Wallpaper dos and don’ts

Wallpaper dos and donts

Darren Palmer has a broad portfolio, having studied fine art & graphic design, originally working in advertising and owning his own graphic design company. After succumbing to his true passion, Darren now operates his own interior design studio and has been a judge on numerous seasons of The Block.


Wallpapers aren’t what they used to be. Thank goodness.

Anyone whose experience of wallpaper fell before the 00s will remember having to painstakingly steam, gouge and peel off sheets – a process that inevitably left most of the paper still stuck to the wall.

These days, because wall coverings are most often made from a non-woven base, and some from vinyl, today’s wallpaper can now be easily detached in its entirety. And it’s this simplified process that has got to be one of the main reasons behind the resurgence of wallpaper as a wall treatment.

Create Texture

This benefit in particular is one of the features that gives wallpaper an edge over paint.

Textured wallpapers come in an array of styles and offer varying levels of intensity. There are ones made from real feathers, natural woven grass cloths or their synthetic variants. There’s faux pony hair, crocodile hide, snake skin and even paintable geometrics, which blend the best of both paint and wall coverings.

Going Beyond Pattern

Wallpapers are no longer simply a continuous repetition of a small pattern. Today, you can buy or create wall coverings that are macro blow ups of photographs, continuous murals, or hand created, artful finishes that span long distances. Wall coverings have come to be considered artworks in their own right and you can achieve some very beautiful, grand design statements by using them in this way.

Bringing the Overall Concept to Life

The concept can be the style you want to create – Hamptons, industrial, modern glamour and so on. It could be inspired by location, for example, a country house, beach pad or city penthouse, or it could be based around a period of design and architecture, such as Federation or art deco.

No matter the inspiration, your concept will be linked to a set of appropriate textures and materials, so be sure to do your research on the patterns and colours most suited to the look you’re trying to replicate.

Offering a striking finish

Some papers have continuous patterns, which make joins or seams hard to spot, while some seams are integrated into the texture, so they’re completely concealed, and others, like those in grass cloth weaves, are unavoidably visible.

Before commencing installation, make sure you understand how things like pattern and construction affect the way the paper is laid, the quantity required to manage pattern offsets and the way the paper will actually look once it’s up on the wall.

Think seriously before taking a DIY approach to installation

There are some, simple patterns or basic colours that are relatively simple to apply, but for more delicate patterns and papers, it’s essential to invest in professional installation – the upside being there will be minimal mess, minimal fuss and a result that is both quicker and better than you could ever have imagined.