ADVICE ON CHOOSING WALLPAPER by Jane Gordon Clark, founder and designer of ORNAMENTA, a specialist wallpaper company whose wallpapers have a reputation for quality and style with an international clientele. See them on www.ornamenta.co.uk
When you decide to hang wallpaper you have already made a decision to be more adventurous than just using paint. A plain painted wall is fine, but wallpaper offers you the opportunity to be creative and make your own very individual decoration. You can choose excitement and drama, or subtlety and serenity, and everything in between, because there is such a vast number of interesting designs on the market.
There are a few things to consider when you are looking at different papers:
Don’t be afraid of scale; a large design can look wonderful in a small room and sometimes a small all-over design can be just that little bit dull. (Images 1 & 2: Ornamenta)
Always look at the sample from a distance, rather than flat in the wallpaper book, because you never stand half a metre away from a wall studying the wallpaper; it is the overall effect you need to see.
It is a great help to see a picture of the paper you like in a room setting, especially as you can then see if there is a dominant part of the design that leaps from the wall in distracting horizontals or diagonals. It is surprising how often this happens with wallpaper designs and it is too late to notice it when the paper is hung. (Image: Farrow & Ball)
If you have several pictures, choose a design with an integrated pattern and gently toned colours rather than a highly defined design with bold contrasts that will detract from your pictures, but this does not necessarily mean restricting yourself to textures or a simple pattern.
Price obviously has an impact on choice. The wallpapers I design for Ornamenta are more expensive than average because most of them are printed by hand. This enables me to create designs that have a long repeat, sometimes looking as if they have no repeat at all, almost as if I have been painting the wall. Clients find they have a contemporary elegance that brings a distinctive style to their decorative scheme.
Most prices range from the very inexpensive to the comfortably accessible, but take time choosing what you really like, because after all the trouble taken in putting it up, it is likely to be around quite a while. (Image: Zoffany)
Manufacturers nearly always recommend lining the walls first. Many people think this is unnecessary, if they have walls in good condition. However, it is really important as it provides a proper base to which the paper can adhere. Also, it prevents shrinkage between the drops and makes sure that the paper will not peel away at the corners. Professional paperhangers will never cut this out to save time. Good preparation is the secret of a perfect finish. (Image: Sanderson)
Wallpaper is a wonderful way to bring character to a room. You can make it luxurious, or sophisticated, quirky, or brilliantly colourful or just plain fun, but above all, enjoy it!