Angie's List: Today's wallpaper is easier to work with and offers more choices than ever

New styles make wallpaper an option to painting

TAMPA - Wallpaper has made a comeback during the past two years, according to interior design experts. An alternative to paint, wallpaper can bring color and texture to any room. "Wallpaper is making a comeback," said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List. "There are some really neat trends. But one thing hasn't changed - wallpaper is a commitment. Putting it up and taking it down can be tricky. Take it from me. Taking down wallpaper is not the easiest task in the world. After an entire weekend of removing wallpaper in a kitchen I have to admit I really wish I would have hired to have it done."

Today's wallpaper is also easier to remove, and is much more interesting to look at with repeating patterns, vibrant colors and pictures. Hanging wallpaper is a great way to brighten up or change the feel of a room without spending the money on a major renovation. It can bring in color, texture or provide a unique feel to any room.

Angie's List, the nation's leading provider of consumer reviews, asked highly rated service providers about your wallpapering options.

Most common wallpaper types:

  • Vinyl: This is the most commonly used type of wallpaper as it is versatile and can be used in any room. It also comes in mildew-resistant varieties to protect your home. Vinyl is the easiest type of wallpaper to apply and clean.
  • Fabric: Fabric wallpaper is typically attached to vinyl wallpaper to help it adhere to the wall. While the look of fabric can be desirable, it often attracts dirt and dust and can be difficult to clean.

Wallpaper contractor Jim Stevens said, "I'm doing a lot of stripping and then painting again. However, having said that, the wallpaper is coming back. I'm wallpapering more now than I have in the last four or five years. Used to be all I did was wallpaper. Now I'm doing both. I've hung more grass cloth in the last couple of years than I had in the previous ten so that has made a huge comeback."

Angie's List Tips: Hanging Wallpaper

  • What should I consider before selecting wallpaper? Look, lifestyle and room size all factor into selecting a type or style of wallpaper. Grass cloth paper provides a classic touch, but if your child plays Picasso on the wall, there's no washing it off. Consider vinyl-coated wallpaper with kids and in well-worn areas. Pay attention to print size as well. If you're not planning on staying in your home for several years, pick a neutral wallpaper color.
  • DIY or hire a contractor? Homeowners should consider hiring a skilled craftsperson to apply wallpaper for the best outcome. Check references before hiring a wallpaper company, as well as check to make sure the company is insured. That way, if the company does damage a wall, their insurance will cover the damages. There are tools homeowners can use to remove wallpaper, but stripping is a tedious job. A professional can save time and energy by completely removing the paper and paste with non-toxic chemicals, skimming the walls, which involves filling holes and repairing chips and dents – sanding, and then any adding any needed touchups so the wall is ready to prime or paint.  
  • What will it cost me? Wallpaper can cost $10 to $100 or more per roll, depending on styles and the manufacturer. To determine how much you'll need, experts advise getting a professional measurement that accounts for breaks in the wall, such as a window or stairwell. Labor rates — like paper prices — vary widely by the job. Removal pricing is typically based on labor and materials, but an average room can be done for around a couple of hundred dollars.

Stevens adds, "If you don't like tedious stuff, you want to stay out of the stripping business. Hanging wallpaper is a tedious process too. A lot of times you get what you pay for. A professional will put it up right and take it off right too."

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