Myth: Wallpaper is stuffy and old-fashioned.
Reality: Wallpaper may be old — it’s been around at least since the 1600s — but it is very much fashion-forward. In fact, the fashion industry itself has embraced wallpaper by splashing vivid patterns in major advertising campaigns and in fashion features in magazines like Vogue.
Myth: Wallpaper is limiting.
Reality: Just the opposite is true. There are no rules. You can mix two or as many patterns as you want, in a single room. New York design firm D’Aquino Monaco hung 27 wallpaper patterns throughout a four-story stairwell in a New York town house. Why not hang a pattern or striped wallpaper horizontally instead of vertically? There is no limit to the imagination.
Myth: Wallpaper and modernism don’t mix.
Reality: In the last decade, America has had a love affair with modernist design. But minimal modern interiors often look too sterile to live in comfortably. The solution can be found in graphic wallpaper on an expanse of a single wall. Interior designers also like to juxtapose a very traditional pattern such as a floral or chinoiserie — often in vibrant, updated colors — with clean, contemporary furnishings.
Myth: You can’t hang art on wallpapered walls.
Reality: As long as there has been wallpaper, serious art collectors have lined their wallpapered walls with art. With its repeat pattern, wallpaper is designed as a background, to lend a unifying structure to a room. Even if it’s a bold design, wallpaper complements — rather than competes with — art.
Myth: Large-scale patterns are for big rooms and small patterns for tiny rooms.
Reality: While large-scale patterns look gorgeous in rooms with exceptionally high ceilings, they can also make smaller rooms appear more expansive. On the other hand, a very small pattern in a large space can become more of a texture than a pattern and lend the room an intimacy that might otherwise be lacking.
Myth: Hanging wallpaper is time-consuming and labor-intensive.
Reality: New technology is making wallpapers simpler to hang and remove, and even easier and less messy than paint. These easy-hang wallpapers are known as non-woven and high-performance wallpapers. Installing easy-hang wallpapers is even quicker than painting, which requires smoothing the wall to perfection, applying at least two coats, and waiting hours or days between steps — whereas wallpapers have always been a great solution for problem walls.
These wallpapers adhere to walls with magnet force, yet are easily repositionable. Non-woven wallpapers do not expand or contract, so there’s no need for “booking” the wallpaper, or folding it for a few minutes to let it expand. Once it’s up, what you see is what you get, as seams won’t ever separate.
Myth: Wallpaper is not eco-friendly.
Reality: Wallpaper is typically made of paper, which is renewable and biodegradable. Other options are made with grasses, sisal, rice, cork and parchment. Most wallpaper inks are water-based with very low V.O.C. (Volatile Organic Compounds) emissions — significantly lower than paint — and are very environmentally friendly.
Myth: Wallpaper is hard to remove.
Reality: Steamers, strippers and chemical solvents are a thing of the past with today’s more technologically superior papers known as non-woven and high-performance wallpapers. They require nothing more than a quick tug at a corner and an entire sheet is down in seconds.
Myth: You can’t wallpaper over old wallpaper.
Reality: Indeed you can, if the old paper is flat. In fact, you can cut the time of installation in half if you go this route. Bear in mind that it won’t work if the old paper has an embossed texture or if you test it and find that the old paper will bleed through the new sheets. A pigmented wallpaper primer is a must before you start the papering process.