I love a good wallpaper, Part Two

On Monday I wrote a post called “I love a good wallpaper” and since then seem to have had a flurry of conversations about the subject, both online and in person with potential and current clients. When a comment came on my facebook page that said, “After having to remove old textured wallpaper I will never hang it again”, I felt that maybe a second post that discussed tips of proper installation and such was in order. Here now to talk more about wallpaper in general and provide tips and tricks of the trade is Ed Lewis of Lewis Quality Interiors. Ed is my most trusted wallpaper installer and I’m happy to have him as my first ever guest blogger!

“What do you think I should do in this room?” Having been a painter and wallpaper installer for the last 10 years, I’ve been asked this question a lot. Nine times out of ten if I say, “Have you ever thought about wallpaper?” the response I get is,” No way!” I have the feeling that when thinking of wallpaper the typical vision in the minds of most people is the always peeling, floral patterned, slightly musty wallpaper in their grandma’s living room. This being the only experience most folks have with the stuff, I can understand the reaction! Well, I think it’s high time we revise our opinion of this versatile and beautiful material.

Over the last 20 years or so wallpaper has undergone a renaissance of sorts. It is no longer your grandma’s floral background, though, to be sure, that can still be found. Today’s wallpaper selection is as diverse as the people who buy it. Textured, patterned, colorful, earth-tone…the possibilities are endless. There are papers that incorporate mother-of-pearl or ground glass in their designs and others made from silk or vinyl. There are even wallpapers that look like stone or a forest. Something for every taste and every space! You can achieve results with wallpaper that you could never get with paint or even a faux finish. It could almost be considered artwork for your whole wall!

One of the best attributes of this wonderful material is the ease and speed with which it can be installed. Most rooms can be papered in a day or two with very little mess and almost no odor. Compare that to paint! For the best results it is recommended that you consult a professional installer, particularly if you are dealing with a touchy kind of paper, but this isn’t always required. With a little preparation, almost anyone can install wallpaper.

When considering wallpaper, many of my clients are concerned not only about the ease of installation, but also about the ease of removing or covering up the wallpaper if there ever comes a day when they wish to change it. Like every change to your home, it’s all about the prep work! I am always sure to first apply a sizing or pre-wallcovering primer. Sherwin-Williams makes one of excellent quality and there are others on the market as well. I often have it tinted to match the paper which helps to reduce the visibility of seams. A good sizing, given proper time to dry (1 hour to 1 day), makes all the difference in wallpaper removal. It seals the wall and prevents big sections from coming off with the wallpaper.

As a professional installer, one of my favorite attributes about wallpaper is it’s environmentally friendly qualities. Many of the wallpaper manufacturers are building this into their products – using recycled paper and soy-based inks. This makes installation not only safer for me, but also safer for my clients and their families. Most of the pastes used in installation are water-based and nontoxic. Here at Lewis Quality Interiors we are making our own line of high quality sustainable wallpapers. Available exclusively through Karen Starr and Hazel Tree Interiors, our locally made, sustainable papers not only add a “WOW” factor to any space, but provide you with the assurance that they are good for you and the environment.

Whether for an accent wall or for a whole space, wallpapers are once again in style. Their sustainability, versatility, and variety make them perfect for expressing yourself in your space. So forget about grandma and discover for yourself what this material can do for you.

Thank you Ed for sharing your thoughts and advice on wallpaper with us!

P.S. A few hours after I posted this, I was emailing with one of my wallpaper reps (I sent them all links to both installments of my wallpaper love fest) and he had some great additional thoughts on why wallpaper removal is even easier these days! So I asked him if I could quote him at the bottom of the post as well. He said “of course!”. So here now is what Scott Hang, sales rep for Romo and Omexco wallcoverings has to say to shed even more light on the subject:

“One more thing worth mentioning, is the composition of some of the wallcoverings, certainly true for Omexco and Romo wallcoverings. Many of these higher-end wallcoverings are non-woven which means they are composed of Cellulose (paper) and synthetic (polyester). The impact of this is that you can buy papers that you just paste to the wall (dry installable), so there is no booking of the papers. Also, an even bigger selling point is the dry strippable nature of them as well. The papers come down in very large sheets as opposed to traditional wallpapers. ”

Thanks Scott!