Living Smart: Will wallpaper trend stick this time?

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Denise Jordan has seen wallpaper come and seen it go.

She and her husband, owners of Jordan Wallcoverings based in Gastonia, N.C. and highly rated on Angieís List, have made a living covering walls in the Charlotte area and beyond for more than 30 years.

For decades, the wall-coverings business was dominated by wallpaper, adding accents and personality to rooms, and making cleanup in bathrooms and kitchens an easier task. Then it fell off, as people chose to remove wallpaper and paint rooms.

Interest in putting up wallpaper has ebbed and flowed over the years, but right now, it seems to be flowing again, Jordan says.

Wallpaper trends

Whether itís a matter of everything that goes around comes around, or the greater versatility offered by digital printing ó you can now blow up a photo or image to the size of the wall ó wallpaper specialists say the look is returning, at least for some rooms and home styles.

World map wall paper

In particular, Jordan has spotted these recent wallpaper trends:

Textures: More homeowners are showing interest in wallpaper with a textured finish such as metallic foil, shiny or wall coverings that simulate wood paneling or grasscloth.

Kitchens and bathrooms: Wallpaper tends to hold up best in kitchens and bathrooms, Jordan says. The pattern and texture can offer the small space a special style ó and depending on the type of covering chosen, a wipeable finish.

Accents: Instead of papering an entire room, the trend seems to be toward accent walls or even a traditional border style at the top of the wall.

One holdup in the wallpaper comeback? Expense.

"It really has gone up in price," Jordan says, ranging anywhere from $14 to $45 a yard in this area. Thatís much pricier than a can of quality interior paint that can cover an entire room.

Before you start

If wallpaper is hung and installed correctly, it can look fresh for a decade or more. To do this right, you might want to hire someone who specializes in hanging wallpaper instead of opting for DIY wallpaper installation.

A key to hanging it well is sizing the wall. To do this, Jordan applies a substance that creates a slippery surface on the wall that helps the wallpaper grip the wall better, and this makes it easier to peel off wallpaper later when the trend ebbs again.

If that step is done correctly, the paper will stick just right and it will come down when you want it to, she says.

"Some people love it and some people hate it," Jordan says of wallpaper. "I guess thatís the case with anything, though."