Rolling out woven paper materials in a high humidity area with very fluctuating temperatures? Sounds like a clown’s idea. However, bathroom wallpaper is not only trending for the coming year in traditional rolls and custom digital prints, but it’s also been well represented in decorative and edgy products since the 1840s.
Snap the pictures on one of the walls and float them over a bank of tiles at a low elevation. The newest peel-and-replace painter’s sheets are an economical and lively go-to for any en-suite or family bathroom.
With easy installation and removal with little more than a wink of one corner, you can dive into large, undulating koi or focus on the look of a lush tropical forest or an Art Nouveau fairy tale. Without fear of stripping over your clothes. An all-white or rain-grey tiled bathroom with waist-level areas for wallpaper can be totally rocked with a new personality leaf or a quick trompe-l’oeil charm over one weekend.
No custom wallpaper, mural, or adhesive, no matter how strong and splashproof, will stay in place in a poorly ventilated bathroom. If your windows and walls are making water after a shower or there is black mold blooming in the grouting, this needs to be addressed before considering any aesthetic renovations.
Condensation and moisture issues are not good for the structural health of your home (or your lungs). Solutions range from high-velocity mechanical exhaust fans to air vents. In a more extensive renovation, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) should keep the area well dry.
It’s not 1952. “Quick ventilation” (opening the window) simply won’t cut it in the long run.
If your faucets are drawing water from a shallow bowl into the walls, find a new faucet with a better flow rate that matches the type of bowl.
Careful fixation is critical to the success of leaves in a moist environment. This is not a good space to “cover over the cracks” and try to hide imperfections. Prepare your walls, making sure they are smooth and undamaged. Fresh plaster, and any subsurface “cistern” should be primed for walls near baths or showers.
If the seams are not fully worked out or a ripple or bubble is left in an area of the paper, moist air can enter these areas and begin to lift your paper off the adhesive and remove it. It should be flat without defect.
So what can you use it for? Any clean sponge wallpaper with high definition print resolution can go into your kitchen or bathroom. If it is not a vinyl, rubbable, waterproof product designed as suitable for wet rooms, it should be sealed, in multiple protective coats of matte decorative varnish after installation. Acrylic Polyolefin, water-based, starts at €18 per litre.
Make sure to pay special attention to all seams. With the relatively small size of even a family bathroom, covering one or two walls will allow you to spend more on the right products. However, wallpaper can’t be fixed so we have to do it right.
The ideal material for bathrooms is either full or coated vinyl paper or mural, with adhesive to the wall, or a low-profile self-adhesive backing. Alternatively, you can choose a 100% non-vinyl product in non-woven paper that is designed to “breathe” to release any moisture buildup but is not intended for high-traffic areas.
It is best to seal these sheets after installation. Some but not all custom bathroom wallpapers have anti-mildew and anti-mildew finishes. Low-cost sheets are easy to roll out, easy to remove, and if you’re a renter, your landlord might be a little customizable to your bathroom or kitchen. Ask first.
Lay out paper or even seemingly indestructible vinyl murals, and avoid placing them in frequent daily contact with water, steam, and heat. If you want something behind the shower, a clear glass shower pan or a suitable container will prevent your masterpiece from getting whacked and dented at the seam and eventually lifted.
Near the sink area, do not run the sheet straight down to contact the white utensil lip or the edge of the shower. Designed to go back to seamless materials such as Silestone or use 30cm tiles or at least very thick edge cuts.
Behind a freestanding bathroom, happy spots will inevitably run off the walls down to the baseboards of wallpaper, and you’ll work this out over time, unseen. Use a bead of silicone to attach where the wall meets the floor or the top edge of the base plate.
Installing wall faucets on vinyl-covered surfaces is a bad idea. Consider a clear glass, acrylic, marble, or tile plate to separate it from your decorative paper.
Over time, treat any lifting seams as they occur with a bit of decorative varnish – don’t discard it or it will curl and continue to deteriorate.
Consider all the physical elements that sing together when forming a chart. Wood paneling, tiles, painted wall areas and of course potential paper. Wallpaper has a talent for layering, texture. Loose, sensual plants look lovely behind any open shelving and can make good use of the “dry” aspects of a bathroom or room interior.
Choose from cottagecore ditsy floral upholstery to add soothing, multidimensional modern abstracts or dramatic period geometries (which visually move walls higher or wider).
Wall lights can really glow against the paper, providing a nice ambiance to a solid space, and windows and mirrors can open up and balance their presence.
Note if any mural or repeating pattern has a vertical or horizontal slant, and don’t get too hung up on the issue of too much in a small room.
Papers with metallic inclusions are a great opportunity to introduce a discreet artificial sheen and reflection to reflect light around a smaller or darker space with a shadowed wall or creepy corner. Try layering quartz for faux marble, or shimmering Art Deco jazz in flashes of silver, both of which continue to make their mark in 2023.
Finally, wiggle away from traditional coastal, marine, and botanical themes to explore the wider imaginative world of each space’s wall coverings. You can customize your photo from stock pieces or even use your own digital footage in a good high resolution file. Just cut to size and order.
Your supplier will indicate any adjustments that may need to be made to improve seam placements and gauge. Suppliers including Wallsauce and roomeo.ie suggest a 50mm border added to your dimensions to trim it at all edges.