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As mentioned in Part 1, wallpaper is frequently hung upside down.

Is this Scalamandre Pimpernel paper showing up or down?

scalamandre up

Here’s a few tips you can use if you’re not sure the wallpaper design goes up or down:

  • Manufacturers usually roll the wallpaper up. When you undo the wrapping on the wallpaper roll, the end you unroll is the top.
  • Look for natural design. Find a flower, tree, bird in the design. Where it is positioned should indicate the top of the paper.
  • Look for any shadows (sun shines down). Shadows usually appear near the floor while highlights come from the ceiling.
  • Go to the manufacturer’s web site and look for pictures of an installation of the wallpaper.
  • If the design is not clear, then it is an artistic choice. Unroll two rolls and lay them side by side so you can see the pattern match. If you want feedback, take a photo and send it to someone you trust/your designer and ask for their opinion.
  • Take stick pins, unroll paper about 5-6 feet of a roll. Pin it to the wall and step back. Sometimes a pattern will emerge that you can’t see if it is on the table or in your lap.

Something to think about

You don’t have to hang wallpaper from ceiling to floor. You can hang it from corner to corner, railroad it. I recently did a client project where the homeowner had striped wallpaper.  Instead of hanging the stripes ceiling to floor, we hung it side to side.

BTW … the photo above of the Pimpernel paper is showing up.

Below is an example of Farrow & Ball wallpaper – one hung up, one hung down.


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Having fun this September installing some cute wallpapers. Decorating an accent wall to be a Magic Forest in an adorable baby’s room, making Best Friends in a little girl’s room and starting the next astronaut with Space Jam wallpaper. Wallpaper provides so many nice options to inspire children’s play, turning a child’s room into a fantasy world of creativity and imagination.

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Wallpaper patterns are often perceived by the color you choose. Same wallpaper, different colors, different vibe entirely. The green paper was installed last week for a client in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, DC. She chose this paper for her living room to bring the room to life. This Miyuki wallpaper comes in several colors. My choice for the navy/gold is a powder room and the cream/black in a bedroom. 

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Kalorama’s Dark Paper Secrets

This week we’ve been working again in DC, this time in Kalorama neighborhood. This area is known for it’s embassies and beautiful old row houses (that are long and narrow). My client chose a Graham & Brown dark floral wallpaper for three accent walls. I love how using the same wallpaper in three different places really dressed up and widened the entire 1st floor. Wallpaper can bring out the best of all spaces especially long and narrow ones. You can even use it to hide an ugly electric box (photo #3). Sometimes it’s okay to paper over your problems.

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