Choosing Wallpaper And Estimating Quantities

Choosing wallpaper can be an exciting part of the design process. It can add a vibrancy and texture that can complement many types of design, particularly in rooms that do not have an obvious focal point.

Considered old fashioned at one point, wallpaper is now making a comeback and is used in all types of projects and with all types of clients.

Choosing the right wallpaper for your client
When researching wallpaper for your client, ask some key questions about location.

What type of room will it be going in?
The requirements for kitchens, bathrooms and children’s rooms will differ. You will need to ensure you pick a suitable paper that can withstand moisture, changes in temperature and general wear and tear.

How much sunlight does the room get?
Direct sunlight can cause some wallpapers to fade, particularly if they’re exposed to south facing light.

Gather samples
It is a good idea to get samples of wallpaper before you choose, especially if you are buying wallpaper online. Colours on screen can look quite different in real life. Having a sample will ensure that you can inspect the quality, colours and pattern scale.

Scale is very important when selecting a wallpaper. For instance, in a small room, too small a pattern will make the wall look very busy and too large a pattern will make the wall look out of proportion to the rest of the room.

Where can I get samples?
Some companies provide wallpaper samples. It is worth contacting your local wallpaper companies to see if they provide samples. Some companies that do this are:


Budget. What is your client willing to pay?
Wallpaper prices can range widely depending on the quality and company you are sourcing from.

Try not to fall into the common misconception that expensive means better quality. This may be true in some cases but it is worth remembering that there are excellent wallpapers available at reasonable prices.

How much paper will you need for the job?
Estimating how much wallpaper you’ll need can be tricky. Generally, the first thing to do is to get accurate wall dimensions from your client.

You will then need to find out how much coverage one roll of wallpaper gives you. Typically, a single roll of wallpaper will cover from 5-5.3 square metres. The dimensions are usually written on the label, along with the batch number, pattern number and pattern repeat.

Note: pattern repeat will vary from paper to paper. It is wise to estimate approximately 10-15% for wastage but this will depend on the pattern repeat on each paper.

A reputable supplier will be able to give you the accurate quantities required. In addition, some wallpaper companies provide online calculators which help you estimate how much wallpaper you will need. For example, you will find a useful calculator on Cole & Sons website (

Preparation. Is lining paper a necessity?
Before wallpaper is installed, consider the conditions of the existing walls. Older properties will often have quite an uneven finish and may require a lining paper installed before the actual wallpaper is installed.

Lining papers comes in a variety of grades from 800-1400 grade. The higher the number, the heavier the lining paper.

Ready mixed adhesives are generally used for non-woven backed papers and heavier vinyls. Lighter grades of paper can be used with powdered pastes where you add water. As always, use the recommended adhesives.

Wallpaper installation is not a one-size-fits-all methodology. Each manufacturer will have specific instructions unique to their range of wall coverings. For instance, some require that you paste the wall while others specify pasting the paper itself. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions to ensure a hassle free installation. These can be found on the wallpaper label or on the manufacturer’s website.

When it comes to lining paper, adhesives and installation, it is always worth consulting with a reputable tradesperson who can install the paper correctly. This will not only maximise the quality of the finish but will also add to the longevity of the wallpaper.

Because of the current popularity of wallpaper, there is now a vast variety of types and styles available. By knowing your client’s requirements, their budget, how to estimate coverage and the best way to install the wallpaper, you should be confident that you’re selecting the best product. And as a result, you’ll enjoy the process even more.

What is your take on wallpaper? Is it something you would consider using? Remember there are many notable designers out there designing ranges such as Ralph Lauren, Marcel Wanders and Orla Kiely. When you consider the variety of residential and commercial applications, the possibilities are endless.


The links included here are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only. We bear no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of any external site or for any content on subsequent websites, nor does the inclusion of these links constitute our endorsement or an approval of any products, services or opinions stated.


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Written by: Ger Cooney

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