Design Dilemma: How to Choose Wallpaper for an Accent Wall

As part of my #100roomchallenge room update, I am adding an Industrial Urban design spin to my master bedroom. One of the key features in this design is exposed brick, but adding a brick veneer to my bedroom wall is way outside the scope of this project!

Choosing a wallpaper has been a much more stressful decision than I originally thought it would be! There are countless options out there, and it can be difficult to judge the pattern of a roll of paper from online images alone. Check out some of the options I'm considering, and the 3 things I'm looking for as I narrow down my decision!

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As I navigate the process of choosing a wallpaper for an accent wall, I am considering 3 key factors to help me make my decision: Pattern, Installation, and Quality. Let's look at each component, and I'll show you my choices as examples for each one! 

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A quick background note: I am updating my master bedroom as part of the #100roomchallenge, a $100 challenge for design bloggers to showcase awesome style and creativity on a serious budget! I have decided on an urban industrial loft design as a tribute to Chicago where I met and married my husband. We now live in Michigan (and love it!) but miss the city, so this bedroom will be our little urban retreat. Here is the moodboard for the room:

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Evaluating Wallpaper

1) Pattern

For this industrial urban-loft inspired bedroom design, I want to add the texture of exposed brick to our room. Adding real brick veneer is not a realistic option, and certainly will not fit in the budget for this challenge! So a realistic printed wallpaper is my plan. 

Real brick is an organic texture, as in, there are not intentional patterns, and it often looks rough and weathered in older buildings. The problem I'm finding with wallpaper is that there is a visible pattern when you put a wallpaper on a large wall. (You can see where the paper repeats itself!) 

With brick patterns that are made to look weathered, the details start to actually draw attention to the fact that it is not real brick- instead of fooling your eye into thinking you're looking at a textured surface. 

When you're shopping for brick wallpaper, consider this: Do you want it to look REAL? or is a noticeable pattern repeat OK for your space? 

 I love the color of this wallpaper, but the repeat of the brick shading stands out to me a little too much. On a smaller wall this would be beautiful.

I love the color of this wallpaper, but the repeat of the brick shading stands out to me a little too much. On a smaller wall this would be beautiful.

 This cream brick pattern is less noticeable, but I do notice the horizontal pattern of the brick shapes where they repeat. Do you see it?

This cream brick pattern is less noticeable, but I do notice the horizontal pattern of the brick shapes where they repeat. Do you see it?

 I like the realistic color of this wallpaper, though I see the horizontal pattern here, too. 

I like the realistic color of this wallpaper, though I see the horizontal pattern here, too. 

It was important to me to find a pattern that looks as realistic as possible, without a pattern repeat that distracts my eye when I walk in our room! Look for customer submitted photos and read all of the product reviews that you can when evaluating if a brick-print paper is right for your space. 

2) Installation [non-pasted, pre-pasted, peel and stick]

I have never installed wallpaper before, so a non-pasted paper is a little intimidating to me. I can't give you a DIY on how to hang different types of wallpaper, but I know there are LOTS of tutorials out there! Check out these great DIY bloggers and read about their experience with each:

 How to hang pre-pasted wallpaper- DIY network

How to hang pre-pasted wallpaper- DIY network

3) Paper Quality [thin, thick, textured]

The question of quality is always a concern when I am shopping online. I rely heavily on customer reviews when evaluating the quality of an item, especially when comparing it to the price I am willing to spend. If I am looking for a great bargain, I know that quality will not be my top priority. In this case, I want a wallpaper that is going to be fairly simple to install, and also newbie-friendly! Thinner papers are reported to tear easily and be harder to install, and super thick papers also get reviews that they are tricky to get up on the wall. 

Another consideration is texture. Some brick papers have a vinyl/plastic texture that has been added to make the bricks appear to be 3D. The raised texture helps them appear more realistic than a flat matte paper. 

The quality of the paper impacts the price, so for this budget-conscious challenge I'm trying to balance the two very carefully. 

One last thing...

Don't forget to consider the impact on the market-value of your home!

We see our home ownership as an investment in our financial future, and always try to make smart decisions when it comes to the design of the house. When I asked my Realtor about faux-brick wallpaper, she had an interesting response. Buyers in my area either prefer real brick, or none at all. She told me she has had buyers actually get MAD when they went to a home showing to discover that a brick wall they saw in a photo was actually wallpaper. (yikes!) 

Because of her insight into our housing market, I am considering stretching my budget a little *teensy* bit and investing in the peel-and-stick wallpaper. I'm pretty sure I want it in a painted brick finish. While I LOVE the rustic look of real-brick-look-alike prints, I want to be sensitive to the buyers market here in Michigan. Removable wallpaper will let me sleep easy that we can change the room design quickly if we need to when we decide to sell the house. (Or we will just deal with the challenge of stripping it when the time comes!) The painted brick pattern also has less of a noticeable pattern repeat to me, which feels more editorial than a faux-finish (that is obviously FAUX!). 

 This paper surprises me with the effect of a slightly shiny grout line that creates a 3D effect. It's also a great deal for the product!

This paper surprises me with the effect of a slightly shiny grout line that creates a 3D effect. It's also a great deal for the product!

 This rustic painted brick feels even more real and I like the depth of the shadows. It is not peel-and-stick.

This rustic painted brick feels even more real and I like the depth of the shadows. It is not peel-and-stick.

 This is a peel-and-stick paper that looks surprisingly real considering there is a variation in the back shading.

This is a peel-and-stick paper that looks surprisingly real considering there is a variation in the back shading.

What do you think my final choice should be? Stay tuned to see which one will be making its debut in our master bedroom at the end of the month!