Dressing up your wall involves more than just picking from a palette of dull single-toned shades, writes Oishee Mukhopadhyay Talwar.

The next time you’re giving your home a makeover, consider adding a little more personality to your walls as well. And it’s not just about choosing the right pattern; material and texture too have an important role to play. “Whatever the interior design, wallpapers can highlight or transform the look,” says Vani Vijay, Managing Partner at Kum Kum Wallpapers, a retailer for wall covering, in Bengaluru.

Wallpaper vs. wall paint

Great wallpaper is the quickest way to revamp a space. No matter how small the room might be, it can create a feeling of expansion. Cracks and unsightly marks, wallpapers can pretty much cover it all up, better than paint.

In terms of design, it offers a lot of flexibility too. One can choose to cover just one wall or the entire room with a certain pattern. If you don’t feel as adventurous, there’s always the option to cover only half the wall or go minimalistic by adding a simple trim along the edges.

And if you think all you’re going to get is printed patterns on paper, think again. Wallpapers today come in different materials such as vinyl, silk and organic fabrics, or textures such as embossed or even a metallic or granite finish. “Wallpapers made with natural materials like real fabric, real bamboo and even Swarovski crystals bring out the uniqueness and beauty of it all. What’s more they are also washable,” says Vani. So dust, oil, tea, coffee, paint, no matter what the stain, the beauty of your wall shall remain untainted. No wonder why many people today prefer vinyl wallpapers for their kitchen and large bathrooms instead of the usual paint.

A simple affair

Contrary to what one may think, installing wallpaper is a rather simple procedure that can be completed in just a few hours. No mess and no respiratory uneasiness.

When compared with paint, Vani points out that wallpapers score a notch higher owing to their washability, colourfastness, variety of designs and longevity. While paint needs to be touched up every one to two years, well-maintained wallpaper can last almost seven or eight years, making it more economical than colour.

However, since various wall décor solutions are now also offered in paint, do wallpapers still hold as much interest? “Though various patterns have come out in paints, they only try to imitate wallpapers. This too can’t be fully achieved as wallpapers offer thousands of shades, designs and textures,” observes Vani, “Moreover you cannot always wash a texture painted wall. In case of wallpapers all you need is a soapy sponge.”

However, one does need to be cautious of the condition of the wall before plastering the covering onto the surface. “There are no real negatives in using wallpapers, except that they are not meant for exterior walls and are not recommended on surfaces that suffer from water leakage,” says Vani, “Otherwise, they are perfect beacause wall papers are water resistant, fire retardant and pests do not affect them.”

Making the choice

Choosing the right wallpaper for your room may take a while, but the process is simpler if you stick to a few basic norms. While selecting a pattern, keep in mind the size of the room. If the room is narrow and you’d like it to seem wider, pick patterns that extend horizontally. Similarly, if you need your room to appear taller in height, go for vertical designs. Vani adds that dark colours go well in rooms that have more light. Pastel shades on the other hand suit rooms with less light. “Reserve larger motifs and self designs for bigger rooms and walls,” she suggests.

Do keep in mind the theme and furnishings when you pick the wallpaper, so that the décor stands united in design. “Currently, geometric patterns, abstract and self-designs are in,” states Vani. Bear in mind that before you begin pasting the wall covering, it is a good idea to recheck the paper you’ve chosen to ensure it is of the same shade and without any defect. Because the cost of the wallpaper depends on the number of rolls utilized to cover the wall, carry the exact measurements of the wall when you visit the store. This will certainly help to budget your expenses.