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How To Buy Wallpaper On A Budget

By Greg Fisher

If youíre buying wallpaper on a budget, the best way to save money is to properly measure and plan. Since a good quality wallpaper can be fairly expensive, you don't want to purchase and use more than you will truly need. This is even more important if your style of wallpaper must be meticulously matched at specific points on a pattern (see point 8 below).

Keep reading to learn how to buy wallpaper for your next project without wasting money.

1. Start by measuring the room that you plan to wallpaper. Draw a map of the room and include each wallís height, width and length. Try your best to draw the map to scale so the sketch is relatively proportionate to the actual structure of the room itself.

2. On your map, sketch in any openings like windows and doors that wonít be wallpapered. Write in the measurements for all these.

3. Then measure the wall spaces between openings. For example, measure the width of the wall from the corner to the edge of the window and then from the window to the closet door.

4. Once youíre ready, use a simple online calculator to figure out how many rolls you need to buy. Loweís has a simple wallpaper calculator on their web site that you can use to make your calculations. Alternately, you can take your measurements into the store and the clerk will do the calculations for you.

5. Before you buy, make sure that youíre purchasing the right number of rolls. Wallpaper is typically priced and measured in single rolls, but often sold or manufactured in double or triple rolls.

6. Also check the width of the wallpaper. Typically, European wallpaper is 20.5" wide and includes approximately 56 square feet of wallpaper on every roll. In contrast, American double wallpaper rolls are 27" wide and have about 70 square feet of paper.

7. When estimating the price, always ask the clerk if the price is listed as a single roll or double roll. You donít want to choose wallpaper, then have to take it back once you find out it costs twice as much as you anticipated. For example, the retailer may list wallpaper at $15 per single roll, but in actuality the double roll will cost you $30 at the cash register.

8. Ask the store clerk if the wallpaper youíre planning to purchase is "drop match" or "straight match." Typically, a drop match has to be matched up at specific points, meaning there will be more leftover, unused pieces at the end of your project. Straight match, on the other hand, can be aligned with at any point with another piece of the same wallpaper.

9. Buy from a store with a liberal return policy that will let you return any unused or unopened rolls. If you can, purchase one or two extra rolls to make sure you have enough for your project. Afterward, you can return anything you donít use.

10. Check the run or dye lot number on every roll. You want this number to match, otherwise the coloring can be slightly, but noticeably different. Donít open any rolls until youíve checked them all.


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