5 Best Wallpaper Shopping Tips for Online and In-Store Buying

Besides paint and fabric, wallpapers add color, depth, and personality to any room. Whether it’s a commercial space, a townhouse, or an apartment rental, wallpaper is one of the favorite options for livening up any space. So if you just moved into one of the beautiful apartments in Dubai, here are five of the best wallpaper shopping tips you might want to know when buying in-store or online:

Wallpaper Shopping
Wallpaper Shopping

1.   Take measurements before shopping.

The logical first step in preparing for wallpaper shopping is to measure the room you plan to decorate.

Determine the exact dimensions of the wall space to be covered before you go out and buy wallpaper. This will help you avoid ordering too few or too many rolls, both of which isn’t smart because:

  • Too few means you need to reorder the same design, which could be out of stock or won’t match what you already have exactly because they’re from a different factory batch.
  • Too many will leave you with more wallpaper than you know what to do with and less money for your other remodeling activities.

When measuring, you must also have a general idea of the room’s specs. As you calculate the number of rolls needed, you should consider the method of application as well, which also depends on the pattern you’ll use. To be sure, have your room measurements always handy, particularly when ordering wallpaper.

2.   Think about the material.

Besides the measurement, you also need to consider the type of material you want for the room you’re decorating. Contrary to what some believe, not all wallpapers are actual “paper.”

Below are some types of non-paper wallpapers and the areas they can work best in:

Textile – Wallpaper Shopping

Some wallpapers are made from textile, a.k.a. fabric. This is available in various textures and can work in formal and casual interior designs.

Most textile wallpapers are made from natural fibers, like cotton and linen, but other shops offer polyester variations.

And then, there’s the grasscloth wallpaper that provides a natural textural appearance to the room. These tend to stain more easily and are more challenging to clean, so steer clear of it when wallpapering high-traffic rooms or spaces that children frequent.

Foiled and Flocked

Foiled and flocked wallpapers are your best option for dark areas and powder rooms as they help brighten up the space. They are made from a damask or velvet material that gets wrinkled easily during application.

To be safe, only go for this type of wallpaper if the walls are smooth and have perfectly even surfaces.


Use vinyl wallpapers for bathrooms, kitchens, and other high-moisture, high-stain areas. These are the easiest to clean out of all types of wallpapers. They can also retain their quality even as you remove fingerprints and stains through wiping and washing.


Hand-screened wallpapers may cost a bit more than other types of wallpapers, but they are also quite popular because of their vivid colors applied using handmade silkscreens. In fact, some machine-printed wallpapers emulate the effect of hand-screened ones because of their sheer beauty.

But before you buy this wallpaper, know that hanging them requires a bit more skill and finesse since their patterns are not as precise and uniform as machine-printed ones.

3.   Take time to ponder the design.

At this point, you should already have an idea of the wallpaper designs you can choose from. You may even have a list of initial prospects handy.

A walk through the aisles of the Dragon Mart wallpaper section or a quick browse through online wallpaper galleries should give you an idea of your available options.

As you browse through them, use the following guidelines to ponder which wallpaper design is perfect for your needs:

Consider the scale.

You don’t have to avoid patterns in small spaces, but be sure to match the scale.

Scale is all about ensuring that the size of the wallpaper design complements the size of the room. This is relatively easy to remember because the relationship is quite direct:

  • Small room = small patterns
  • Big room = large patterns

Oversized prints may overwhelm a smaller room, while wallpapers with more intricate designs can get lost when placed in more expansive spaces.

Patterns are not the only option.

In many cases, you also have to consider the texture and finish of the wallpaper. This is especially true for textile and foiled and flocked wallpapers.

Avoid a mismatch with other interior design elements.

Besides the actual wallpaper design, you must also think about how the pattern, color, or texture interacts with other elements of your interior.

Come up with a color scheme first, then pinpoint textures or finishes that match what’s already in the room (e.g., furniture, décor, etc.).

4.   Bring home samples – Wallpaper Shopping.

Before finalizing your shopping list, you also need to take some wallpaper samples home.

Put them where you intend to hang your wallpapers and try to imagine how the entire space would look once they’re installed. This will give you an idea of how wallpapering affects the room’s overall aesthetic.

Leave the samples there for one full day. This way, you can check how the designs look under various lighting types during different times of day:

  • At sunrise.
  • During midday.
  • Under the afternoon sun.
  • When exposed to artificial light at night.

5.   Commit (or not).

Once you have finalized the design, you must decide whether to commit to it or not. This means you have to consider whether you should use the same design for all four (or even five) walls.

Remember that there’s no rule that prevents you from mixing things up. You don’t need to wallpaper all the walls of a room. You don’t even need to cover the entire wall.

New techniques in interior design now allow partial wallpaper use, especially using materials with bold and eye-catching patterns. Art-based wallpapers are even designed to be used on one wall only, as a feature item or focal point of the room.

Of course, if you choose to mix it up, don’t forget to use coordinating colors for the surrounding walls to ensure that the room retains its cohesive look.

Shop Smart

Wallpapers are the most commonly used alternatives to paint in covering walls and surfaces inside a house or commercial space. Make sure you shop for them wisely by taking measurements, matching material to how the room is used, and thinking about how the resulting aesthetic would look.


James Prathap is the General Manager at NGC Nafees, one of the leading distributors of wallpapers, floorings, and fabrics in the Middle East and South Asia. Formed three decades ago, the business also offers high-quality panoramics, coordinated fabrics, and creative stickers for residential and commercial projects.