor needed to install peel and stick vs classic wallpaper is pretty substantial. Peel and stick wallpapers are incredibly easy to DIY. If you absolutely love a pattern of a classic wallpaper, but don’t want to hire help or are nervous about DIY installation, it may actually make sense to pass over that print and go with peel and stick. You’ll really want to consider your confidence with your installation skills or budget for hiring help, which will likely impact selecting peel and stick papers vs classic.
Always order a sample of the wallpaper you’re considering prior to purchase and installation! I cannot stress this point enough. The photos of a specific print or pattern may look one way online vs in person. Color tones may read differently under different lighting. The worst possible outcome is you pay a high price for your wallpaper only to hate it after it’s installed. Ordering a free sample beforehand can help you and your wallet avoid a whole lot of pain and heartache. Request a sample before you order a roll!
When selecting a wallpaper for a space, I always consider the size of the area along with the size of the wallpaper pattern or print. Some larger rooms like a living room can really carry large scale prints well. In tiny spaces, large prints may become lost or cut off too much to really read properly.
I’m currently in the process of selecting wallpapers for our two “guest” bathrooms. One of the rooms is a half bathroom in a tight space, so I love the idea of doing this black wallpaper with a medium/small size repeat pattern. I love a dark, cozy powder room vibe. For our larger, full guest bathroom upstairs, I think the space can really handle a larger scale print. I love this Alice in Wonderland themed wallpaper – the print is decently sized and would add a ton of whimsy to the space.
The biggest factor that will impact the cost of your wallpaper project is if you will need the help of a professional for installation. I live in the Bay Area where pricing isn’t exactly low – the project minimum for installation from ALL vendors that gave me quotes was $500. You may end up falling out of love with a specific wallpaper you have in your cart if the cost of installation is 3-5x that of the wallpaper itself. Trust me – I definitely paused for a second to consider.
While it may be tempting to opt out of installation, for classic wallpapers and/or wallpapers with complex, repeat drop patters – I highly recommend you invest in professional installation. You could end up spending more money in the long run attempting a tough DIY installation and ruining your wall or wallpaper in the process.
The first room I attacked with my wallpaper dreams was our guest room. Our guest room has a Queen sized bed, a walk in closet, and also doubles as my office since we don’t have regular guests.
Because this is my new at home work space, I really wanted to finally create a space that felt inspiring. I absolutely fell in love with the Bay Area Toile wallpaper by Flavor Paper. Flavor Paper has so many unique wallpaper options, so whether you’re Bay Area based like me or have a love of other cities (like LA or New York) – they’ve got a collection of destination wallpapers for everyone. You can also shop various other non-destination based prints and patterns on the Flavor Paper site…but I just couldn’t get over how cool this Bay Area Toile was. I moved to San Francisco in 2011 and have stuck around the area since graduating college. I love looking over the amazing Bay Area icons featured in this fun print.
This wallpaper choice was a bit of an investment and does have a fairly intricate drop print, so we opted to hire professionals to come and install. Installation went really well. Our home does have textured walls, so the installers utilized a liner prior to putting up our Flavor Paper wallpaper to ensure a smooth application. In total, installation probably took the team of two somewhere around three hours.
I have absolutely no regrets about bucking up to pay for professional installation. Our wallpaper looks absolutely perfect and the installation team was much more thoughtful in their pattern placement than I think we would have been had we chosen to go the DIY route. The team actually walked me through strategically how they would start cutting and placing pieces prior to installing, really taking care not to cut off any of the faces in the print in odd places.
If you’re into in the need of an aesthetic wallpaper or cool wallpapers in general, I highly recommend perusing the Flavor Paper site!
Do you have a wallpaper wall in your sight? Or a wallpaper for home you love? Let’s chat in the comments down below!
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