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More Tips on Buying Wallpaper

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Thibaut Toile Wallpaper
Photo c.2003 Glenna Morton, About.com
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More of this Feature
• Page 1: Measuring for Wallpaper
• Page 2: How Wallpaper is Priced
• Page 3: Looking for Wallpaper

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Part 2: How Wallpaper is Priced and Packaged


Pricing: Single, Double, or Triple Rolls

Wallpaper pricing can be confusing. While wallpaper books list prices per Single Roll, the wallpaper is manufactured and sold in Double Rolls. (Some papers are also sold in Triple Rolls.)

While this system may seem odd, double and triple rolls provide longer continuous lengths of paper with more useable full lengths.

For example, a single roll with 13.5 running feet of paper would allow you to cut only one 8 or 9 foot strip per roll, whereas 3 full strips could be cut from a double roll (9 yards, or 27 feet, long).

So, keep in mind that even though a wallpaper book lists the price of a Single Roll at, say $20, you'll usually be required to purchase the wallpaper by the Double Roll, at a cost of $40 in this example.

Packaging: European, Metric, or American Rolls

Wallpaper is also manufactured in a variety of widths. The wider the paper, the fewer strips you'll have to hang and the fewer seams. Here are two common widths:

  • European and Metric Double rolls are generally 20.5" wide and contain 56 square feet of paper.
  • American Double rolls are wider, at 27" wide and 9 yards long, with about 70 square feet of paper.
  • In addition, Wallpaper Borders vary in width but are typically packaged in 5 yard rolls.

Before You Buy Wallpaper

Before ordering wallpaper you'll need to determine if the paper you've selected has a "drop match" or a "straight match", since a drop match means more paper will be needed. An example of a straight match wallpaper would be a plain vertical stripe that doesn't need matching at the seams. Most other patterned wallpapers however are printed with a drop match that ranges from a few inches to a few feet. Drop match papers will require careful matching at the seams.

Before ordering you'll also want to read the manufacturers' suggestions regarding measuring, ordering, and hanging paper, including paste requirements, so you can determine any special requirements or materials.

Find out the store's policy on returns, including any time limit, restocking fees, or if returned rolls can be opened. For large jobs it can give you some peace of mind to order one extra double roll to allow for mistakes, wasted sections, and proper matching.

When your wallpaper arrives, don't open any roll until you've checked the quantity received and all Dye Lot or Run Numbers are identical for every roll in your order.

Ready to hang your wallpaper? Go online for some great how-tos and tutorials. (See "Related" links at right for sites with more information.)

Next: > Page 2: How to look for wallpaper without going crazy

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