What Is Wallpaper

What Is Wallpaper

What Is Wallpaper

Introduction to Wallpaper: An Overview

Wallpaper is a material used for the inner decoration of the walls of residential and commercial buildings. It is typically sold in rolls and is adhered to the wall using wallpaper paste. With its unique ability to transform a space quickly and easily, it has been a favorite choice for home decor since its invention.

The History of Wallpaper

The use of wallpaper began in ancient China, around 200 B.C, initially used as a decorative component in exquisite handcrafted ornaments. The idea spread rapidly across different countries, and many other cultures began adopting this trend. Over time, the production methods and designs continued to evolve, reflecting social and political changes throughout the centuries.

Types of Wallpaper

Over the years, a plethora of wallpaper types have been developed to suit various aesthetic and functional needs. These include vinyl, embossed, non-woven, grasscloth, and many more. Each type of wallpaper offers unique characteristics, from durability to ease of removal.

Vinyl Wallpaper

This is a popular choice due to its durability and ease of cleaning. It is perfect for rooms with high humidity levels, such as the kitchen or bathroom.

Embossed Wallpaper

Embossed wallpaper offers a three-dimensional texture effect, adding a touch of luxury to any space. It's also particularly useful for covering minor wall imperfections.

Non-Woven Wallpaper

Regarded for its durability and easy installation, non-woven wallpaper does not change size nor shape when moisture is applied. This makes the installation and subsequent removal process more straightforward.

The Application of Wallpaper

Application of wallpaper typically involves pasting the back of the wallpaper roll and adhering it to the desired surface. Depending on the type of wallpaper, various tools such as a brush, seam roller, and smoothing brush might be required. The process of wallpaper application is one that requires careful attention to detail, to ensure smoothness and alignment of the design.

The Evolution and Future of Wallpaper

Over the years, wallpaper has adapted to reflect changing trends and technological advancements. Today, there exist options for removable and reusable wallpaper, digitally printed designs, as well as wallpaper that can mimic the look of materials like marble, wood, and more. The future of wallpaper looks towards sustainable materials, interactive wallpapers and further innovations in design creation.

Historical Development and Use of Wallpaper

The use of wallpaper dates back to ancient times, but its development as a widely used interior decoration item has its roots in the late Middle Ages.

Origins of Wallpaper

The birth of wallpaper can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians who used to hang papyrus on their walls as decoration. The Chinese also introduced their version of wallpaper during the early dynasty periods, using rice paper to create intricate designs.

Rise in Europe

The development and use of wallpaper saw a significant surge in Europe, particularly in England and France, in the 16th century. Due to its cost-effectiveness compared to tapestries, wallpaper started to gain popularity among the middle class. The English gentry often used flocked wallpapers fashioned in velvet and silk to demonstrate their wealth and status.

Advancements in Printing Technology

The evolution of printing technology during the 18th and 19th century played a significant role in the popularity of wallpaper. With the introduction of roller printing and machine printing, mass production of wallpaper became possible. This advancement allowed for a variety of designs and made wallpaper an affordable option for the general public.

Revolution of Design

The 20th century saw a revolution in wallpaper design. The Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements significantly influenced the patterns and styles of wallpaper during this era. Graphic design, pop art, and abstract imagery became popular, providing an array of choices for home interior decoration.

Wallpaper in the Modern Age

In the present day, the use and design of wallpaper have been radically transformed by digital technology. Digital printing methods allow any image or pattern to be used as wallpaper. It offers endless customization options which have made wallpaper a popular choice in modern interior design once again.

The Environmental Impact and Sustainability

Recently, the wallpaper industry has started to focus on sustainability and reducing its environmental impact. Many brands have switched to using eco-friendly materials and production processes. The production of vinyl wallpapers, which are known for their harmful effects on the environment, has significantly reduced.


From humble beginnings with papyrus and rice paper to digital age sophistication, the use and development of wallpaper have evolved significantly. In the future, we can expect the wallpaper industry to continue its trend of creative design and sustainable practices.

Types and Designs of Wallpaper

Wallpaper is an essential element for both residential and commercial interiors, offering a palette for various artistic expressions. It comes in a wide range of different types and designs which we will discuss further.

Types of Wallpaper

There are many different types of wallpaper, each with their own unique features and benefits. Below we explore a few:

Vinyl Wallpaper

One of the most popular types of wallpaper, vinyl wallpaper is highly durable and easy to clean, making it suitable for kitchens, bathrooms, and children’s rooms. It comes in a wide range of designs and colours.

Flock Wallpaper

This type of wallpaper gives a velvet-like feel, thanks to the application of synthetic fibers. Due to its complex process, flock wallpaper tends to be more expensive and is considered a luxury wallpaper.

Metallic Wallpaper

Metallic wallpaper includes real metallic accents that give a room a glamorous appeal. It is often used in dining rooms and bedrooms to create a luxurious look.

Fabric Wallpaper

One of the most luxurious options, fabric wallpaper is made from textiles and offers a rich look and feel. It is often more expensive due to the material being used and the intricate installation process.

Designs of Wallpaper

Current wallpaper designs offer a broad range of choices suitable for any style. These range from classic patterns to modern graphics.

Classic Prints

Classic wallpaper designs feature patterns like floral, paisley, and damask. These timeless designs can add a sense of elegance and tradition to a room.

Modern Graphics

Modern wallpaper designs contain abstract forms, bold colors, and oversized patterns. They can inject vibrancy and a contemporary feel into a room.

Geometric Patterns

These designs give a room a sleek and contemporary look. Geometric patterns range from stark black and white designs to colorful, vibrant patterns.

Nature-Inspired Designs

Featuring elements from the natural world like plants, trees, and animals, these designs bring a touch of the outdoors into your indoor space.

Whether you prefer a traditional or contemporary design, there is a wallpaper out there for every taste and every room. Selecting the right type and design can dramatically transform any given space.

Materials used in Wallpaper Production

Wallpaper production involves the use of various materials to achieve quality print, design, texture, and durability. Let's examine these materials closely:

Primer Paper or Substrate

A substrate, also called the base paper, is the first material used in wallpaper production. It forms the back layer of the wallpaper, providing a surface that supports the printed design. The substrate can be made from various materials, including pulp, non-woven fabrics, vinyl, or a blend of natural and synthetic fibers. Its main role is to provide structure and enhance the durability of the finished wallpaper.


Vinyl wallpapers are comprised of a paper or fabric substrate on which a layer of vinyl is applied. This form of wallpaper is easy to install, clean and can be very durable, making it suitable for bathrooms, kitchens, and other high-traffic areas. Some wallpapers use expanded vinyl, where tiny air-filled cells give the paper a textured, high-quality finish.


Adhesives are critical to wallpaper production as they're used to bind the design layer to the substrate, and also to hold the wallpaper to the wall. Different types of adhesives can be used, including wheat paste, cellulose, or vinyl adhesives. The choice of adhesive can depend on the type of wallpaper, its weight, and the specific application conditions.

Print Inks

The ink used for printing designs on wallpaper can greatly affect the paper's overall appearance and quality. Depending on the desired effect, manufacturers may use water-based inks, oil-based inks, or ultraviolet (UV) inks. UV inks, for example, offer bright colors and high resistance to light, making them ideal for areas with lots of natural light.

Embossing Materials

Some wallpapers feature embossed designs or textures. Embossing materials such as hot foils or embossing powders can add a raised, three-dimensional effect to wallpapers. The process involves pressing the paper with heated design dies or rollers. This creates a wallpaper that not only looks unique but also feels different to the touch.

Natural Elements

Natural elements like grasscloth, bamboo, and cork are used in the production of specialty wallpapers. These materials give the wallpaper a unique, tactile texture and appeal. The use of such elements aligns with green design tendencies and offers an environment-friendly alternative to traditional wallpapers.

Back Coats

Finally, the back coat, or the reverse side of the wallpaper, often receives a coat of a material which helps with adhesion to the wall and provides a barrier to prevent moisture or wall imperfections from affecting the look of the wallpaper. This layer can also enhance the wallpaper's strength and durability.

Installation and Removal Techniques for Wallpaper

Wallpaper has the potential to totally transform a room's aesthetic, but the installation and removal process can be a little bit tricky, especially for novices. Expert techniques can make the process smoother and ensure a quality finish.

Wall Preparation

Before starting the wallpaper installation process, it's important the wall surface is properly prepared. If the wall is not smooth and clean, it can lead to an uneven application and eventual peeling. This involves cleaning the wall surface with mild soapy water, priming the wall to create a suitable adhering surface and smoothing out any holes or bumps with filler and sandpaper.

Installation Techniques

Having prepared the walls, the first step to installing the wall covering is to measure and cut the wallpaper into strips that fit perfectly onto the wall. The paste is then applied, either onto the paper or directly onto the wall, depending on the type of wallpaper. The paper is then applied onto the wall, taking care to line up the pattern and smooth out any air bubbles. The wallpaper is then left to dry over a period of about 24-48 hours.

Precision Trimming

Once dry, any excess can be trimmed away with a razor or a special wallpaper trimming tool. This should be done carefully to avoid tearing the freshly laid wallpaper.

Removal Techniques

While durable, over time, you might want to replace the existing wallpaper to update the room's look or simply change decors. Here, some effective and least damaging techniques will come handy. One effective way is steaming wherein a wallpaper steamer is pressed against the wallpaper to loosen the glue. Another method involves applying a dissolution solution or homemade mixtures combined with a scoring tool to penetrate the wallpaper and break down the adhesive.

Final Touches

The residual glue on the walls must be removed carefully without damaging the wall surface. Once done, the wall needs time to dry before any additional decoration or wall treatment is performed.

Proper installation and removal techniques not only ensure a visually pleasing finish but also longevity of the wallpaper, thus making the process a worthwhile investment.

Mistakes to Avoid

While hanging or removing wallpaper, certain mistakes can cause unnecessary damage to the walls or affect the longevity of the wallpaper. These include rushing the prep work, not allowing enough drying time, or forcefully removing the wallpaper without the proper materials or techniques.

Understanding these processes and the potential mishaps can help even the most novice DIY home decorator to achieve a professional-looking finish.

Pros and Cons of Using Wallpaper at Home

When it comes to interiors, wallpapers have always been a popular choice, due to its elegant finish, versatility, and the potential to add an aesthetic appeal to any space. But, as with every home improvement solution, the use of wallpaper comes with its set of advantages and disadvantages. We'll take a look at both, helping you make a well-informed decision for your home decor.

Advantages of Using Wallpaper

Durability and Longevity

Wallpapers are highly durable and can last up to 15 years with minimal maintenance. This is significantly longer than paint, which may require touch-ups every 2-3 years. Therefore, in the long run, wallpapers can be a cost-effective solution.

Variety of Styles and Patterns

Wallpapers come in a wide range of designs, patterns, and textures, offering endless customization possibilities for your home. You can choose from colourful graphic prints for a vibrant touch or elegant textured wallpapers for a sophisticated finish. The choices are abundant and can be tailored to complement any interior style.

Ease of Installation and Removal

Modern wallpapers are designed for easy installation and disposal. With the right tools, you can even apply or remove them yourself, saving on professional installation costs.

Disadvantages of Using Wallpaper

Initial Cost

The upfront cost of wallpaper can be higher than paint, making it appear as a more expensive option initially. However, considering its longevity, the cost can be justified over time.

Difficulty with Humid Environments

Although there are water-resistant wallpapers available in the market, in general, wallpapers don't fare well in areas with high humidity like bathrooms and kitchens. The moisture can cause the wallpaper glue to loosen and potentially lead to peeling.

Tedious to Change

Should you decide to change the wallpaper, it can be a tedious process as it involves careful removal to avoid damaging the wall surface. It's also more time-consuming than simply applying a new layer of paint.

Thus, the decision to use wallpaper at home comes with its set of considerations. Nonetheless, if chosen wisely, wallpaper can significantly enhance your home's aesthetic appeal and create unique interiors to reflect your personal style.

Tips and Tricks for Choosing the Right Wallpaper

Choosing the right wallpaper can be the key to giving your home the perfect aesthetic boost. In this section we will delve deeper into the ways to choose the right wallpaper, taking into consideration key factors such as colour, pattern, material and room size.

Consider the Room and Its purpose

Before you start looking at samples, consider the room and its usage. If it's a high-traffic room like the kitchen or a kid's room, you may want to opt for wallpaper that's durable and easy to clean. On the other hand, in a bedroom or living room, a more delicate or intricate design might work.

Understand the Scale of Pattern

The size of the pattern should also correlate to the size of your room. Smaller, more intricate patterns look great in smaller rooms or on accent walls. Conversely, large patterns, great in bigger and more open rooms would overpower smaller spaces.

Analyse the Room's Lightening Conditions

If your room doesn’t get a lot of natural light, bright and light coloured wallpaper can help brighten it up. On the contrary, if it gets a lot of light, the light might wash out light colours, making darker or vibrant wallpapers a better choice.

Choosing the Right Colour

Colours play a vital role in setting the mood of a room. Warm colours can make a room feel cosy and inviting, while cool colours can give it a relaxed, serene vibe. Neutrals offer a canvas that you can layer with different shades and textures.

Testing Samples in Home

Prior to making the final call, it's smart to bring home a few different samples to see how they look in the room's lighting. Try them out in different areas of the room at different times of the day to see how they look – this will help ensure the best fit for your space.

Material Matters

When thinking about what wallpaper to choose, another pivotal point is the material of the wallpaper. Consider durable vinyl for high-traffic areas such as hallways and kitchens. Lighter materials, like linen or even paper, are more suited to bedrooms or living rooms.

Consider Wallpaper Lifespan

Lastly, think about how long you want the wallpaper to last. Non-woven wallpapers are easy to install and remove, making them ideal if you like changing up your décor frequently. On the other hand, if you want something to last for years, go for a more traditional, paste-the-wall paper – though this will be more difficult to remove.

By carefully considering the room, taking into account lightening, analyzing size, picking the right colour, testing samples, choosing appropriate material and keeping the desired lifespan in mind, you can choose the wallpaper that will be a perfect fit for your home.

The Future of Wallpaper: Trends and Innovations

As an intrinsic aspect of designing a space, wallpaper has evolved in fascinating ways throughout history. Today, the wallpaper market is not just about embellishing walls with attractive designs. It is increasingly defined by innovation, technological advancement, sustainable practices, customization, and much more. As we move forward, we can only expect these trends to influence the evolution of wallpaper more

Digital Printing Innovations

One rising innovation in wallpaper design and manufacturing is digital printing. This technology allows for unparalleled detail, precise color management, and endless choices in pattern size and layout. Digital printing even enables personalized wallpapers - whether you want to display a personal photo, a unique design, or a corporate logo, digital printing can make it happen.

Eco-friendly Materials

As more people become environmentally aware, the demand for sustainable and eco-friendly wallpapers has grown. Manufacturers are increasingly focusing on developing wallpapers that are not only beautiful but also have a minimal environmental impact. This includes wallpapers made from recycled materials, natural materials like bamboo, and wallpapers free from hazardous chemicals.

3D Wallpaper

A significant innovation in the world of wallpaper is 3D wallpaper, offering an immersive and interactive experience. These wallpapers are created through various techniques like embossing, lenticular printing, or leveraging modern evolving technology like AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality). They can transform ordinary interior spaces into extraordinary visual experiences.

Smart and Interactive Wallpapers

Another remarkable innovation to watch out for is smart wallpaper. Cyber-physical systems are integrating wallpapers with sensors, IoT components, and wireless communications. Future wallpapers could potentially display information, change color depending on light and temperature, or interact with the user in other ways. As technology further evolves, such developments could become more common and practical.

Biophilic Designs

In line with the increased focus on sustainability, biophilic designs are gaining popularity. Biophilia translates to 'love of life or the living world,' and the designs reflect this with their emphasis on natural elements. This trend can manifest through wallpapers that mimic textures, patterns, or visuals from nature, fostering a connection between the indoors and the outdoors.

Looking ahead, one thing is clear: The future of wallpaper holds exciting opportunities within its grasp. Technological innovations, environmentally-friendly manufacturing methods, and evolving design aesthetics will continue to drive the industry forward, redefining what's possible for interior decorators, homeowners, and businesses alike.