Wallpaper selection guide and buying tips for wallpapers in India

Most people are confused about how to choose wallpaper & look for a simple buying guide online or buy expensive décor books. This article is a one-stop guide to help you not only to buy but also select the type of wallpaper for your home. You will get information about the pros and cons of wallpaper and also about the types of wallpapers available in India, the price range of wallpaper in India, and also some useful selection tips. In short, you will know all you need to know about wallpaper.

Overview: Advantages and disadvantages of wallpapers

Painting a home has become a tedious time-consuming job. The painters take over your home for days on end till you reach a point where you wished you had never started in the first place! A quicker option which takes up far less time is installing wallpapers.

Wallpapers are not mere coverings for your walls. They have the far more important function of enhancing the look of your home. Wallpapers are as much a part of home furnishings as, for example, are sofa upholstery fabrics. In fact, look beyond walls – look up at the ceiling. You can put pretty wallpapers on the ceiling too!

Although it is true that installing wallpapers is time-saving, one of the major drawbacks of wallpaper is that it could peel off very quickly. Wallpapers tend to hide water patches when there is moisture seepage in the walls. When this seepage is very extensive, though, the wallpaper peels off. Even the most reputed manufacturers of wallpapers cannot give you 100% guarantee that it will last for many years. There will always be the rider "provided the leakage is within the absorbable limit".

Furthermore, if the binding between the wall and the adhesive is weak, joints will open up.

Let's find out more information about wallpapers…
Marshalls wallpaper
[Image courtesy: Marshalls wallpaper]

What are the materials used in wallpapers?

Other than paper, which is the most obvious material, the most commonly used wallpaper is that made from Polyvinyl chloride (better known as PVC). With the need to cater to those who want contemporary décor for their homes, today wallpapers are also made from fabric, fake suede and even fibreglass.

Here's a list of some of the types of wallpapers available on the basis of material which are available in India:

Vinyl Wallpapers

Vinyl wallpaper tends to give a shiny look & is also smooth to touch. Vinyl wallpapers are the most commonly used as they are of low cost and can easily be cleaned with ordinary detergent. The biggest advantage of vinyl wallpapers is that they do not catch moisture and hence are commonly used for the bathroom and kitchen walls.

Poly Vinyl Foam (PVF) wallpapers

Wallpapers made from PVF are excellent for an insulated area of your home, such as the room where you have a home theatre system installed. The PVF acts as a sound insulator, keeping out external noises. Another advantage of PVF wallpapers is that it tends to keep out the heat and thereby the interior of the room cool.

Wallpapers made from textile fibres

Wallpapers made from textile fibres are considered to be the most expensive. The material used in such wallpaper could be cotton, silk, linen, etc. one of the main disadvantages of using such types of wallpapers is that it requires good care and can only be dry-cleaned. Nevertheless, for those looking for a different look which adds visual beauty to a room, such wallpapers are ideal.

Cork wallpapers

It is a misconception that cork wallpapers are not suitable for furnishing the walls of your home. On the contrary, such wallpapers are good because they don't have a tendency to expand and are good buffers against sound. They are also durable and can last for quite a good number of years and do not necessarily rot away as is suspected.

Fake Suede wallpapers

Wallpapers which have the tag of fake suede are those which closely resemble suede. While the real suede tends to get dirty quickly, fake suede is made in such a way as to be better resistant to stains and liquids. It is generally designed using cotton or silk.

Fiberglass wallpapers

This is a contemporary type of wallpaper which looks very elegant. You can get fiberglass wallpapers which are fire retardant and are washable too. They are also resistant to cracks and mould.

Tips for buying and selecting wallpapers for the home

1. Budget: Don't get carried away on seeing an imported tag. Nor should you be carried away by some fancy design. Stick to the amount you are planning to spend. Keep in mind that there will also be labour costs of putting up the wallpaper. So look for affordability.

2. Toxicity level: Manufacturers of wallpapers will assure you that their products are free of toxics. However, do not accept this at face value. Check out on the Net research findings of both, the types of wallpapers and reviews on manufacturers' products. For example at healthystuff.org/findings.101910.flooringwallpaper.php you can see the research done on wallpapers coated with PVC.

3. Durability: This is the most important aspect to look for in wallpapers. There is no point in putting up wallpaper which is going to peel off or crack easily in a few months, leave aside lasting for even a year. So while in the previous point it is mentioned that one must stick to one's budget, you should at the same time be willing to spend a little more if necessary in order to get wallpaper which will last longer.

4. Low maintenance: Although washable wallpapers are available, look for wallpapers which are not going to be partially moisture resistant but fully so. The wall paper should be such that you can easily wash it yourself with a sponge and plain water. Go for waterproof wallpapers if within your budget and suitable for your décor. You can also select wallpaper which is resistant to scratches and stains.

5. Area where the wallpaper will be put up: Most people have a tendency to use the same type of wallpaper for the different rooms and spaces in their home. This is not the right selection idea as, for example, in the kitchen it is best to put washable wallpaper which is lacking in texture. This enables easier cleaning than other types of wallpaper.
Another point to keep in mind when selecting wallpaper for your kitchen is that you should not have wallpaper which is inflammable. You should thus ask the store specifically for what is known as wallpaper for a fire retardant area.

Those who have a segregated dry area in the bathroom can also install wallpaper there, selecting wallpaper which is resistant to moisture.

6. Requirements: To ensure that the wallpaper does not fall short of requirements make sure that the dimensions of the room are measured properly beforehand and the correct number of rolls of wallpaper are purchased. Also check that all the rolls for one room are of the same colour. Just as you should not fall short, so also you should not waste excess wallpaper. Buy only how much you need. If small sections of the wallpaper are left over after doing a major section, then use that excess for smaller sections. For example, you can use it for a part above the doorway arch or the space in a niche in the wall near the entrance way.

7. Odour free: This is an often overlooked aspect when buying wallpaper. Do ask for wallpaper which is not likely to give off some kind of malodorous effect. You don't want people sniffing the air when they step into your home do you?!

8. Lighting: Most people are hasty in selecting wallpapers for a room without considering the lighting of that room. A room which has low illumination will require a different design and colour from one which is brightly lit.

9. Installation tips: Do be present when the wallpaper is installed. You absolutely don't want this to happen:
(a) The wallpaper being put in the wrong place (e.g. themed wallpaper for your kid's room being put instead in the living room)
(b) The wallpaper falling short & not covering the wall from end to end and top to bottom and
(c) The wallpaper being put upside down! Remember that most wallpaper can be put in such a way that the design looks good whether it is horizontal or vertical. However, you may want it in a specific way so be alert before the wallpapers are put on.

10. Guarantee & annual service contract: Just as you get a guarantee for various home appliances and gadgets, so too you must ask for guarantee for your wallpapers. Some stores offer a full 1 year guarantee. Find out what this guarantee entails. It is also not a bad idea to have an annual maintenance contract. Even if it means shelling out some more money, it will ensure you get servicing for your wallpapers when required. You can ask if such a contract would including cleaning of the wallpapers once every few months by the store's professionals.

Design ideas for wallpapers for the home

Wallpaper coverage

It is not necessary that you should cover all the walls of your home or even entirely of a room. You could install wallpaper on one or two walls only and paint the other walls. For example, in the living room you can put the wallpapers on the walls behind the sofa and on the television mounted wall. These walls are likely to be the ones with the least traffic near it, meaning having few or no people leaning on it or kids nearby.

Wallpaper patterns

There may be some people who like a simple plain look of their wallpapers. These, though, are in the minority. After all, there are so many varied pattern and design options to enhance your home with wallpaper!

Some of the wallpaper patterns which are available: classical patterns, abstract patterns, graphics, floral patterns, geometrical patterns, retro patterns, 3D patterns, metallic patterns, etc.

Wallpaper colours

Keeping in mind your home décor, you can select from a wide range of colours for the wallpapers. Deep reds are great for those who like a bold look. Others may prefer a soothing shade for a more subdued décor. Yet others would not like to have one monotonous colour but prefer a combination of colours. For example: a pink floral pattern against a pale green background to resemble a garden.

Wallpaper themes

A design for wallpapers need not be the usual one of flowers or geometrical patterns. Select unique themed wallpaper for the different rooms of your home. For the living room you could have beautiful mural wallpaper. For the children's room you could have a theme as per the age of the child. Toddlers could have alphabets, numbers, birds and animals, thereby incorporating a learning tool with a fun décor. Young children in the age group of 5 to 10 would love wallpapers with a jungle safari theme or a space theme or a sports theme or cars. Girls just love themes based on fairies and princesses! You can even ask for wallpapers which have designs that glow in the dark. Then there are favourite cartoon characters too such as Spiderman, Disney cartoon characters, etc.

Price of wallpapers in India

The price of wallpapers will naturally depend on the type of wallpaper you need, namely PVC, PVF, cork, etc. It also depends on whether you want a printed pattern, an embossed one or an engraved one. Wallpapers are bought in rolls with the price quoted per square foot. The price could start from as little as Rs.51/- per square foot to over Rs.500/- per square foot.

Where to buy wallpaper in India

Marshalls wallpaper banner

One of my friends who had wallpaper installed a few years ago had purchased them from Marshalls [marshallswallpaper.com/]. This wallpaper company has branches in most major cities and towns in India, including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Pune, Coimbatore, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Surat, Bellary, etc. They have a stunning range of wallpapers for every part of your home (and for offices too), including designs by world-renowned designers such as Karim Rashid and Ulf Moritz. As their tagline goes, they provide "Happy Walls". My friend informed me that Marshalls sent a representative over to her home with a catalog of their products. Also, as advised by my friend, it is always best to visit the store itself to get a first-hand look and feel of the actual product before buying. My friend further informed me that she was able to clean the wallpaper easily with plain water but the family decided to remove the wallpaper after some years as there was some inner seepage in the walls. They decided to paint their home as they realised that wallpapering would not enable them to detect the seepage before further damage was done (see disadvantages of wallpapers at the beginning of this article).

Note: I am not endorsing the company but just mentioning it in this article as it is a well-known established company. It is up to the reader to decide which company's products are suitable for his/her home.

Look for other reputed wallpaper companies on the Net and check out their products, price range, installation charges, guarantee, etc.

As you can see from the above information, there's a lot to know about wallpapers. Do remember too that, as stated at the beginning of this article, wallpapers for ceilings look good too!

Article by Vandana
Vandana is based in India with over 15 years experience as a freelance writer. Writing, no doubt, is her primary passion! Having learned the art of blogging from ISC, Vandana is enjoying the thrills of blogging, taking pleasure in sharing information & getting good pageviews at her various blogs.

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Author: Sukhdev Singh23 Nov 2012 Member Level: Gold   Points : 2

It would have been a better idea to tell about the commonly used wall papers in India which are usually available at wall paper vendors across the country. Wall papers are rarely used in in Indian residential homes and their use is mostly limited to the main office rooms or conference halls of some offices.

Author: Vandana24 Nov 2012 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 6

The types of wallpapers which I have listed are the commonly used types used in India. I checked out websites and asked friends too who have used wallpaper in their homes. In fact, even imported ones with designs of famous designers are easily available now in India as I have mentioned in the information about Marshalls wallpaper.

It is true that only a small percentage of people in India use wallpapers for their homes, but there is definitely a growing number of fans of wallpapers. In fact that is why more and more retail stores have sprung up in both major cities and small towns to meet this growing demand.

Some people may not use wallpaper for their entire home but do prefer it over paint for some rooms. For example, there is a growing niche in the market for themed wallpaper for a child's room. With constant exposure to popular cartoons, superhero films, action scenes involving humans, spaceships, cars & bikes, etc. kids clamour for having replicas of these on their room's walls!!

Author: shailendraprc30 Jun 2014 Member Level: Silver   Points : 1

This is an amazing post and you have good knowledge about the particulars good luck and keep it up.

Guest Author: Prince chakarborthy30 Jul 2014

I gathered great information about wallpaper and murals. Thanks for this. Also the tip is of great help.

Guest Author: sanket pawar05 Sep 2014

Hi I need wallpaper for my kitchen tiles.

Is it possible to add wallpaper on tiles in kitchen ??

Guest Author: LALRUATA HAUHULH17 Sep 2014

This wallpaper selection guide makes me happy and wise. I will try to follow all the advises written here.

Author: Vandana18 Sep 2014 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 6

I do not think wallpaper can be added on to tiles as I doubt the adhesive of the wallpaper will stick to the tiles. Even if you do come across some good-binding adhesive, it is likely not going to have a long life and will come unstuck soon.

I would suggest that if you want the tile look, you can check out a wallpaper with designs of tiles on it.

However, I strongly advice you to re-think about putting wallpaper on a kitchen wall. Do you have a wall area in the kitchen which is far away from the cooking and washing areas? Oil splatters and water splashes can easily get on to the wallpaper. Also, when you heat anything, there does tend to be a lot of smoke so that too could blacken even wallpaper which is not too near the cooking range. It will eventually turn out to be a waste of money to put expensive wallpaper (yes - even for just one wall you could be spending a lot!) which gets ruined in no time at all.

Guest Author: Sindhu29 Sep 2014

I am planning to use wallpaper for my ceiling. Could you suggest the type of wallpaper to be used there.

Author: Vandana11 Oct 2014 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 6

I personally would not put wallpaper on a ceiling as I don't much like the idea at all. I would prefer to have have a plain painted ceiling.

Here are some suggestions for you:

  1. Selecting the wallpaper for your ceiling would depend on which room of the home you are installing it. For example, if in a bedroom, ideally it should have a design which you would not mind staring at all the time while lying down!!

  2. Avoid gaudy, over-bold prints. If I were to select, I would go for some unique stenciled-design one on a light pastel background. I would not opt for over-the-top geometric designs such as triangles which some people do seem to prefer.

  3. It is advisable to put in waterproof wallpaper if it is an old house/building liable to seepage during the monsoon.

  4. Keep one very important point in mind: Check out the points of light and fan fixtures and any electrical junction boxes. The wallpaper should be cut neatly around these fixtures and should not look shabby, like a torn notepaper!

Guest Author: Monisha08 Apr 2015

Hi in my bedroom I have to put a cement sheet and then I want to put a wallpaper as the building was made with salt water. I want to know is there a wallpaper that can be put on the cement sheet but which is water resistant as in rainy season my walls become wet due to air conditioner? Please advice if there is a wallpaper to suit my needs.

Guest Author: Geoffrey10 Oct 2015

May I know which kind of adhesive will be used while hanging wallpaper. There is glue powder and premixed glue available in the market, which is better?

Author: Vandana10 Oct 2015 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 5

Since you are having water seepage problem, Vinyl wall paper is what should be generally used. However, this too may not be a really good idea if there is constant seepage. Perhaps you could try waterproof paint? May be you could check out the offer from Asian Paints. They will send a professional to have a look at the extent of water seepage & make suggestions on how you can deal with it with their waterproof products. Of course, do read their terms and conditions first in case you decide to use their products & services. The visit by the professional to your home is a complimentary one and is available in Mumbai and Chennai only.
[Refer: https://www.asianpaints.com/campaign/home-solutions-waterproofing-service/index.aspx?]

Author: Vandana10 Oct 2015 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 1

Geoffrey, from the information I know, generally premixed paste is used for installing wallpaper.

Guest Author: K R Ramesh06 Nov 2016

I am residing in Kerala. I would like to purchase a Mural (Krishna/Radha) Wall paper for my Pooja Room Area. Can anybody help me to give address of dealers having Mural wall papers in Cochin, Trivandrum or any place in Kerala.

Guest Author: Ankita07 Dec 2016

Hi, this is a very informative article on wallpapers. I have one query: what are the major companies? Can you suggest any other popular wallpaper manufacturer in India. I have heard about Elemento. But who are the other major sellers?

Author: Vandana04 Feb 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 1


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Guest Author: Manu01 Mar 2017

Thank you for the information. I had a few doubts regarding adverse health effects of wallpapers. What I am able to gather from the net was that PVC, PVF based wallpapers as well as the adhesives release voc, formaldehyde, phthalate etc. I was unable to get clear-cut information regarding cut off values, benchmarks, wallpaper safety regulatory or monitoring agencies in India etc, something which can help me in selecting a safe material and company without any fear. It would be highly helpful if you could shed some more light on the topic.

Author: Vandana30 Mar 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 2


I am not aware of any Government safety regulatory authorities or official guidelines laid down for those manufacturing wallpapers. Indeed, some types of wallpapers do have adverse health effects due to toxicity in them, as I mentioned in the article. It is eventually for the buyer to take the call & make the best judgement.

Guest Author: P Ghosh11 Apr 2017

I have got a lot of first hand information. I would be happy if you provide cost comparison in 3 categories, say budget, luxury and premium BTW painting and wallpapers. I am also requesting more about fiber glass and crock wallpaper along with its pros and cons.

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