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How to Buy, Measure & Install Wallpaper

Wallpaper is making a big comeback and there are so many great choices out there! Papering your walls is a unique and fun way to add personality and character to any room in your home. In this post, we will walk you through the buying and installation process so that you can make the most of your wallpaper experience. Whether you're revamping an entire room or just giving one wall a makeover, read on for all you need to know to get started.

Modern boho day bed and wallpaper


>> How Wallpaper is Calculated & Priced

1. Why is wallpaper usually priced as a single roll but only sold in double rolls?

Have you ever wondered why wallpaper is priced by the single roll and sold in double rolls? The answer actually dates back to original merchants who sold rolls packaged single, double, and sometimes triple or larger, as needed. To systematize pricing, the single roll, as the smallest unit of measure, was established. Over time the double roll (also known as a bolt) also became standardized to reflect the cultural trend toward automation, moving away from more expensive, custom applications. But the single roll, as the minimum measurement, remained the pricing standard. So next time you're considering a new wallpaper pattern for your home, remember that you're not just paying for the paper - you're also paying for a piece of history!

To make things easier, all Healthier Homes wallpaper is sold as a double roll and priced as a double roll

2. How do I calculate the amount of wallpaper to buy?

Modern living room decor with natural low VOC grasscloth wallpaper

Simply calculate the square footage of the wall area that you are wanting to cover (length x width of each wall). It’s best to keep things simple and not deduct for windows, cabinets or doors.

Be sure to pay attention to whether your paper has a pattern repeat. If the pattern repeat is 18” or less, then divide your total square footage by 23 to figure how many rolls to purchase. If your pattern is larger and is 19” or more, then divide the total square footage by 20 to determine the amount of rolls you need. We've included a handy wallpaper calculator on this post, too!

Common Healthier Homes Double Roll Bolt Sizes:

  • 20 ½ “Width X 33 Feet = 56 Sq. Feet

  • 36” Width X 24 Feet = 72 Sq. Feet

3. What is a run number?

If you take a look at the label on your wallpaper, you'll notice a run number noted there. This is the number assigned to that specific color design or wallpaper pattern when it's run by our presses. Although most people never need to know the lot number, it can come in handy if you run out of wallpaper and need to order more. That way, you can get wallpaper from the same run for the best color match possible. If for some reason the wallpaper is no longer available in your run number, don't worry. You can use any of our press runs to finish the job. Just keep in mind that for optimal results, it's best to keep the unmatched run on a single wall. This will minimize any differences in color between runs.

4. Does the width of a wallpaper roll matter?

Small clay potted succulents in front neutral grey non toxic wallpaper by Healthier Homes

Believe it or not, the width of wallpaper rolls is determined by the printing process, not by how much paper is on the roll. The standard roll size for wallpaper is 20 1/2 inches wide by 33 feet long. However, some rolls are 27 inches wide by 27 feet long. These wider rolls are designed for use with a specific type of printing process known as gravure printing. Gravure printing produces very high-quality results, but it is also very slow and expensive. As a result, most manufacturers only use this process for printing premium papers. If you're hung up on getting more bang for your buck, don't worry – you'll get basically just as much paper on a standard roll as you would on a wider one.

5. What does “Match Type” mean?

When it comes to wallpaper, there are three main types of patterns: straight match, drop match, and random match. Straight match is when the design moves straight across from one wallpaper strip to the next. This means that every strip will be the same at the ceiling line. Drop match is when the design runs diagonally from the ceiling and is staggered so only every other strip is identical at the ceiling line. Random match is when the wallpaper does not have to be matched at the seams. No matter how you position the wallpaper next to the previous strip, the pattern looks good. Some examples of a random match are textures, grasscloth, and simple stripes.

>> Wallpaper Installation Tips:

...Book the paper...

When you book wallpaper, you're essentially giving it a chance to relax before you hang it up. Depending on the type of wallpaper, it can expand up to 1/4 inch in width. If you don't book the paper beforehand, this expansion can cause bubbling and wrinkles on the wall. To book the paper, you simply need to fold it onto itself for several minutes, paste-to-paste. This will allow the paper to relax and prevent any damages when you hang it up. For best results, book un-pasted paper immediately after applying paste and pre-pasted paper immediately after dipping or spraying with water. This will give the paper time to fully expand and activate the pre-paste.

...Plan to start in a corner...

When it comes to wallpaper, the starting point is key. After all, you’re beginning and ending points will be the only spots in the room that don't quite match up. So, it's important to start in a place that is least visible. A good place to begin is usually the corner closest to the entryway. That way, if there is a slight mismatch, it won't be immediately noticeable to guests. Plus, working from the entryway will allow you to keep an eye on your progress and make sure that you're staying on track. So, when it comes time to start your next wallpaper project, be sure to begin in the corner closest to the door.

...Hire a professional...

We’re all about DIY but hanging wallpaper is a skill in and of itself. While it’s completely possible to do on your own (or with the help of a friend), we recommend hiring a pro wallpaper hanger to determine the amount of paper needed and to handle the install.

>> How to find non toxic / low VOC wallpaper

Dark navy natural grasscloth wallpaper

The best rule of thumb is to look for wallcoverings made out of natural materials such as grasses, cork, metallic elements, linen, cotton and other natural fibers.

Also look for low VOC water-based inks and avoid PVC and vinyl coatings. One of our favorites are grasscloth wall coverings for their natural texture and timeless look and feel.

Healthier Homes is excited to introduce a new line of non-toxic natural wallcoverings. Check out the Healthier Homes wallpaper section here.

Happy wallpapering!


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