Once you make the switch from wall paint to wallpaper, a new quest begins - the search for the best wallpaper material and type. As with every other decor choice, there are multiple variants of wallpaper to choose from, each designed to fulfill a specific purpose. The ideal fit for your living space would depend on your creative, functional and logistical requirements. Generally speaking, though, picking peel and stick wallpaper is a no-brainer - especially for rented homes.
A few decades ago, one didn’t really have a choice between permanent and removable wallpaper. Wall coverings mainly offered the creative freedom to brighten your living space with prints and patterns of your choice. Other than that, their installation would be fairly cumbersome, and removing them would involve considerable damage to the underlying wall finish.
With the arrival of peel and stick wallpaper, though, the possibilities have increased manifold. These wall coverings are built like self-adhesive “stickers” that you can easily paste on your wall, and peel back to remove when needed.
What are the different wallpaper materials out there?
Well to begin with, we have paper - the material that gives this wall covering its name in the first place! Usually, the term “paper wallpaper” is used to describe traditional wallpapers, the “permanent” kind. Think of it as a large print that you paste on your wall using an external adhesive. This adhesive is typically mixed with water to form a wet paste that is applied to the wallpaper backing to allow it to stick to the wall. After installation, the paste dries and keeps the wallpaper affixed to the wall surface.
Needless to say, installing this type of wallpaper requires careful handling and a fair degree of expertise to prevent bubbles or creases. A slight upgrade in terms of ease of installation is “prepasted” wallpaper. This is basically paper wallpaper that includes glue in the backing, but the glue gets activated only with the addition of water. Though less messy than traditional wallpaper installation, putting up prepasted wallpaper still requires some care and skill.
In terms of looks, paper wallpaper is preferred over vinyl as it offers a matte finish as well as the smooth, “painted” look that woven wall coverings may not be able to provide. However, its cumbersome installation and the inability to switch easily between different styles, makes it a less popular choice than removable wallpaper.
Vinyl is the other common wallpaper material, but few would consider it the best. Vinyl wall coverings are easy to find and also tend to be easy on the pocket, but their glossy finish makes them fall short in stylish interiors. Vinyl also comes with an added issue – bringing PVC and associated airborne toxins into your home. So despite its ready availability and affordability, this type of wallpaper is far from being the perfect choice for your home.
Not all vinyl wallpapers are alike. You will find solid vinyl wallpapers that are 100% vinyl, and as such carry all the pros and cons of the material. These are quite durable, can handle regular scrubbing, and are typically cheap. On the flipside, there’s no escaping their glossy plastic look, and the long-term exposure to PVC for your loved ones.
Other alternatives have been developed that reduce the proportion of vinyl in your wallpaper. So we have vinyl coated paper wallpapers, fabric backed vinyl wallpapers, and so on. However, if you’re looking for that perfect matte surface finish and a toxin-free indoor environment, these are not the best wallpaper materials for you.
Other wallpaper materials
Besides paper and vinyl, there are a variety of natural materials that have made their way into the world of wall coverings. Natural grasscloth is one such type. It consists of dried grasses and reeds sewn onto a backing made of paper. This type of wall covering will provide a raw, rough-hewn feel to your living space, complete with the specific scent of the grasses and reeds used in it. However, the types of aesthetics you can create with this wallpaper material are limited at best. With its earthy look and prominent seams, it lacks the versatility and seamless sophistication you’d need in a stylish urban living space.
Woven wall coverings made of natural fibers offer a middle ground, but they lose out when it comes to ease of maintenance. Both natural grasscloth and woven fabrics are not the best wallpaper materials because they stain easily, are difficult to clean, and can quickly become dust magnets if not vacuumed frequently.
Choose the best PVC-free wallpaper materials
Sure, there’s no one-size-fits-all decor solution, but generally speaking, there are solutions that simply make sense because of the range of issues they address. Here at WallsByMe, we’ve combined safety, durability, style and ease of use in our range of PVC-free peel and stick wallpapers. These removable wallpapers are made of paper, but sport a latex coating that protects the print and makes the wall covering easy to clean.
The latex coating is also responsible for the rich canvas-like texture that our customers love in our wallpapers. This matte surface finish complements your statement furniture and prized possessions beautifully, letting you flaunt bold floral prints and elegant geometric patterns with aplomb. If you follow our wall measurement guide and installation tutorial, you’re also guaranteed a perfectly seamless finish.
In rented spaces where invasive decor solutions are not an option, our peel and stick wallpapers let you get the aesthetics you love without worrying about your deposit. They also bring you the assurance of a PVC-free, lead-free, phthalate-free indoor environment where young children and sensitive individuals can breathe easy. So all you have to do is find the design you love best, everything else is taken care of!
Step into our updated collection to treat your home to trendy new designs and timeless classics today. From the best wallpaper material to the simplest installation and removal, we’ve got all your requirements covered. Order samples to discover the prints that work best for your home.