WHEN PAINT JUST WON’T DO
Dress Up Those Walls With Exciting, Yet Durable, Wallpapers
By Barbara Canetti
Looking for a solution for your walls that has to be washable, durable and waterproof yet looks good and adds to the usability and ambience of a room? Think of the benefits of vinyl wallpaper to change the look and feel of any room frequently exposed to humidity or heavy traffic
“Those words sound seductive to a homeowner, but they can be misleading,” says Julie Young, The Wallpaper Lady. “No wallpaper is impervious to water, wear, dirt or stains. But vinyl is the best option, though, under conditions where the wallpaper will get a lot of use, such as kids’ rooms, bathrooms, or areas where you are hanging up coats or backpacks that knock against the walls, or where the dog is digging into his breakfast.”
Most interior designers and wallpaper professionals agree on one thing: proper preparation of the wall is paramount for a successful and long-lasting installation. The walls should be smooth, free of stains and primed with a primer designed for wallpaper, and not paint primer or PVA-based primers, says Young. For painted or glossy surfaces, she uses Roman’s Pro-977 Ultra Prime and for more porous surfaces or new drywall, she recommends Gardz. She gets most of her supplies from Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet.
“Dust should always be removed from walls with a damp sponge before priming or hanging wallpaper, because, as I like to say — nothing sticks to dust,” Young says.
Some of the newer vinyl wallpapers available now are showing textures, geometric designs, sparkle or glitter embedded into the product or paper and made to look like a mirror or metallic. Vinyl is thick enough to carry an embossed texture, Young says, which can be made to mimic natural materials like grasscloth, wood, brick or even the old pressed-tin tiles that were used on ceilings in the Victorian era.
Wallpaper manufacturer Phillip Jeffries recently added several new styles of vinyl wallpapers to emulate hemp, denim, metal, grass or raffia. Additionally, vinyl wallpapers eliminate the problem that many natural papers often present: a lack of consistency in color from one strip to another, where edges or rolls could be lighter or darker than others. The trade can purchase the line locally through David Sutherland.
Likewise, 2Modern has a strong selection of textures and designs, including vinyl products that incorporate wood or grasscloth, as well as scalloped brass or Moroccan-inspired looks. The vinyl wallpapers created to imitate the look of the natural products are not hindered by color variations or uneven dye lots.
Interior decorator Madeleine Banks says that she likes to layer colors and textures, and that a wallpaper can be that extra layer.
“Interior design is to ultimately create the feeling that the client would like to have when in the room. Sometimes wallpaper is the perfect choice when I feel that something is missing in a space. A great lighting plan is very important and, besides adding the right light sources, an extra way of creating that brightness that a dark room needs can be with the right wallpaper,” Banks says, citing as an example a windowless powder room that can be completely changed when a brightly colored wallpaper is added.
And, Banks says, a wallpaper can be chosen to emphasize the era of the home or a preferred design style. It can even take the place of artwork.
But, before any wallpaper project begins, Young urges homeowners to consult with a professional and have the walls measured before ordering paper.
“There are tricks to measuring and we know them better than the online calculator or clerks in a paint store or an a website,” she adds.
Additional locations in Houston, Katy and Spring
The Wallpaper Lady