You’re so ready for beautiful wallpaper but fear a repeat of DIY wallpaper disasters. Enter Candace Bush of Wallcover Decor in San Jose, California, and Brian Williams of Paint and Paperman in New York, New York to talk gorgeous walls and inside knowledge. Wallpaper can be DIY, but installing (or removing) it yourself is a recipe for disaster. Here’s what to expect when hiring a professional and what you need to know before you get started.
What are the benefits of hiring a wallpaper pro over DIY?
Quick installation born from years of experience, says Candace. No need to muck around, covered in adhesive, wasting your pricey patterned paper. Get someone on the job who knows what the heck they’re doing.
Besides being awkward to put up, Brian shares that each type of wallpaper has specific characteristics, that require different methods of application. A pro knows the tricks of the trade for each style of wallpaper.
What should a new client check for before hiring a wallpaper pro?
You already know this answer: Read reviews! The pros agree, good work speaks for itself.
Check out a pro’s online galleries of past projects. Candace recommends you inquire how many years experience they have—it might not be awesome to have a first-timer earn their chops in your dining room.
Brian suggests asking about experience hanging the specific type of paper you’ve selected. Is it vinyl, embossed, fabric-backed, or foil? Each type has its own quirks, so go with a pro who has success navigating them. And don’t forget to ask if they have insurance, says Brian!
What are common DIY disasters when the uninitiated hang wallpaper?
Candace has seen all kinds of mayhem resulting from go-it-alone wallpaper efforts. A common occurrence is someone using the improper application process for a certain type of wallpaper or wall texture so there is a tragic mix of stretching and shrinking on the paper’s surface. And this after it’s glued on the wall. Not good.
Brian shares that he gets calls fairly often from people saying, “I put up two pieces and I’m over it. Can you come fix what I’ve done and finish it for me?”
Are there any walls that don’t work with wallpaper?
As long as the walls are clean and structurally sound, they should be fine according to Brian.
However, if you have new sheetrock that hasn’t been properly sanded and sealed with a primer, wallpaper won’t take well, shares Candace. Deeply textured walls that aren’t smooth are also not too compatible with wallpaper, she says.
If you’re worried about your walls working with your dream wallpaper, send your targeted pro pics of your wall texture and ask if it’s a go before diving in.
What’s the word on wallpaper trends?
Accent walls are in when it comes to wallpaper, state both Brian and Candace.
In the Bay Area, wallpaper murals in big, bold patterns are showing up a lot, says Candace. They’re taking over from the previously popular tiny flowers or more delicate designs. She has a lot of requests for gold and silver grasscloth textured wallcovering. Another hit has been one power wall in black or striking damask patterns.
Grasscloth has been making waves in NYC as well. Murals have also been popular on the East Coast for Brian. He shares that with the accessibility of large-scale digital printing, he’s been hanging a lot more photo murals.
What is the average cost of hiring a wallpaper pro?
Wallpaper costs anywhere from $20 – $200+ a roll, depending on just how fabulous your walls need to be. The number of rolls you need is only determined by the width and height of your room and the square footage on the roll. If you’re attempting DIY, be sure to buy more than your precise square footage to allow for errors.
In San Jose, the average cost for a pro to come hang your wallpaper is anywhere from $500 to $1000, shares Candace. It really depends on the size of the room and the type of paper being considered.
Any tips for people who are hiring a wallpaper pro for the first time?
Brian says that reading reviews is the way to go.
Candace shares specific strategies from start to finish. First, connect with them via phone or a meeting and explain your vision and feel confident they have the skills to deliver for you. She recommends you research your wallpaper as if you were going to install it yourself. There are many different wall coverings with many different instructions, so your installer needs to have the right tools for the job. She explains that the paper’s material makes a difference on how it needs to be applied. Its an art form to install, she says, so don’t rush or insist it be completed in the blink of an eye. She also says that plastic 3D panels are not wallpaper—they’re actually one of her worst nightmares! You’ll end up with the walls of your dreams by putting in a little research on the front end and ensuring your pro knows what’s what.
Share a fantastic wallpaper job that you loved doing:
Candace installed a mural of a pool party on the walls of a bathroom. The window look out over the backyard pool. She loved it because the look was just so fun.
Brian hung wallpaper for a well-known artist named Philip Taaffe who had found an embossed vintage paper that appeared to look like a dyed leather. The wallpaper was so fantastic that the Smithsonian Museum requested samples for their collection. The two of them also came up with an idea for an anaglypta (paintable) wallpaper that Brian installed on Philip’s dining room ceiling with 3 different layers of paint, the last of which he did on my back, hand painting over 300 stars in yellow over brown.
[Top wallpaper via Ferm Living]