Selecting Wallpaper

Before you choose and purchase wallpaper, there are some basics to learn.

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The retail cost of a roll of wallpaper can range from $18 to $250 per roll. But wallpaper price doesn't necessarily indicate the product's level of durability. In fact, some of the most expensive wallpapers are delicate and must be treated carefully to avoid damage.

The most common wallpapers are also the least expensive. They're machine-printed and have a protective vinyl coating. Heavy-duty wallpapers have more vinyl and are more expensive. They can be scrubbed and they resist stains well. Both kinds are available in a wide variety of colors and styles.

For something more original, consider using wallpaper created by hand from screen prints. As you might expect, it is quite costly and somewhat fragile due to the labor-intensive nature of producing this kind of wallpaper, but it offers a look that you won't find in many homes.

Hand-crafted textured wallpapers are more durable and are made to simulate the look of metal, cement, glass or leather. Because they're very expensive (about $200 a roll), they should be hung by a professional.

When you're ready to select wallpaper for a room, start by looking in magazines and other homes for designs that suit your taste. Think about the furniture in the room, and decide what kind of look you want to achieve. Do you want a classic country style? Perhaps you'd like to create the look of an English sitting room, or maybe you'd like to sleep in a regal bedroom.

Before you shop, gather some samples of upholstery and carpet from the room where you want to hang the wallpaper. You might also bring samples of the colors you want to use. Also consider the sort of room you'll be papering -- kitchens and playrooms require wallpaper with higher durability.

If you find an appealing design but don't like the color, talk to someone from the wallpaper store about your options. For a fee (usually about $50), the manufacturer can custom-color your wallpaper to suit your taste. If you're concerned that the wallpaper won't look right with the new color, the manufacturer can also provide a colored sample for an additional fee.

Once you find a sample that you'd like to use, ask the store personnel for a photo of the wallpaper in a room. Sometimes wall covering looks different after it's been applied to a wall. The store might also be willing to provide a sample book or a large piece of wallpaper for you to take home.

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