Wallpaper Tips

Although wallpaper has been around since 200 BC when the ancient Chinese glued rice paper onto their walls, it was not until the late 1400s that wallpaper appeared in a form similar to what we have today. Wallpaper came to America in the mid 1700s and was soon a fashion hit. Originally hand-blocked, wallpaper was time consuming to make, but the variety of styles greatly increased the patterns available. The choices were only hindered by the imagination of the creator.

The Victorian Era and the Roaring 20s brought wallpaper to the next level, the latter known as the Golden Age of Wallpaper.

Following World War II, and many changes later, the pre-pasted, pre-trimmed, and an easily removable version made wallpaper easily assessable to the public.

Its popularity waned during the later 20th century, but because of the endless choices in today’s styles and colors, wallpaper is again on the upswing.

As wallpaper has evolved over the years, an incredible variety of matching or contrasting borders has added to the mix. A border can be placed around the top of the wall just below the ceiling, or around the lower level to make a chair rail effect.

Now, depending on the theme of decor, wallpaper can look amazing almost anywhere in the home adding an architectural interest to any room.

One of the best aspects of wallpaper is that it is easy to change patterns and looks. When using removable wallpaper, someone can change a family room into an office or a den into a nursery in just one day. There is any number of colors and styles from which to choose.

Wallpaper has come along way since Chinese rice paper. The different types of wallpaper material include paper or fabric, or texture with little or no color, plain color, or print. You can even hang wallpaper and then paint it any color you choose.

The only thing you need to consider when choosing wallpaper is to which room you want to paper (i.e. kitchen, bathroom, den), the type and color of the furniture, the size of the room, and whether there are nooks and crannies that could prove challenging.

You can match the wallpaper to whatever theme you are considering, or already have in place. If you have a cottage theme throughout your house, you would want to choose wallpaper that fits in rather than placing an art deco paper that would clash with the rest of the home.

Wallpaper can add a greater dimension to a room than you ever thought possible, or it can look glaringly out of place. Take time to consider your options, look at a variety of samples, and enjoy the relatively easy change to your home.


Formal Home Decorating

When most people think of a formal home decorating style, they think of the elegant homes of past eras, high-end hotels such as the Ritz-Carlton, or the decor the the White House and other public buildings. Formal homes and buildings were constructed with elaborate detail usually including deep baseboard moldings and highly polished hand-laid hardwood floors.

A distinguishing feature of the formal decor relates to the outward form, structure, or arrangement of elements rather than the contents. The style is more about appearance than substance created especially to attract the attention of others.

The formal home decorating style consists of symmetrical lines in the tall windows, wood furniture, and flooring. Artwork, accessories, and furniture are often arranged in exact pairs throughout the room in keeping with the straight lines of the structure.

In each entryway and interior room, the eye is drawn to a central focal point, whether a beautiful fireplace, a large painting or statue, or an elegant garden outside as seen through tall picture windows dominating a far wall.

The focal point could also be an elegant desk centered in a study surrounded by walls of shelves filled with books from floor to ceiling, a well-tended fireplace, and stylish seating. A highly polished grand piano could well be the focal point of the conservatory or drawing room.

Brilliant crystal chandeliers are often included in the entryway, and formal dining and living rooms, hanging from high sculptured ceilings. Wall sconces are seen throughout the home. Large original oil paintings, handcrafted sculptures, and antiques are often strategically placed throughout the space.

All surfaces are polished to a high gloss, as opposed to the low gloss of the casual style. Dark mahogany, maple, or cherry wood are often used for walls and furniture.

Persian carpets and Oriental rugs are placed on the polished floors. Rich, luxurious fabrics are used to drape windows, cover sofas and pillows, and the pillows and bedspreads draped over opulent beds.

The formal home decorating style does not lend itself to easy, casual living. It is often a rigid style of decor, meant to look at and admire more than comfortably live in day to day.


Modern Home Decorating

To ensure decorating success for your home or room, before you begin your project you must first understand the look you desire to achieve. A modern home decorating style utilizes a clean, streamlined look, neutral color palette, and sleek, smooth finish. Understanding the style will also help you choose the best accessories and accent pieces to highlight the space. Shopping is less of a challenge when you have a specific style in mind, and can focus on the pieces that best fit your chosen style.

The style you decide to use defines the color, space, and shape of the room while also defining the furniture and accessories occupying the room.

Debut of the modern style

The modern home decorating style made its debut in the 1930s, and was characterized by its polished surfaces, strong geometric shapes, and asymmetrical lines.

The look values function over form. Open floor plans are common with floor to ceiling windows unadorned by drapes or blinds allowing natural light to flow into the space.

A neutral color palette provides an opportunity to highlight the accessories. White walls allow furnishings, fabrics, and accessories of neutral tone-on-tone to take center stage.

Sleek and smooth

Finished surfaces are smooth and sleek. Floors are often made of concrete, granite or linoleum and chrome or stainless steel accents the furniture and accessories.

Stainless steel and chrome are found in the kitchen, and a lacquered finish is often applied to kitchen cabinets. Linoleum kitchen floors are common.

Accessories in a modern home decorating theme should stand out. Lamps in neutral colors such as black or white, and sporting a geometric shape will make a strong statement.

Accessorize for striking effect

Accessories are often made of industrial materials for a striking effect. Choose chrome or solid colors, and keep coffee and end tables and other surfaces free from clutter.

The placement of artwork in a modern home supports the look of the style. Bold geometric shapes and lines on artwork strategically placed to receive the best lighting will make a strong statement.

If you are partial to a smooth, clean, streamlined look in your furniture and accessories, the modern home decorating look may be your style choice. The neutral palate and strategic placement of furniture and accessories give the room, and home, a sophisticated look.


Seek Balance in Your Home Decorating Style

We may not always know why, but many of us feel more comfortable in our homes when we find and maintain balance in our decorating style. Many people have laid out rules over the years in an attempt to help people successfully decorate their homes. While the advice from numerous decorators can be overwhelming, there are still a few key areas you can look at to help you reach your decorating goal.

Unless you are attempting a formal elegant style, you will find that today’s decor is much more informal than in the past. To help you find balance, consider the following as you prepare to decorate your space:

Consider whether you want light or dark colors in the room. What look are you going for? How many windows do you have that can help brighten the room from an outside light source? Do you want dark walls and furniture in an area where you will need to rely on interior lighting?

Consider the size of the room and the number of pieces of furniture you plan to have in the space. Also, consider the size of each piece of furniture. You do not want to overwhelm the room with too many large items.

What type of items will go in the room? If it is a family room, you probably will not have your antique crystal collection on display. Go with user-friendly sofas, chairs, and end tables. Save the breakables for a more formal location.

You can use size and weight of the objects to balance a room. Group like objects together such a several candles of varying sizes, or a few books or other items grouped together for a nice look.

Let your intuition guide you as to whether the decor in the room is something you will feel comfortable with when you finish. Stand in a couple of different areas of the room and sense how you feel about the placement of furniture and objects.

As you look around, how does it look to you? Does it feel welcoming and homey, or do you dread using that room? If it does not feel right, consider what needs moved, removed, or added.

When you seek balance in your home decor hopefully you will allow yourself to enjoy the process. Relax and get a sense of how the room feels to you. If you like it, you will more than likely enjoy your newly decorated space.


Budget Decorating

When economic times are tough but you long to redecorate a room or two, you can still refresh your space while on a budget. Using your imagination and a few of our suggestions, you can bring a dull room back to life even while budget decorating. If you have a room that looks like it is a floor model for the local used furniture drop-off, with just a few changes, you can have a room that will bring you comfort and joy.

Check out your options

Luckily, you have options. If your furniture is made of wood, but the mix of colors and textures leave you cold, you can use stain and varnish to bring the wood tones to a close match. You could also consider painting the wood a matching color, depending on what theme you are going for. White furniture works especially well with a beach, country, or cottage theme.

If the furniture is upholstered, you can buy slipcovers for the sofa and chairs, either matching or in complementary colors or prints. If you are handy with a sewing machine, you save even more by making them yourself.

Changing the color brings an instant transformation to the room. You could change the slipcovers twice a year with dark colors in the winter, and white or neutral in the summer. Slipcovers for a sofa should be of a plain color with prints or flowers on the smaller pieces of furniture.

You can easily change the look of a room with a can or two of paint. Try painting just one wall with an accent color if you do not want to paint the whole room. If the main color of the room is neutral, consider using a splashy, vibrant accent color. If the room is dark or brightly painted, the accent color should be a more neutral hue.

Quick and easy fix

Pillows and throws are a quick and inexpensive way to change up a room. Pick up the accent wall color in the pillows. Also, consider candles, lamps, or vases in accent colors, especially if the main theme is a neutral color. Treat area rugs the same way when choosing colors.

Rearrange the furniture, moving away from the wall and into conversational groupings. Change out furniture, lamps, and/or pictures from other rooms for a quick update, especially check out what you have in the bedrooms that might transition to the family room for a season. Rotate framed pictures around the house, and the season if you have pictures that are holiday themed.

Frequent local flea markets and estate sales for inexpensive pieces to use in your updated space. That said, clear as much clutter as possible to give your room a fresh look. If you do not want to spend a lot of money, just changing items from room to room is the most inexpensive way to utilize budget decorating.