Wallpaper is a durable paper colored and printed with designs. It is pasted to the surface of a wall as a decorative covering. It is used to cover and decorate the interior walls of homes, offices and other buildings. It is a very popular style of decoration as it is easy to use and looks good too. Wallpapers are usually sold in rolls and are stuck onto a wall using wallpaper paste.
Wallpapers can be traced back to 200BC when the Chinese, also the inventors of paper, pasted rice paper on their walls. Modern-style wallpaper, with block designs in continuous patterns, was developed in 1675 by the French engraver, Jean Papillon.
Wallpaper gained popularity in Renaissance Europe amongst the gentry. The elite of the society were accustomed to a tradition from the Middle Ages that involved hanging large tapestries on the walls. These tapestries added colour to the room as also provided an insulation layer between the stone walls and the room, thus retaining heat in the room. Wallpaper was used in Europe in the 16th and 17th cent as an inexpensive substitute for costly hangings.
Wallpapers can come either in a plain form on which it can be painted or with patterned graphics. Mathematically, there are seventeen basic patterns that can be used as repetitive designs on two-dimensional surfaces, such as walls. The patterns are based on the symmetries in the pattern that can be used to tile an infinite plane. All manufactured wallpaper patterns are based on these groups.
Like paint, wallpaper requires proper surface preparation before application. Wallpaper is not suitable for all areas. For example, bathroom wallpaper may deteriorate rapidly due to excessive steam. In fact, one of the ways to remove wallpaper is by applying steam. Wall papers are an inexpensive substitute to wall hangings and costly paints. They compliment the living space and speak volumes about the owners personality.