Making the choice between wallpaper and paint has always been a challenge for home owners. Talk to an interior designer and they too may give you different opinions according to their personal bias. The ultimate decision will have to be yours.
To those who have been staying abroad for study or work in the West, they are likely to be exposed to living in accommodation where there is a wider usage of wallpaper. Wallpaper has been the choice of many owners of homes, hotels and offices in Europe and the US.
One key consideration must be the humidity of the environment besides your budget. If you are thinking of wallpapering your interior, bathrooms and kitchens are not ideal places as the wallpaper will peel away. Bedrooms, dining and living rooms are better choices.
Next you should know about the pros and cons of using wallpaper and paint. The choice of designs, colours and patterns in wallpaper is almost unlimited from floral to polka dots and even landscapes. With wallpaper designs, you may even create illusions. More than that, if there are unsightly or stubborn stains on the wall, you can hide the imperfections with wallpaper. It is not only convenient but it can also be affordable because you do not need to spend on priming and smoothing out the wall. You can make a surface look like wood or even bricks simply with wallpaper.
The setback with wallpaper is that it can be difficult to clean and maintain. Young children are inclined to scribble on the wallpaper thinking that it is material for drawing. Wallpapers do stain easily. And, if the wallpaper is exposed to sunlight in our tropical climate, the colours will fade. However, if applied correctly and left in a conducive environment, wallpaper can outlast a paint job.
Paint on the other hand is easier to maintain. Most dirt and stains can be wiped off, or you may even touch up the spots by repainting. A paint work can last for a few years. In today’s market, there is a wide choice of colours to suit your taste. The more creative and skilful painters may try decorating the wall with painting techniques, making a surface look like wood or marble.
Some may want to try colour washing which gives a soft, gently textured surface. This is done by brushing one or two thin successive washes of diluted paint over a smooth basecoat. Another technique is dragging. By pulling or dragging a dry brush over a coast of wet paint, you create a grainy effect. However, you need to ensure that the lines are continuous. You should be warned that doing a whole wall can be tedious, so perhaps you would want to get a professional to do it for you.
Another option is ragging which can be done by dabbing a rag into paint, and then dabbing it on the wall. Alternatively, you can do ragging off whereby you brush paint on the wall, and then remove some of it with a rag. You can’t use any old rag to do this. The rag to use is “chamois”. Chamois leather is a type of porous leather that is favored for its gentle, non-abrasive composition and absorption properties. Squeeze the chamois leather from time to time, changing to a new piece if necessary. If it has soaked up too much paint, it will make drips on the wall.
The con for paint is that it is not able to offer the designs that wallpaper can do. Yes, you can use stencils to paint designs, but the outcome will not be as flawless as those in wallpapers.
Hopefully this helps you to make a choice between wallpaper and paint. A noteworthy point is even after you have decided, weeks later you are likely to ponder and question; what if you had taken the other option… to paint instead of wallpaper or vice versa!
– This article first appeared in a lifestyle magazine