Wallpaper

Hand-painted Chinese wallpaper showing a funeral procession, made for the European market, c. 1780

Hand-blocked wallpapers like these use hand-carved blocks and by the 18th century designs include panoramic views of antique architecture, exotic landscapes and pastoral subjects, as well as repeating patterns of stylized flowers, people and animals.

The most common wall covering for residential use and generally the most economical is prepasted vinyl coated paper, commonly called "strippable" which can be misleading. Cloth backed vinyl is fairly common and durable. Lighter vinyls are easier to handle and hang. Paper backed vinyls are generally more expensive, significantly more difficult to hang, and can be found in wider untrimmed widths. Foil wallpaper generally has paper backing and can (exceptionally) be up to 36 inches (91 cm) wide, and be very difficult to handle and hang. Textile wallpapers include silks, linens, grass cloths, strings, rattan, and actual impressed leaves. There are acoustical wall carpets to reduce sound. Customized wallcoverings are available at high prices and most often have minimum roll orders.

Wallpaper also comes as 'borders', typically hung horizontally at the tops of walls, and above wainscotting. Bordering wallpaper comes in an array of colours and patterns, straight or shaped edges, and widths (sometimes called 'heights' due to its orientation), and is used to provide a finished look to walls already hung with printed wallpaper, or as an accent for painted or plain-papered walls. Some bordering wallpapers are decorated with pictures and even writing, which, when hung, can tell a simple story or a well-known theme, such as fairytales, poems, pictographs of alphabets or numerals, or religious works. In modern western homes, these are referred-to as 'friezes' and commonly adorn nurseries and children's bedrooms. They can also be found in classrooms and libraries.

New digital inkjet printing technologies using ultraviolet (UV) cured inks are being used for custom wallpaper production. Very small runs can be made, even a single wall. Photographs or digital art are output onto blank wallpaper material. Typical installations are corporate lobbies, restaurants, athletic facilities, and home interiors. This gives a designer the ability to give a space the exact look and feel desired.