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How do I Choose the Best Vintage Wallpaper?

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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2016
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The first three things to consider when choosing between vintage wallpaper options are the target era, the color palette, and the size of the print. Usually when people talk about "vintage wallpaper," they actually are referring to wallpaper that has been produced quite recently but has been made with patterns to reflect the aesthetic of a bygone era. There are a number of ways to choose between the types of available vintage wallpaper in order to perfectly outfit a room, hallway, or even an entire floor of a house or building. One of the first considerations when choosing between wallpaper prints is the era that the print should reflect. Should the pattern be a floral pastel print from the 1930s, a retro geometric pattern from the 1960s, or perhaps a luscious velvet damask wallpaper to reflect the 1890s.

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In some cases, it is possible to find actual wallpaper that was printed in these eras. The options, however, are often much more expensive than newly fabricated papers. Once the era has been chosen, it is important to look for options that fit the color palette of the space that will be papered. For example, if the vintage wallpaper is meant to be used in a bedroom where the colors are avocado green, turquoise, and ivory, it will be important to choose a kind of vintage wallpaper from the selected era that works well with this palette. When shopping to decorate a space, it is always very helpful to bring swatches of fabric and paint chips in order to match or approximate colors. Chips and swatches can also be used while shopping for vintage wallpaper online.

Finally, it is important to choose a print that is on the right scale. A large, bold print, for example, can overpower a small space to the point of making people feel claustrophobic. On the other hand, a very small print with tiny details might not be appreciated in a large space. Rather, the small details within the print might simply become a kind of visual background noise within the space, whereas a large, bold print in a large space will stand out and will usually work well with the scale of the space. Although there are some design techniques that can make good use of small prints in large areas and large prints in small areas, the reverse tactic is usually a good way to proceed.

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