5 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Wallpaper

Shannon Lee

When you are restoring your old house to its original glory, that might include period-appropriate wallpaper in every room. The options for period wallpaper are impossibly diverse--any design, motif, color, or combination you can imagine has probably been immortalized in a wallpaper.

Narrowing Down Your Wallpaper Choices

How do you choose which one is perfect for your old house? These tips can help.

  1. Look at your budget. Wallpaper that is suitable to the historical period of your home can be easy to find, but it can also be wildly expensive. Choosing something that looks similar, however, might not be the best idea either. When you are going for authenticity, start small and handle one room at a time, or even one wall at a time, to ease the sticker shock.
  2. Consider the history. Keep in mind that most historic patterns sold at retail are not historic at all. They are usually reproductions that would not pass muster with a true old house enthusiast. Real reproduction wallpaper stays true to the original scale, the original widths, and presents colors that harken back to yesteryear, which are not intended to please a modern audience.
  3. Do intense research. Figure out the wallpapers that were common for the time period in which your home was built, and then do further research into how they were used. In modern homes, wallpaper is often just a way to cover the walls. But many years ago, wallpaper was considered the highlight of the room, and furniture was chosen to enhance the paper, not the other way around.
  4. Understand your walls. Plaster walls are perfect for wallpaper, even better than conventional drywall. Regardless of what type of walls you have, make certain they are primed and prepped thoroughly for the wallpaper. User primers specifically designed for wallpaper, and if your walls are painted, use an acrylic wallcovering primer to create the best surface for good adhesion.
  5. Hire the best person for the job. If you are going to be spending a lot of money and time on your wallpaper project, it might pay to hire a professional contractor who specializes in hanging wallpaper. Like hiring any other contractor, check their references and ask to see representations of their previous projects. Work closely with them on the vision you have for your home. They might have knowledge of historical patterns and techniques you hadn't considered.

Don't get hung up on the stress of wallpapering your old house. Take your time with research and shopping around to find the proper wallpaper at the best prices.




About the Author

Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.

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