Posts Tagged ‘pattern repeat’

Finding the Center of the Pattern

March 12, 2020


This wallpaper pattern by Thibaut has a viny hourglass stripe design. These sorts of designs look best when centered over a focal point in the room. The problem becomes – WHERE is the center of the design?

In the photo, I have laid out two rolls of paper on the floor so I can see the full pattern repeat, both vertical and horizontal.

I’ve placed 3′ long yardsticks along the outer edges of the design, which are long enough to span a full pattern repeat.

With these in place, I can use a shorter ruler to find the mid-point between them. This will tell me where the center is (at the tip of my pencil), in between the two colored vines on the paper.

However, these vines are not printed in the center of the strip of wallpaper.

So, after finding the midpoint between the two vines, I have to calculate where it sits relative to the edge of the wallpaper.

Keep in mind that this point will land a different distance from the left edge of the wallpaper than it does from the right edge.

Next, I need to find the center of the focal point on the wall. And then determine where the right or left edge of the wallpaper strip should be placed, so that the center of the paper falls at the center of the wall.

You have just read the condensed version.

The full version also includes things like:

`width of strip and how it will land on the wall relative to where seams will fall

`expansion of paper and movement of pattern after wet paste hits the paper

`if the pattern is actually symmetrical as it is placed on the strip.

`if the pattern is not symmetrical (which this example is not – meaning that the vertical lines are not mirror images of each other), where is the best place to find a midpoint, so it will appear symmetrical when placed on the wall

`if elements on the wall are symmetrical. In this case, the light fixture was placed off-center on the mirror. So – do you center the wallpaper design on the light fixture (a dominant element) or on the mirror (a more significant element in relation to the wall).

`lots more

I invested an hour and a half finding the center point of the pattern at its narrow point, the center of the pattern at its widest point, the median of these two mid-points, the distance the median fell from either edge of the wallpaper, then the center point of the mirror, of the light fixture, factoring in 1/2″ expected expansion, and which was more dominant – the light fixture or the mirror.

In the end, I decided to center the pattern on the mirror. This meant that as the pattern fell vertically down either side of the mirror, it was fairly uniformly placed.

This was good.

But what I didn’t like is that this meant the vines over the top of the light fixture didn’t straddle it exactly perfectly. They landed in the center of the mirror, but not in the center of the light fixture.

I shouldn’t have stressed over any of this, though. Because, despite all my rolling out and careful measuring and plotting, it turns out that the viney pattern is neither symmetrical nor mirror-image.

So, no matter how I placed it on the wall, it was never going to straddle a center-placed plumb line evenly.

That’s not to say that my hour and a half plotting time was wasted.

The design still looks a lot better as I placed it – relatively centered on the mirror and light fixture, as compared to if it had just been thrown up without regard to either.

Bottom line – the homeowners don’t notice little nuances of a swoopy vine off-center by 3/4″ of an inch or so… at least not on a wild swirly pattern like this.

They’re looking at huge flowers, comic birds, bold color, and wild, daring designs.

When all is said and done, the bathroom looks fabulous.

Roiling Clouds Wallpaper in a Montrose Bathroom

July 4, 2019


Historic British manufacturer’s Fornasetti Line “Nuvolette” wallpaper pattern… I have long wanted to hang this paper, and finally got my chance today!

The walls in this first-floor bathroom of a newish contemporary styled home in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston were textured and covered with a semi-gloss paint. (top picture) It took me a day and a half to skim-coat the walls with smoothing compound, let dry, sand smooth, vacuum up the dust, wipe dust off the walls, prime, and let the primer dry. (second photo shows the smoothed and primed walls)

You would see this pattern better in a larger, less broken-up room, but here you can tell that it is a powerful depiction of roiling thunder clouds storming powerfully toward the west.

The product is unusual, in that it comes in a 2-pack set of “A” and “B” rolls. Each bolt is the same width and length as many Cole & Son papers. But the pattern is placed on those bolts very atypically, and the pattern match is equally unexpected.

Usually, wallpaper patterns match straight across from strip to strip. (straight across match) This means you see the same design element at the top of the wall on every strip. Or they drop down bit on every other strip, then pop back up to the top of the wall on the third strip. (drop match)

A much less common and much more complicated patter match is when the pattern motif repeats itself at the top of the wall only on every fourth (or more) strip. It can take a lot of mind-bending to figure out how to get the pattern placed correctly, and without wasting more paper than necessary.

Look at the upper left of the label, and it says that when placing the A strip to the right of the B strip, it’s a straight match. But when you position the B strip to the right of the A strip, it’s a drop match. This makes everything even wackier and more complicated!

What helped me here is that this home had plenty of room to roll out the bolts of paper, and plot out how the pattern would fall. (see photo) No one was home, so I had peace and quiet to concentrate and get my head around the intricacies of the pattern.

It turned out that the “straight match” indicated on the label was an error – no strips featured a straight match. Good thing I had all that floor space to roll the bolts out, so I could determine that.

Because the pattern match was so unpredictable, it was not possible to cut all of the “odd” and “even” strips ahead of time. And the very unlevel / unplumb qualities of the room also stepped in to make this impossible.

One thing that helped was that this was a non-woven material, which meant that the wallpaper did not need to be booked (left to sit and absorb paste and expand) before hanging. So as soon as I was able to figure out the pattern match for the upcoming strip, I was able to paste and hang the strip-in-hand.

If I had had to figure, measure, plot, paste, book, and then finally hang each strip individually, it would have taken a lot more than the eight hours it did take me to hang this 8-roll bathroom.

A big help on this pattern is that I belong to the Wallcovering Installers Association, and I check our Facebook page every day. (Sorry – it’s private … you can’t peek!) It was there that I learned about others’ experiences with this Nuvolette design, and how they tackled the pattern repeat and the install.

Double Rolls, Single Rolls, Too Many Rolls

June 4, 2019


This homeowner was supposed to buy 10 single rolls of wallpaper. So that’s what she ordered – 10 rolls of paper.

But what she got was 10 double rolls of wallpaper. That’s 20 single rolls – twice as much as she needed.

Each of those bolts you see in the box in the photo is a double roll. Double rolls are a good thing. It is typical (and desirable) for two single rolls of paper to be uncut and rolled together as one double roll bolt. You usually get an extra strip of paper out of a double roll bolt.

This is the traditional American way of packaging and referring to wallpaper.

But … some companies use different terminology. These would be most all of the British manufacturers, as well as some American companies who are new to the wallpaper game, and who do not manufacturer their own papers, but get them from outside sources. Some of these are Serena & Lily, Hygge & West, Anthropologie, and middle-man retailers like Amazon, eBay, Wayfair, etc.

For these companies, what most of us call a double roll, they refer to it as single roll. It’s the same amount of paper, the same sized package – it’s just referred to differently.

If you’re not savvy and knowledgeable about the terminology of single and double roll bolts, and about the various companies that use conflicting terminology, you could end up with twice as much paper as you need – or, worse yet, with only half as much as you need.

This company, Graham & Brown, is based in the U.K. Hence their single roll is what I call a double roll. The company is very large, though, and has offices here in the U.S. – so they almost seem American. My client ordered her paper on-line, instead from my favorite source (see page to the right), and so there was no human eye overseeing the single/double roll conundrum.

Bottom line – she got caught in the conundrum, and ended up with twice as much paper as needed.

This is one reason I ask my clients to run their brand and pattern selections by me before they make their purchases. That way (hopefully), I can catch snafus like this, as well as figure in factors like pattern repeat, multiple drop matches, extra-wide material, and etc.

Jungle Dreams in a West Houston Powder Room

December 22, 2018


This home in the Briarpark neighborhood of West Houston was damaged in the flood from Hurricane Harvey. During the rebuild, the young homeowners did a major update, and now you would never guess the house dates to the ’70’s.

The powder room wasn’t very groovy, though. It had high ceilings and bare drywall walls. The woodwork was painted a chocolate brown, and the vanity was a muddy charcoal grey. The room was just screaming for some personality.

This “Jungle Dream” pattern by Aimée Wilder fills those tall walls perfectly. It’s a really cute pattern with a lot of animals and plants – the more you look, the more you discover.

The super-long 44″ pattern repeat eats up (and wastes) a lot of paper, but it ensures that you don’t keep seeing the same design element over and over.

The dark brown ink on a light tan background coordinates beautifully with the paint on the room’s trim.

A Long Pattern Repeat = A Lot of Waste

January 31, 2018


This wallpaper pattern has a long repeat (the number of inches that go by between one design element and the next time it appears further down the wall) that did not sync up well with the wall height. In addition, it was a straight across pattern match (the same design motif is at the top of the wall on every strip). Both these situations eat up a lot of paper.

That means that you have to unroll and cut off a lot of paper before you get to the particular element of the design that you want at the top of the wall. In today’s case, with a 24″ pattern repeat, I was throwing away about 22″ of paper for each strip that went up on the wall.

By the end of the day, there was quite a pile of it. You can’t tell by the photo, but that roll of 22″ scraps is about equal to a full single roll, possibly more, of wallpaper.

This is a good reason to always buy a little extra paper.

Flaw of the Day – Spots

May 21, 2017

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See the two dark spots on this wallpaper? I suspect that someone at the factory put his fingers on the paper at the wrong time.

There were two of these sets of dark spots within one pattern repeat near the top of a bolt of wallpaper, ruining the first 30″ or so of paper. Then later I was hanging a strip and discovered another pair of spots at the top of the strip. This ruined a full 8′ strip.

Another reason to always buy a little extra paper.

A Word to the Wise – Measuring, Ordering, Prepping Walls

May 15, 2016

People! Please do NOT let your painter or handyman or Uncle Billy “prep the walls for paper.” They may be good at painting or at general home repairs, but they do not know the intricacies of wallpaper, or what constitutes a properly smooth and sound and sealed surface, nor are they familiar with or know where to purchase wallpaper-specific primers. Trust me – I am much better at wall prep than they are.

As I tell my clients, “You can pay your painter to prep the walls, but you will have to pay me to do it over again.”

And, People! Please do NOT pull out your ruler and calculator and try to measure the room yourself, and do NOT go by any “guides” posted on-line, nor by the calculations of someone who works in a paint store and has a few wallpaper books on display.

Figuring up how much wallpaper to buy is multi-faceted, and can be tricky. Many concepts need to be factored in – type of paper, manufacturer, pattern repeat, width of paper, length of roll, height of wall, on and on.

And, People! Do NOT order your paper until the walls have been properly measured by a professional. A professional PAPERHANGER, that is, not a professional painter or Sheetrocker.

Bold Wall of Poppies in a Home Office

March 5, 2016
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Wow, this was a fun install today… Just look at the fabulous pattern and colors!

The young homeowners of this nicely updated bungalow in the Heights have an “industrial modern” décor, and this bold poppy pattern in army mud brown with bright fuchsia accents was the perfect choice to wake up one wall in the wife’s home office.

The homeowners ordered their paper before I measured, and at first I thought they didn’t have enough, because their 10′ high ceilings eat up a lot of paper. But the pattern repeat and drop match worked perfectly with the wall height, so I was able to get an extra strip out of each bolt of paper, leaving plenty of paper to complete the wall.

This pattern is called “Arizona” #W5801 by Osborn & Little, a British company, and was printed on the traditional pulp stock (rather than the non-woven material they are using more and more these days). It was nice to work with, but has no protective coating, so will not hold up to touching, washing – or painter’s tape.

The color of the paper works beautifully with the color of the door, but it was immediately evident that the blue-grey on the other three walls was “off,” so they’ll need to repaint with a complimentary color. I had to give them my lecture about not letting the painters put tape on the wallpaper – because when the tape is removed, it will take the inked layer right off the backing. Solution? Hire CAREFUL painters. 🙂

You Can’t Put Every Square Foot of Paper on the Wall

November 10, 2014

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See this big pile of grasscloth? All of the paper lying flat on the floor, as well as the three short rolls standing on end are bound for the trash can.
The rolls on the left under my table are the tail ends of rolls and, even though they are 7′ long, because the walls are 8’2″, none of that paper can be used.

That’s a lot of wallpaper there, a lot of square footage, that is going to waste.

The reason I’m pointing this out is because it’s not uncommon for people to measure their room themselves, get out their calculator, and figure to the exact square inch how many rolls of wallpaper they think – THINK – it will take to paper their room. Inevitably, they are wrong.

Most of the time, people forget about the waste factor for trimming at the ceiling and floor, cutting around doors and windows and cabinets, matching the pattern, etc. All those bits can add up to a whole lot of paper that gets cut off and thrown away, because the pieces are too small to use anywhere in the room.

It’s hard to see how pretty this paper is, but it’s a finely woven grasscloth, natural color, with silver metallic background showing through. It’s by Thibaut Designs, and the interior designer is Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope Designs. http://www.pamelahopedesigns.com/

No Pattern Repeat. Oh, Really??! A Primer on Pattern Repeat and Pattern Match

June 14, 2014

Digital ImageThe instructions on this wallpaper by Brewster say that there is a “0cm” pattern repeat. That’s not possible. Except for a true stripe, EVERY pattern has a repeat.

A “pattern repeat” is runs vertically, and it means when, for example, the same grey circle repeats itself somewhere further down the roll of wallpaper. Because wallpaper is printed on huge rollers, once the roller makes a full turn, the pattern HAS to repeat.

What this wallpaper pattern does NOT have is a “match.” A pattern match runs horizontally, and refers to how one pattern element lines up with the same element on the next strip.