Wallpapers are materials that cover and decorate the interior walls in a residential or commercial space.These can be homes, offices, cafes or buildings. They are a part of the interior decor, and people nowadays are more inclined towards using them than being satisfied with just painting their walls.
Wallpapers are sold in rolls, are available in a variety of designs, colors and finishes and can be installed using a special wallpaper paste either by self or a professional.
Based on their looks, wallpapers are of two major types;
PLAIN – This is also called a lining paper, which has no patterns or drawings on it. It can either be painted over, or used to cover wall defects and unsightly surfaces.
PATTERNED – These wallpapers have a pattern or drawing on them, either a single non-repeating design or one with continuous repeated patterns.
Since different wallpapers are produced by different manufacturers, it is always important to follow their specific instructions during installations. Priming and prepping walls is very important to lay out wallpapers without bubbling or folds that can mar the overall look.
Wallpapers in the market follow a distinct set of jargons and terminologies. It is important to know what they are when deciding to purchase to put them up on the wall of your home.
Among the most widely used in the market, vinyl wallpapers can be installed in any room. They comprise a design printed on paper or fibre and sealed off with a vinyl/plastic upper coat. Vinyl wallpapers have a little shiny look, are washable, easy to install, removable, light-resistant, cheaper and very durable. They can be used across all rooms, including kitchens and bathrooms which are more moisture prone. Vinyl wallpapers have a versatile range of colors and patterns, and can imitate wood, stone and metal.
However, because of their plastic coating, they don’t allow walls to breathe and may give out toxic fumes. They must never be placed in bedrooms and ill-ventilated spaces.
The most popular and frequently used type, traditional wallpaper is either single or double layered, has cellulose as it base and very ecology friendly. Since it is natural paper, these let walls breathe, are affordable and accessible and can be used in bedrooms and dining rooms.
These wallpapers cannot withstand moisture, and fade away due to sun exposure or prolonged use. They are also not washable and may have to be changed frequently.
Unlike patterns printed on paper, embossing occurs when designs are pressed onto the paper backing thereby showcasing a raised textural effect. Embossed papers add a nice depth and contrast to plain walls. Texturing can range from delicate and detailed patterns to dramatic geometric ones. Cream and stone are often preferred textures since they complement the furniture and other decor accents seamlessly. Embossed wallpaper hides wall flaws and unevenness. They can be used over slightly damaged walls, light cracks and other minor irregularities. They are easy to install, easy to remove and washable.
Embossed wallpapers may not hold for very long, since the edges start to bend pull out over time. They can also get hard to peel off eventually.
A recent trend in wallpaper decorating, non-woven wallpapers are made of a blend of synthetic and natural fibres. They are therefore breathable and washable. These are already used in furnishings and upholstery and other products like teabags and gauze. This wallpaper is also good for kitchens and bathrooms because of their porosity. They are user friendly, ecofriendly, tear resistant and make for a quick installation. Since they don’t expand or contract much, this kind of wallpaper can be used for years. It can also be used as a base for painting.
Non-woven wallpapers are expensive though and cannot be washed frequently.
Glass fibers when woven and bonded together make for a very strong sheet material. They are stronger and provide additional reinforcement to the wall. Since they are made from non-toxic by-products such as dolomite, soda and lime, they are eco-sensitive too. This wallpaper is great to cover wall cracks, can be painted over several times once applied and is flame resistant, especially important in homes. The water resistant adhesive works against destruction by moisture, and its insulating properties stop mold growth. Fiberglass is extremely lightweight and robust and can be molded to any form and used in living rooms and bedrooms, as well as kitchens and bathrooms.
These wallpapers can be less flexible and they are very expensive to buy.
Newer wallpapers in Bamboo and Textile are also increasingly available nowadays, but their cost factor, restrictive application and unavailability in India make them a deterrent.