Redecorating the walls of your home is an exciting yet daunting prospect. On one hand you can’t wait to get started, but on the other you know that this is a big decision, both in terms of your lifestyle and your finances. When you enter a room, of course you notice the furniture and décor, but the overall impression is always dominated by the colour and texture of the room as a whole. The wall covering you choose will determine not only how you use the room but how you feel in the room for the life of the wall covering.
There are many choices when it comes to wall coverings, but for now, let’s focus on the main two: paint and wallpaper. Many people seem to overlook wallpaper and move straight to paint. It is the obvious option, and it does have clear advantages. Paint requires minimal preparation, is relatively inexpensive, and is easy to apply. But the possibilities offered by paint are limited. Paint can be used for flat colour, feature walls, and sometimes even for textured finishes. But the possibilities effectively end there.
Now consider the alternative. Wallpaper offers all the same options as paint: flat colour, feature walls and textured finishes. But it can be taken so much further! Wallpaper can provide a huge variety of textures, patterns and effects. Photos, digital prints or patterns, custom images, faux finishes and natural or velvet surfaces can all easily be applied to wallpaper. Wallpaper can provide a nostalgic or historic feel that paint fails to achieve. Paint will never be able to give the same individuality to a room that wallpaper can.
One of the greatest barriers to the widespread use of wallpaper in homes is the cost. Many homeowners feel that it is unjustifiable to spend up to twice or three times as much money having wallpaper installed than they would having the walls painted. This is a narrow minded way of viewing the situation that fails to take into account the unparalleled durability of wallpaper. A recent report examining the lifecycle of wall coverings found that wallpaper lasts five times longer than paint under normal usage conditions. The cost of the wallpaper is a once-off investment, whereas paint often needs to be reapplied every few years. In fact, over time, wallpaper has been found to be up to 35% less expensive than paint.
Of course, you must be careful when choosing which walls are suited to wallpapering. Wallpaper can tend to loosen in humid conditions so is a poor choice for bathrooms, for example. One must also think very carefully before making a purchase, as wallpaper will be lasting more. Not only that but some patterns and textures can have a very intense effect – wallpaper is almost always noticeable, as opposed to many of the muted tones of paint. But it this very prominence that gives wallpaper its beauty. When chosen well, wallpaper does something paint cannot – it gives a room a mood – a personality – and makes it uniquely yours.