Run Numbers Are Important


I hung two wallpapers today, both from Anthropologie, and in both cases, the homeowner measured and purchased paper before I had measured and figured how much to buy. In both cases, they were a double roll short. I told them that when they ordered the extra double roll, to be sure to ask for the same run number as the rolls they already had.

Unfortunately, in both instances, Anthropologie sent a different run. Probably, the guy in the warehouse didn’t get the message from the people in the order department, so he just pulled any old bolt of paper off the shelf.

Run numbers DO make a difference. As you can see in the second photo, the butterflies are clearly different colors. And in the third photo, the color difference (red flower, brown leaf) is less dramatic, but still noticeable. The white background is probably a slightly different color, too. If these strips were placed next to each other on the same wall, you would notice an abrupt color difference the full height of the wall.

So it’s important to make sure that all your bolts of wallpaper are of the same run number.

Run number, also called batch number or dye lot, refers to rolls that were all printed at the same time. The next time the manufacturer is ready to print up that pattern, he will mix up a new batch of ink – but that batch might be a slightly different shade than what was printed previously.

Because these color differences will be noticeable on the wall, it’s important that they not be used next to each other. You can use different runs on separate walls, but not on the same wall. If you are forced to use broken runs, as they are called, you’ll need to buy a little extra paper, because there will be more waste as you switch from one run to the other.

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