Home & Garden Architecture

Tips on Installing Embossed Wallpaper

    Install the Wallpaper Below a Chair Rail

    • Embossed wallpaper may overwhelm some spaces, so use it on only part of the wall. If you place a chair rail in a dining room, the wall below it is an ideal candidate for embossed wallpaper. Use a level when measuring from the baseboard to determine the rail placement. Some old and even new houses don't have level floors, and an uneven stretch of embossed paper will look lopsided. Install wallpaper from the baseboard up, overlapping the seams slightly. If you have the choice, place the chair rail at a spot where the embossed design naturally ends so the bottom third or half of the wall treatment will look symmetrical. Attach the chair rail after the wallpaper, if you can, to give the room a professionally finished appearance.

    Protect the Design

    • Embossed paper must be handled with care. It often takes a heavier glue or paste than thinner wallpaper, and the easiest way to install it is to smooth the paper onto the wall to get rid of wrinkles and air bubbles. Do this only with a long-bristled brush or a foam roller to avoid crushing the embossing by putting too much pressure on the paper. When tamping down the seams where two pieces of wallpaper meet, use a small foam roller or short-bristled brush. Install the wallpaper from the baseboard up, and smooth it from bottom to top.

    Employ the "Booking" Method

    • Many wallpaper glues require some set up time for the glue absorb and for the paper to "relax." Handle the embossed paper by "booking" it to keep things neat and prevent any areas from drying out. To book the paper---fold one glued end in one-third the length of the piece of wallpaper, and fold the other end over it lightly. The unglued side is on the outside. Take care not to crease the paper. When the recommended resting time has elapsed, loosely roll the booked paper as is, and place it in a plastic bag. You can transport it to the spot for hanging without risking any tears, and it won't dry out before you can get it up on the wall.


    • Anaglypta is a heavily embossed wallpaper with no color pattern---just the raised design. You can paint it just like a regular wall or ordinary wallpaper. Some designers use anaglypta to fake a tin ceiling; it is vastly cheaper to buy and install than actual ceiling tiles. When the embossed wallpaper is painted, no one can tell the difference just by looking up. Apply anaglypta with the same precautions you would use for any embossed paper. Latex paint is usually recommended. Use paint and then a translucent glaze to highlight the embossed design for a look that really pops.

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