(ARA) – Blank walls in need of a makeover almost always beg the question: What color to paint? But before trotting off to the paint store for color strips and tester cans, consider a new alternative: wallpaper. Because one of the oldest home décor products -around since the 1600s – has been reinvented.
New technology is making wallpapers simpler to hang and remove, and even easier and less messy than paint. These easy-hang wall coverings – called non-wovens – are breaking down walls of resistance of do-it-yourselfers who are now asking: wallpaper or paint?
If you've never wallpapered before, you'll find these clever new papers completely goof-proof. If you have wallpapered before, you will appreciate that they take a lot less time to hang and remove than customary wallpapers. Installing easy-hang wallpapers is even quicker than painting, which requires smoothing the wall to perfection, applying at least a couple of coats, and waiting hours or days between steps – whereas wallpapers have always been a great solution for problem walls.
These wallpapers adhere to walls with magnet-force, yet are easily repositionable. Non-woven wallpapers do not expand or contract, so there's no reason for "booking" the wallpaper, or folding it for a few minutes to let it expand. Once it's up, what you see is what you get, so seams won't ever separate. In fact, they virtually disappear.
Made from natural and synthetic fibers found in common household products like gauze, tea bags and coffee filters, non-wovens are tear-resistant during both installation and removal. Whereas paper-backed, pre-pasted wallpaper may require steamers, strippers and countless hours to pry it off sheetrock walls, easy-hang wallpapers come down in entire sheets within minutes with a simple, gratifying tug at a corner, without marring the walls. You can even roll the sheets and take them with you if you move.
Non-woven wallcoverings are also eco-friendly, vinyl free and breathable, so they are ideal choices for kitchens and baths or wherever mold and mildew are a concern.
For do-it-yourselfers who want a faux finish look, non-woven wallpapers are far more fail-safe than paint. Manufacturers offer a variety of patterns to mimic the best faux finishes that only a pro could do. The result is pleasingly uniform and richly textured, without the multi-step process and cost of painting. And the broad color palette for these wallpapers rivals any paint collection, but without any color surprises at home. What you see in a sample book is exactly how it will look on your walls.
Here are some tips to get you rolling with the new easy-hang wallpapers:
Find the Product: While many manufacturers now make easy-hang wallpaper, it's so new that it can be easy to miss in the store. Often called "non-woven" wall coverings, several makers and retailers have given their collections clear, identifiable names. Informative tags on wallpaper books will help you locate the product.
Product Samples: Selecting the right pattern for a room is much easier when you sample the product first. If product swatches aren't displayed in-store, ask your retailer if he can order them for you. Unlike paint testers, you won't have to re-prime over your "test" section of wall.
Wall condition: Easy-hang wallpapers are available both pre-pasted and un-pasted. To install pre-pasted non-woven wallpaper, simply dip a strip briefly in water and bring it to the wall. To install unpasted non-woven wallpapers, simply roll the paste on the wall, and apply the dry paper to the wall – no water or paint trays are needed. Both kinds are easy to handle, and each manufacturer provides easy-to-follow instructions, including advice on whether or not you need to prime your walls first.
Be Daring: Don't fret over your pattern choices. The ease of the product frees you to be more creative with wallpaper. Consider just buying a pattern for one wall-a hot look in home décor now-and if you love it, order more for the rest of the room or simply pull it off the wall and let your imagination go wild for another round.