No More Wallpaper Hang Ups as D.C. Embraces New Trends

No More Wallpaper Hang Ups as D.C. Embraces New Trends

It seems the only limit on wallpaper today is your imagination.

The pastel seashells, fleur-de-lis patterns and vertical stripes of yesteryear have been usurped by bold colors, rich textures and the ability to customize your own prints.

This isn’t your grandmother’s wallpaper.

In truth, it may not even be your mother’s, as The Washington Post points out that young Washingtonians connect to the new takes on an old trend.

Local decorators can’t exactly explain wallpaper's new hotness, but many agree it’s due to an overall interest in home decorating. Local home owners, especially younger ones, seem to want to find something unique to distinguish their home.

Endless options mean something for everyone

“There are hundreds of design blogs, shelter magazines — everywhere you look, you’re seeing new ideas. I think people are more aware of their options,” Jennifer Sergent, a Washington design blogger and former marketing director for the Washington Design Center, tells the Post.

So, HGTV may deserve much of the credit.

Another factor is the relative affordability of these new wallpaper products. True, paint remains king of the inexpensive update, but many high quality wallpapers with cutting edge designs can be purchased for about $50 a roll at many highly rated local wallpaper and decorating businesses.

Will’s Home Decorating in Beltsville, Maryland, and Hill Custom Decorators in D.C., for instance, offer large selections onsite, as well as access to many companies for special orders.

It also doesn't hurt wallpaper's new popularity that installation has become much easier. For DIY tips, check out this Angie’s List Guide. If you're concerned about removing old wallpaper before installing new, try reaching out to a professional.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the most popular materials used for today's wallpaper. Hopefully, you'll have an advantage before browsing through all the sample books that await.


Vinyl is the most commonly used type of wallpaper. It's versatile and can be used in most any room.

It also comes in mildew-resistant varieties to protect your home. Vinyl also is the easiest type of wallpaper to apply and clean.


Foil can add an elegant touch, but it can be difficult to work with. Decorators often recommend trying it in a small space, like an accent wall, first.

This type of material may be best left to a professional who has experience with its installation.


Fabric wallpaper is typically attached to vinyl wallpaper to help it adhere to the wall. While the look of fabric can be desirable, it often attracts dirt and dust and can be difficult to clean.


Flock wallpaper has raised patterns. Since these patterns are made with a velvet-type material, cleaning must be done gently to avoid damage. As with foil wallpaper, flock is often best used for accents.

Keep in mind when selecting a wallpaper how long you plan to live in your home. Exotic prints and crazy colors may make a statement, but aren't necessarily conducive to the Washington real estate market.

Your ZIP code may dictate design

D.C. is home to some charming neighborhoods each with a distinct style that may not include your personal taste in wallpaper.

“The contemporary looks are catching on more [in Washington],” says Trish Kim of Staged Interior in Centreville, Virginia. She's been decorating homes in the Washington area for nine years and has learned it's all about a “casual, pared-down” look.

Kim suggests trying to stay true to the outside of your home when you are working on the inside. Orange zigzag wallpaper prints may fit in a Chinatown condo, but fall flat in a historic Georgetown brownstone.

“This area has many styles of homes, so it keeps things interesting,” she says.

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