Paint or wallpaper? Wallpaper or paint? You stare at the wall for hours, but still can't come up with the right answer. Is it time to call your local interior decorator
? Getting a professional opinion may be a good idea, but even an interior designer
is only there to help you decide for yourself, so it can't hurt to learn a few paint and wallpaper basics first. Who knows? The right answer may come to you and you'll be able to do it yourself.
Choosing Paint Colours
Nine times out of ten, you are going to paint the majority of walls in your home. Paint provides the backdrop for everything else in the room and is an essential part of the creation of a room's ambiance. In spite of its importance, too many homeowners make one of two fatal mistakes when choosing paint:
- More often than not, they choose a safe but bland neutral colour, usually a standard off-white with grey or beige tones. This is fine for a rental property or if you're putting your home up for sale, but does nothing to express your personal sense of style.
- Not wanting to settle for bland, some do-it-yourselfers go overboard in the other direction, choosing a bright, bold colour and using it to excess.
Rather than play it safe or take a punt, a little forethought can go a long way towards choosing a colour that is perfect for your room. Start by buying or borrowing a colour fan from your local paint supplier
. At first glance, the fan can be overwhelming with its enormous variety of choices, but it's set up to help you eliminate colour schemes you don't want and find complementary colours you will want to use. The colour fan will be particularly handy when:
- You want to paint your wall in a colour that complements your existing decor.
- You want to paint the walls of two adjoining rooms that are not closed off from one another, such as a living room and open plan kitchen.
After you have chosen a colour you think you like, it may be a good idea to buy a sample can first and paint a portion of a wall. Colours tend to look darker and/or bolder when applied to the walls than they look on the colour fan, so unless you have the highly trained eye of a professional painter
, the minor extra expense of a test tin of paint may help prevent a major mistake.
If you decide to choose wallpaper instead of paint or for use on a feature wall, you have some exciting choices ahead of you. Today's wallpaper comes in an enormous range of patterns and textures. You can even get photo-realistic wallpaper and create a fantasy wall if you like. In general, though, you'll be choosing a wallpaper pattern. While there are hundreds, if not thousands to choose from, there are just a few basic rules to keep in mind when choosing wallpaper:
- Intricate patterns tend to make a room look smaller.
- Vertical patterns make a room look taller.
- Wallpaper, even when used on a single feature wall, tends to dominate a room.
- Textured wallpapers look different in different lights.
Keeping these things in mind can help you narrow down your choices and choose the best wallpaper for your needs. Especially when choosing a textured wallpaper, it's a good idea to hang a sample on your wall overnight and see how it looks at all times of the day and at night.
So what's it going to be; paint or wallpaper? Before you decide on just one, consider both. The best advice is to take your time and have fun. Make choosing paint and wallpaper an adventure instead of a chore and you'll make the right choice.