The choice to use a wallpaper to transform a small, overlooked space can grow to be a memorable ‘wow’ moment. (Photo courtesy Katie Martin)

There was a time in the not too distant past when wallpaper was not very popular.
A combination of the painstaking efforts required to remove outdated looks from decades ago, along with limited choices, made many people hesitant to try it.
Personally, I have always been a fan of wallpaper, but it can take some convincing for some of my clients to use it.
That is, until they see the great results it can offer.
Today, there are a multitude of patterns, colors and even material from which to choose.
From grasscloth, to vinyl, to faux leathers that would take an expert to differentiate from the real thing, there are no shortage of options for today’s home decor enthusiast.
While some may want to tackle a big space out of the gate, others are more comfortable taking baby steps.
One of my favorite applications is to use wallpaper to transform a small, overlooked space into a memorable “wow” moment.
Wallpaper can truly give a personality to any room, big or small.
Powder rooms and entryways are a great place to start.
These are areas that all of your visitors will likely see, so take the opportunity to make them noteworthy.
These smaller spaces allow for a great test drive for those who want to ease in — while they also require less material — so you can select a high quality paper in these spaces without a major investment.
Another smaller application that makes for a big impression is using wallpaper in the backs of bookcases.
This gives interest, while acting as a great contrast and backdrop for the items on the shelves.
This extra layer adds a sense of custom design to any space for a fraction of the cost of doing the entire room.
It is important to take into consideration the space that you will be wallpapering as well.
For instance, bathrooms are ideal to wallpaper for a finished look, but with them comes moisture and steam.
This is especially important when selecting your paper.
It is also critical to mention to your installer ahead of purchasing the material, to be sure it will withstand the environment in the space.
Vinyls make for great kitchen wallpapers, because they can easily be wiped down and are less likely to stain.
Grasscloths are a timeless favorite of mine, and now come in a variety of colors, incredible patterns and textures.
Geometrics are another very popular choice in recent years, and can really update a space.
Looking for wallpaper can be overwhelming — so if you prefer to do your initial looking online, remember you can always order a sample swatch (or 10!) so you can see them in your space and feel the texture.
If you are more comfortable looking through books, most paint stores will have a library of them on-hand that you can check out on loan to try at home before you make your final decision.
And of course, if you are working with a designer, they can help you navigate this process with their own resources as well.
One of the newer innovations in the world of wallpaper are removable products, which are great for the homeowner who wants the look, but likes to change their style regularly.
These literally peel and stick on, with easy removal when you are ready to move on to something else.
A quick online search will offer you as many to choose from as you can handle browsing.
I still recommend having a professional install these as you would with traditional paper to ensure the proper end result.
Last but definitely not least, as with all things home related, it is essential to do your homework on the front end.
Once you have found your ideal material, it is best to have an installer come out to give you an estimate.
If you are not savvy at hanging wallpaper (I don’t know many people who are), this is one area where it is best to hire a professional.
It will allow you to factor in the cost of their labor, as well as advise you on exactly how much material you will need to order.
Some larger patterns will require more material than others to accomplish fitting your space properly, which is where your installer’s expertise really pays off.
They can also remove existing paper much better, cleaner and faster and ensure your walls are properly prepared for the new material.
They will also eliminate waste, by maximizing your material and have your space finished in no time.
Keep in mind, many will not put you on their schedule until you have the material in-hand, so factor this in when planning your project.
So when you are ready to wallpaper that special space, don’t be afraid to jump in with both feet.
It will be one of the places in your home that I guarantee will make you smile.
(Editor’s Note: Julie Sweeney is the owner and principal designer for Coastal Haven Design in Oxford, Md.)