Tips for Choosing and Using Wallpaper


In case you haven’t heard, wallpaper is making a comeback. Once “de rigueur,” wallpaper disappeared from the scene for decades. Offering more drama than paint, it’s a fun way to transform any room and reflect your personal style without breaking the bank. Ultra-stylish prints, dimensional fabrics, and new materials that make it easy to install and remove. So what does the modern home dweller need to know about this vintage decorating trend? Here are some insights.

Wallpaper types

Wallpaper is categorized by its material and adhesive coating. Non-woven is popular with renters  or those that like to change up their decor often because it dry-strips easily from the wall. Pre-pasted comes with a water-activated adhesive backing. Both options are durable, strippable, and generally grease-resistant.

Print matching

The print match tells you how to line up the pattern from strip to strip: straight, random, and drop. Some tips to consider when print matching include: straight match runs the width of the paper and across the seam onto the next strip; random match continues seamlessly; while drop match aligns horizontally and vertically, because the pattern is slightly offset strip to strip.

Pastes and booking

Pre-pasted wallpapers usually need to be “booked,” which means wetting the paper and letting it sit while the glue activates. Unpasted papers don’t come with adhesive, so you’ll need to paste the wall or the back of the paper.

Repeats and waste

When using a pattern, watch for “repeats.” Repeats are the number of inches a pattern stretches vertically until it repeats itself. Generally, the lower the repeat, the lower the waste…solids and textures, for example, have no repeat and little waste.


Wallpapers are surprisingly durable, so maintaining them is easy. Scrubbable papers can be cleaned with a sponge and detergent, while washable papers can be gently cleaned or wiped with a damp cloth.


There are two types of paper: strippable and peelable. Strippable can be removed without water or chemicals and leaves no backing, and peelable peels off the wall. Any adhesive residue can be removed with soap and water.