What is Faux Wallpaper?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2019
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There are two broad types of faux wallpaper. On the one hand, there is wallpaper that is intended to look like certain painting techniques, which are themselves often supposed to look like other materials entirely. These wallpaper types are usually applied in the same way as normal wallpaper, though sometimes they involve ripping the wallpaper to achieve a randomized effect. The other type of faux wallpaper is the precise opposite of the first type, involving painting techniques designed to create the look of wallpaper. This type of painting technique usually achieves the look of wallpaper by using repeating patterns with stamps and taped lines.

Faux wallpaper that is designed to create the look of other decorative techniques usually does not take advantage of photographic technologies to achieve the appearance of the materials it seeks to imitate. This is because the wallpaper is actually imitating a painting technique rather than the material itself. For example, stone faux wallpaper usually does not look much like stone, even though current printing technologies would allow the wallpaper to look exactly like stone. Rather, the wallpaper is printed with designs that look like faux stone painting techniques. This allows people who, for one reason or another, do not wish to apply paint to their walls to enjoy the appearance of faux stone painting.


Usually, this type of faux wallpaper is applied like other types of wallpaper. It may require paste in order to attach to the wall or it may be self-adhering. For some types of faux wallpaper, the appearance of random painting patterns is achieved using ripped wallpaper. This can be used to make the wallpaper appear to have irregular brushstrokes, though the success of this type of application depends on the skill of the person putting up the wallpaper.

Among the many materials imitated by faux wallpaper, stone, fabric, and tile are very popular. Patterns such as bricks, paving stones, and other more difficult designs to paint are often made using wallpaper. Textured wallpaper can be used to heighten the illusion, but these are often more expensive.

The other type of faux wallpaper is actually painting designed to imitate wallpaper. Most of the time, tape is applied to the wall and painted over in order to achieve the regular appearance of wallpaper. When stencils, stamps, and tape are applied at regular intervals, the design can almost be mistaken for printed wallpaper. Even so, there are many painting techniques that make use of the same tools and patterns, so this use of the term is much less common.


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