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Your handy guide to Choosing Wallpaper

Posted by Haidee Kramer on
Your handy guide to Choosing Wallpaper


It's all about making the right choices!

So, you’ve decided you want to redecorate with wallpaper. Excellent! But where exactly do you start? That’s a good question, as with so many styles, designs and types of wallpaper to choose from, making a decision can feel a little overwhelming.

That’s where our handy buying guide comes in! Take a look at all the points you need to consider before selecting your wallpaper, and you’ll find the process so much easier – we promise!


Find your style

Before you can choose a design, you’ll need to know what your own personal style is first. Do you like modern and minimalist, big and bold, glam and sophisticated – the list goes on. If you’re having trouble settling on one kind of style, it might also be easier to think about the kind of atmosphere you’re trying to create in the space you’re redecorating. Do you want a room that’s calm and peaceful, one that’s rustic and charming, or one that creates an immediate, eye-catching impact?

Then there’s the choice between a mural (one large image) or regular wallpaper (smaller repeating patterns). Both are equally striking in their own ways, and can have a different effect on a room, so you’ll need to decide which type of look you’re going for.

Start asking yourself these kinds of questions, and it should make it easier to settle on the type of wallpaper you’re after.

 Wallpaper or mural question?

Consider exclusivity

Another point to bear in mind is exclusivity – how unique do you want your space to be? Do you want a look that’s currently trending, or would you prefer a look that’s more individual? There’s no wrong answer here, it simply depends on your personal taste. If you love to be on-trend, read our Wallpaper Trends 2023 blog post.

If you’re happy to follow the trends, you’ll find plenty available from standard stockists or DIY stores. If you want something unique, look for boutique suppliers and top brands from Europe. These suppliers often offer exclusive designs and limited-edition collections that you won't find anywhere else. Once you’ve found something special, you can be sure that your space will be uniquely your own.

 Follow the trend


Choose colours and patterns

Once you know what kind of style you’re going for, and how exclusive you want your wallpaper to be, it’s time to start thinking about colours and patterns.

Colour is hugely important as it can help set the tone for a room. Generally, neutrals and cooler colours are considered calming, while brighter colours are considered bolder and striking and add energy and vibrancy to a room. Dark colours such as navy, forest green, and charcoal are also popular at the moment and can create a cosy, inviting atmosphere. So if you want a bedroom that’s peaceful, choose natural or soft colours, and if you want a living area that’s full of energy, choose a more impactful palette.

If colours create the mood, then patterns create the visual interest, either through their designs or their textures, or both. Whether you’re decorating a single feature wall or covering an entire room, you’ll need to take the pattern of your wallpaper into account. Do you prefer wallpaper that has almost no pattern, one that’s heavily patterned, or something in between? Do you like wallpaper that’s simple and smooth, or do you prefer wallpaper that’s more tactile, with velvet, flocking or embossing? Wallpaper is more than just the way it looks, it’s the way it feels and it’s the way it makes you feel too. All important elements that need to be taken into account when choosing your favourite look.


 Wallpaper pattern & colour choices

Think about scale

While you’re busy choosing your preferred colours and patterns, it’s useful to consider the scale of your room and your wallpaper too. Some large patterns can overpower a small room, while more delicate patterns can get lost within an oversized space.

There are exceptions to every rule though – just because you’re decorating a smaller room like a guest bathroom doesn’t mean you necessarily need to stick to smaller patterns. Some bold designs can help liven up a more modest space and create visual interest. There’s room to play with scale when it comes to wallpaper – just keep it in mind when you’re making your decision.

 Think about scale


Select your wallpaper type

Yes, on top of colours, patterns, style and scale, you’ll need to consider the actual type of wallpaper you choose too, as different types of wallpapers offer you different advantages. The two most common are vinyl and non-woven, so let’s take a look at those:


  1. Vinyl: If you’re wallpapering a busy room with a lot of foot traffic, vinyl wallpaper is your friend! It is a synthetic material which is non-absorbent, durable, easy to clean and child-friendly too. What’s more, it’s ideal for use in areas that attract steam and moisture, like bathrooms. Read our blog post on Bathroom Wallpapers for more tips on using vinyls in bathrooms. 
  2. Non-woven: For a wallpaper that’s easy to hang and easy to remove, go with a non-woven quality. A mixture of natural and synthetic fibres, non-woven wallpaper looks like paper, is breathable, and is easily installed by the ‘paste the wall’ method which is quicker and less messy than other methods. Sturdy, wipeable and available in a variety of patterns – what’s not to love?


Don’t forget to colour match

We love how easy the internet has made shopping – but don’t rely on it completely when it comes to selecting your wallpaper. While it does make selecting a pattern or a colour much more convenient, remember that monitors and displays vary, so the colour you see on-screen may not be the colour you ultimately end up with.

To avoid any expensive mistakes, make sure you order a sample first so that you can be 100% sure of the colour. You’ll also be able to see what the colour looks like in different lighting as well. Once you’re happy, then go ahead and place your order.

Order wallpaper samples

Measuring your wall 

Once you’ve decided on the style, pattern and type of wallpaper you want, it’s time to make your purchase. But how much wallpaper will you actually need? Obviously the larger the room you want to decorate, the more wallpaper you’ll need, so budgeting is important.

Most wallpaper comes in 10m rolls and generally speaking, standard wallpaper is 52cm wide, while luxury wallpapers can be anywhere from 70cm to 1m wide. This may make some wallpapers appear to be more expensive, however as they’re wider than standard wallpaper, you won’t need quite as many rolls, so it’s best you do your sums and compare apples with apples.

A common mistake most beginners make is not ordering enough wallpaper. To judge how much you’ll need, you can either measure your walls yourself, or use online formulas to help you with your specs. A professional can also help to guide you, as they’ll have the experience you need to help you purchase the right amount.

It’s also wise when ordering wallpaper to purchase slightly more than you actually need (as with tile purchases). This is known in the industry as ‘overage’, and it comes in handy when you have to replace any wallpaper that might become damaged or discoloured over time. Make sure to always have the correct batch number on hand as well, should you ever need to order any more wallpaper, as different batch numbers of the same design can have slight dyeing variations between them, even though they’re the same colour and pattern. That little bit extra or ‘overage’ will save you when the colour batch you are looking for is sold out and no longer available, and you will have to replace an entire wall to fix a problem.

 Measure your walls for wallpaper

Ensuring easy installation

It’s always preferable to have a professional help you install your wallpaper. Basic wallpapers may be easier to install but more complex wallcoverings which include special finishes, textures and printing techniques are definitely best left to professionals. Be sure to get a recommendation of a good installer as an expertly installed wallpaper, which has been hung correctly, will look great for years to come. If this isn’t possible you can install wallpaper yourself by following the manufacturer’s instructions, to the letter.


Budget, budget, budget

Before you rush into any home décor project, remember that your budget is always important, particularly when decorating with wallpaper. Make sure you’ve budgeted for enough wallpaper, and for a professional to help you install it. Under-budgeting will only result in a room that’s half-finished, so it’s important to make sure all your costs are amply covered before you begin.

 Budget, budget, budget = Success


Any more questions? Our team is always on hand to help! Simply browse our selection online or visit us at our studio in Kramerville, Johannesburg, and we’ll be happy to assist you. We can’t wait to help you transform your home!

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