Wallpaper is a common design choice but it does not have to be hung in a common way. There are many different ways to apply wallpaper.


When decorating with wallpaper, an air vent, light switch plate, electrical outlet cover or door can stand out. With a mural, bold print or expensive paper, the last thing you want is to ruin the design with a large white vent. In these times it can be better to conceal the cover with the matching wallpaper pattern. This will help it to disappear. The eye will move past it instead of stopping as it visually fades into the background. It will no longer seem obtrusive and jarring. This will give the wall a seamless look. The room will be more cohesive and covers will no longer stand out.

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Traditionally, wallpaper is installed vertically however, hanging a paper horizontally can make even the same pattern look dramatically different.

So why choose to hang wallpaper horizontally? Aside from just creating a new look, installing paper this way can also help you play with scale. Horizontal stripes draw the eye along, making a wall feel wider or can bring the height down on a tall wall. This can make a smaller room seem larger or a voluminous room feel more intimate. This technique works best with patterns that do not have an obvious direction. The most common pattern used is a striped one but most geometrics and some florals can work too. Keep in mind though that not all walls are suited to being hung horizontally. If your ceiling or floor is not level, a pattern will look uneven as it meets them. Installing wallpaper horizontally will not work for all patterns or spaces but, used thoughtfully it can be very effective and create quite an impact.

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Wallpaper placed in paneling or over wainscoting can really set your room apart.

Dining rooms are a common place to hang wallpaper above a chair rail or wainscoting. Very traditional wallpaper works well in this space. It creates a sense of formality or drama. Installations like these require much less wallpaper so there can be a cost savings.

For a formal look use an inset panel. Placing wallpaper in an inset panel creates a picture frame effect. You can use a regular repeat pattern or place a mural in each inset panel. Balancing your pattern is key in this type of installation.

To make your wallpaper dollar go even farther consider just using your wallpaper over a plate rail. Because the height to the ceiling is less than the width of most wallpaper, you can hang it horizontally if the paper does not have a direction. You will lose less wallpaper to trimming.

Another popular wallpaper application is to inset wallpaper into bookcases or wine cellar shelving. Wallpapering the background in these spaces can help showcase the contents in front of them.