Wallpaper is a creative covering for the interior walls of your house, and while it has waxed and waned in popularity over the years, especially in the last century, it has been around for quite a while and will continue to remain a standard decorative finish. Egyptian papyrus was the earliest known wallpaper, and it was invented around 4000 B.C. While the first applications were a bit crude and unreliable, mainly coming in individual pieces, it still reflected the designer’s inspiration. This is what makes wallpaper unique and inspiring- it showcases the artist’s creativity in patterns and designs not found in traditional paint or paneling jobs. Many people choose wallpaper over paint for this very reason. It definitely adds a flair of originality to any room of the house, and especially the living room.
Wallpaper can be painted over if it’s applied correctly in the first phase, and it has the added benefit of covering up imperfections in the wall that paint alone may not. It’s available in many styles, included textured which creates depth and hides imperfections and discrepancies even more so. Wallpaper is applied vertically by rolls, and it is pasted in place with a specialized glue. The application process is crucial, especially if the homeowner wants the option of applying a painted coated later, and it is best performed by a professional.
The first continuous rolls of wallpaper began to appear in the nineteenth century, and these are what are still used for application today. In a large room, such as the living room, this enables the installer to consistently and reliably repeat a pattern. It also allows for uniformity and symmetry, regardless of the dimensions of the room. Living rooms in particular often have many doors, windows, and entryways, so it’s important to be able to work around these breaks in the pattern without disrupting the flow.
Most wallpaper has a regular repeating pattern as opposed to a single non-repeating pattern carried over a set of sheets that was more common to the earlier designs. Regular repeating patterns are certainly the most popular contemporary design, as they are pleasing to the eye and easy to look at in larger spaces such as the living room. The key is to choose a pattern that reflects the homeowner’s unique taste without being so busy that it distracts a person viewing it.
When selecting wallpaper, especially for a common space such as the living room, the options may seem somewhat overwhelming at first. The patterns range from murals to uniform symmetrical patterns, and everything in between. Color and texture are variables to be taken into consideration as well. While it may seem like a daunting task to choose the pattern that reflects and engages the warmth and uniqueness of the space, there are some key points to consider when selecting the design for the room.
The living room is a common area, often where the homeowner will entertain guests or spend time with friends and family. This needs to be taken into consideration when choosing the wallpaper. It needs to be a bit more subtle in this room than in more personal rooms such as the bedroom or bathroom. Many people choose a casual finish for the living room space, and there are many good options to choose from. Oftentimes in the casual setting, the homeowner or decorator will choose to apply bead board or a similar material to the bottom portion of the walls. This is typically capped with a chair rail or molding, followed by wallpaper to finish from the top of the casing to the ceiling. By putting a plain repeating material such as bead board on a portion of the wall, the option of going with a little bit busier and more decorative wallpaper becomes viable as it is only sectional and not overwhelming or gaudy. Many people choose organic designs, often floral prints or something similar, to cover the section of the wall above the plain finish beneath. A flowing pattern of flowers or vines is a good pick. Keep in mind that earth tones are the easiest on the eye, but a little bit of bright color, such as the flower petals, can add variety and warmth if paired to the colors of the carpet and furniture. Ideally, flowing floral designs will provide a relaxed and inviting feel.
For the more bold and contemporary designer or consumer, bold geometrics with high gloss and metallic accents are available. It’s easy to get loud with these aggressive geometric patterns, so remember, less is more. Finally, there is the option of the traditional wallpaper. Usually this involves stripes or damasks that repeat and are coordinated with furnishings and décor. Wallpaper is definitely a unique finish and allows for the originality of the homeowner in creating his or her own space. Especially in a large common area such as the living room, wallpaper can be a great choice to set it apart and give it the desired feel.