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Wallpaper and Wall Textures

So you've decided to spice up your home decor with wallpaper in some rooms and wall texturing in others. Both projects can be a DIY dream. Let us give you some pointers so your dreams don't turn into nightmares.


If you've decided to wallpaper, you'll need to pick the material that's right for you. The most popular materials are:

Material Description Clean Hang Additional Information
Embossed Textured paper that can be painted. Easy Easy Cover walls that have imperfections.
Fabric Textile based wallpaper. Difficult Difficult Must use a special clear paste.
Flocks Patterns with velvet-like raised designs either on paper or vinyl. Moderate Difficult Not all types are washable or easy to handle.
Foils Usually a metallic looking wallpaper. Easy Difficult Must use clear adhesive to prevent bleeding. Difficult to remove.
Grass Cloth Woven from long strands of grass. Difficult Difficult Must use clear adhesive to prevent bleeding. Difficult to remove.
Vinyl Most stock wallpaper is vinyl. Easy Easy Easy to remove. Preferred choice for bathrooms. Look for paper with canvas or scrim backing for high moisture areas.

Also consider where your wallpaper will be:

  • For bathrooms, use moisture-resistant wallpaper.
  • For imperfect walls, a textured wallpaper can hide flaws.
  • For kitchens, hallways and kids' rooms, stain-resistant wallpaper just makes sense.

Note: When choosing wallpaper, always read the manufacturer's label for specifications.

Good idea: To avoid slight differences in print or color, make sure all of the rolls are from the same run number or dye lot.

Pick Your Pattern. The pattern of the wallpaper determines the effect created, and how the print runs.

Horizontal patterns make a room seem wider. If your ceiling and walls aren't perfectly squared, avoid horizontal striped patterns.

Vertical patterns make ceilings seem higher. Avoid this pattern if your walls are not square or perfectly vertical.

Drop patterns repeat diagonally across the strip and require additional paper to match up. A drop pattern is a good choice if your room isn't perfectly squared.

Pre-pasted or Not. Wallpaper manufacturers have improved the wallpaper hanging process by creating three different types of wallpaper:

  • Pre-pasted wallpaper is pre-coated with adhesive. Water or a manufactured activator is used to activate the paste.
  • Self-adhesive wallpaper requires no paste, water or activator. You simply peel the backing off and stick the paper in place.
  • Unpasted (or “dry back”) wallpaper has no pre-paste or adhesive. Adhesive is required for hanging. NOTE: This type of wallpaper is the most difficult to remove.

If you're not hung-up on wallpaper, but want to add some oomph to your walls, you might try other texturing options.

Wall Texturing

Texturing can sometimes offer more nuanced looks than wallpaper or traditional paints. Feel free to experiment. Here are some wall texture ideas you might want to try.

Textured Paint. Paint with pre-prepared texture. See a paint specialist at your local Lowe's for help with choosing the right product.

Faux Finishes. There are many options for faux finishing, such as marbling, rag rolling, or sponging.

Stucco. Stucco on one wall can create a focal point for the room.

Drywall Compound. Regular drywall compound creates a variety of textures when it is applied with different types of notched trowels, sponges, paint rollers and brushes.

Bead-Board or Wainscoting. Install bead-board paneling or wainscoting for a warm, traditional look.

Fabrics. Fabrics have been hung on walls for hundreds of years to add texture and warmth to a room. Use tapestries or decorative quilts to cover walls.

Mural or Trompe l'Oeil. If you're artistic, paint a mural or trompe l'oeil on a wall.

Brick or Stone Veneer. For the look of a lodge or an urban loft apartment, use brick or stone veneer to cover one wall. If real stone or brick aren't appropriate for the room, try a faux brick finish.

Ceramic Tile. Use ceramic tile for walls in a kitchen or bathroom. The tiles are available in a wide variety of colors and textures.

Adding texture to your walls and wallpapering are DIY favorites. Check out other indoor improvements that are equally rewarding.

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