Decorating Tips

Wallpaper Ideas

I've recently been asked about what is currently in fashion for the home, and this is a question I always feel a bit uncomfortable answering. Yes of course there are always current trends and popular ideas as there is in the actual fashion world. But just because bodycon dresses might be in fashion is doesn't mean they suit (which by the way they really don't, unless looking like a sausage roll is in fashion). And this is the same for your home. Flock effect wallpaper and big pattern prints might be the current trend but it may not suit your home at all.

Before you go leaping into 'the next big thing' think about what really works and how long you want something to last. If you are big into DIY then you might be happy to re-do something after a short while when the fashion changes or your tastes change. But if you would prefer a long lasting decorative finish here are some key principles to remember.

Neutral doesn't have to be boring:-

Long gone are the days when neutral meant magnolia, there are many beautiful paint colours that can be classed as neutral that are far from magnolia. Grey is a lovely colour that is used well can be striking and long lasting. Using a light grey colour as a base colour and bringing bolder greys into the room through soft furnishings or painting smaller areas in a darker grey. For example paint the woodwork in the room in dark grey and bring that colour through to any shelves you may have, free standing or fixed. This kind of scheme can be followed with any colour allowing you to experiment with colour without doing a feature wall. If grey isn't your thing there are many great colours that can provide an understated look but are much more exciting then magnolia, Fired Earth have a great range of beautiful exotic colours that are actually quite muted (Ultramarine Ashes is a great choice), and for a more cost effective budget Dulux have a fantastic range of blues, and greens that allow you to experiment. And for a truly eco-friendly solution Paint the Town Green is my ultimate favourite

Wallpaper can cause headaches even if it isn't patterned:-

Wallpaper sounds like a lovely idea but it can be a real hassle to remove if you want to change it on a regular basis. In order to allow for you to ensure a good surface for you to wallpaper on a regular basis it's well worth paying for a plasterer to skim your walls. Then wait a good few weeks for the plaster to dry out properly before applying lining paper and then your chosen wallpaper. When you want to re-wallpaper you can paper over the existing wallpaper but it's a good idea not to do this too often as it is a real shortcut and you don't want you room to get smaller because you've added 2cm worth of wallpaper (ok this may be a slight exaggeration but you can incur problems around light switches, sockets and door frames if you do this too many times). The best thing to do is to remove the wallpaper properly by steaming the wall. When using a wallpaper steamer score the paper in a cris-cross pattern before applying the steam. Hold the steamer over an area for approximately 20-30 seconds then gently try to peel the paper off using a scraper. A couple of tips here, 1) don't scrape too deeply as you can end up putting lots of deep grooves in the wall which you will have to fill afterwards. 2) Don't hold the steamer in one place for too long as you can end up causing the plaster underneath to blow (come away from the wall). 3) have an empty bucket to hand to put the steamer in when you aren't using or when it's coming up to temp, you don't want hot steamy water all over your floor.

Once all the paper is removed spending time cleaning the wall will allow for a better finish for paint or paper. Use sugar soap to remove any glue residue and although its a horrible job go over the wall a couple of times to make sure you have removed all the glue.

Pelmets aren't just for grandparents:-

Its a good idea to investigate the beauty of bring colour and trends in through soft-furnishings and I don't just mean cushions and roman blinds (although both of those work well). Its very simple to create a box pelmet to go over your curtains (a pelmet is the box usually covered in the same fabric as the curtains that hides the curtain rail and fixings). Normally people think scalloped edges and braiding but these can be simple straight line boxes that you can make yourself from MDF and then cover in fabric. If you don't feel comfortable making them yourself commissioned a local handyman/handywoman to do it for you. You can apply the fabric using fabric glue and then you can re-apply anytime you like.

A great alternative to putting something on your walls and not having to worry about re-papering or re-painting is to have some fabric wall panels. MDF can be ordered and cut to size at your local timber yard and you can fit simple battens to the wall to hang the panels (again a handyperson can do this for you for very little costs), once you have the panels you need just cover them with fabric or wallpaper you desire and then hang. This is such a simple effective solution that you can even change the coverings with the seasons to really impress your friends and keep up with the latest styles.

If you are a real trendster though and you do what to know what is currently in vogue in the decorating world then you can't go wrong with a city print

Browns are in, cinnamons' & nutmegs are this seasons base colour. More vibrants colours in popular use are purples and yellows. As for prints, large botanical prints are in as are city prints and skylines.  Just remember ‘go temporary’ if you’re a fashion junky and like to change with the times, experiment, get creative and have fun.

Jo Behari