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WONDER WALL; Wallpaper is back in fashion... and Julia Gray tells you how to get it right.

Byline: Julia Gray

While some wallpapers are costly, there are lots of inexpensive ones on the high street and online. In fact, you need look no further than your local DIY store for inspiration - B&Q, for example, has some stunners and they won't break the bank.

If you don't want to go to the hassle and cost of replastering, wallpaper is a good way to improve the appearance of uneven walls.

Thick wallpapers, especially textured and embossed ones, and lining papers are ideal for covering up imperfections (wallpapers with a shiny or reflective surface will highlight lumps and bumps).

Wallpaper is also a great way to add colour, pattern and texture (depending on the design) to a room, whether you're papering all the walls or just one feature wall.

Feature walls are brilliant because you can go to town with wallpaper without it overpowering the room or making it look too busy.

You can even create a horizontal feature on all four walls by using wallpaper above a picture rail, between a picture and dado rail or, more traditionally, below a dado rail.

If you like the idea of breaking up the space visually in this way and you don't have these original features, you can always add them.

Anyone who lives in a period property knows that the walls and ceilings often aren't straight, and this problem can be accentuated by patterned wallpaper.

You can either avoid it, choose a pattern that won't look too bad (straight-across patterns should be avoided with wonky ceilings, and vertical ones with wonky walls) or accept that it won't look perfect - another good reason why patterned wallpaper is often best confined to one wall.

You can use wallpaper in any room, although not wet rooms or areas where it will get wet, such as inside a shower cubicle.

There are special vinyl wallpapers designed for kitchens and bathrooms and you can also use conventional wallpaper, although it's advisable to protect it with a clear varnish designed for paper or, if you want an unusual splashback, a glass or Perspex panel.

Hanging wallpaper can be a bit tricky for novices and takes some getting used to, so the easiest option is to use a paste-the-wall wallpaper.

As the name says, you apply wallpaper paste to the wall using a roller or brush and then stick your cut, dry lengths of wallpaper onto the wall. Unlike conventional wallpaper, you don't have to wait for the paste to soak in and you don't have to grapple with soggy lengths of paper.

Hung correctly, wallpaper should last for years, but it can, of course, get damaged by marks, knocks and other rough treatment and it isn't as easy to repair as paint.

In kitchens and bathrooms, the humidity may lead wallpaper to deteriorate quicker than it would in other rooms, but all lining and wallpapers will get tatty and start to come away at the seams eventually.

The good news is that it'll probably be many years from now.

HOW TO... paper straight Because rooms often aren't straight or square, don't use windows, doorframes or corners as a starting point for wallpapering. Instead, create a straight line using a plumb and chalk line. From there, work around the room in the way that feels most natural to you, new plumb line each time you go round a corner.

and create a In order to get the seams and pattern (if your wallpaper has one) looking their best, you should work out how you're going to hang the paper before you start.

There's usually one wall that's most prominent - you may want to leave papering this wall until you've done a couple of others and have got the hang of it, but plan where the seams will go on this wall first, so they don't look too noticeable.



Good pasting: Wallpapering is a handy way to improve the appearance of uneven walls
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 7, 2012
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