Like it or not, wallpaper has made its comeback.
Whether it's in all of the nicer magazines like Traditional Home, Architectural Digest or Southern Accents, or you have Candace Olson saying it on the Today Show; if you can do nothing else, add wall-covering.
Wall-covering is this season's decorative touch that we remember not always so fondly. Most of us have had the experience to try and strip the "ugly" papers for the last 10 or so years. The coordinating stripes and florals, and the borders, however, are not back.
The problem is that when wallpapers was installed by builders 15-20 years ago, most of the time the walls were not prepared properly due to the haste when these homes were built.
Unfortunately, corners were cut, and unless you specifically asked and paid extra, the drywall was not primed and the paper was pasted directly on the surface. This made it nearly impossible to remove without taking off parts of the drywall paper, and gouging into the wall. The only true fix was to completely re-skim coat the walls with drywall mud to get smooth again to prepare for painting.
Another solution to getting rid of old paper was to re-paper over the first layer once or twice. Which made the next homeowner despise paper even more when they are trying to strip two to three layers. When the trend changed to less paper and more paint, homeowners tried to get that quick fix by painting over the paper. It can be done, but it is not always the recommended answer by professionals. It puts a band-aid over the issue, but is not a good solution long term because it can bubble up or accentuate the seams when painted.
Now that we have addressed the hatred of paper, you have to admit the new patterns and textures are gorgeous. They can add a unique touch to a space, but as with everything else, moderation should be applied. Choose a special wall-covering in a powder room, formal dining room, or bath. It can be used like a fabric to pull several paint colors together. Adding a grass-cloth or textured paper in built-ins or in a coffered ceiling can really make a great statement. It will only require a few rolls, but gives the room that "wow" factor.
Installation of wall-covering can be difficult, so hire an installer. They do it every day and will prepare the walls, so if you want to change it won't be such a nightmare.