Posts Tagged ‘shading’

Working Around Shading in Cork Wallpaper

February 16, 2021

The homeowners originally sought grasscloth for this accent wall in the home office. But I talked them out of it, due to the unpleasant shading and color variation issues (click on the page to the right to read more). I showed them a sample of this white-washed cork wallpaper, and they were immediately smitten.

The previous time I hung this, the material was very homogeneous in color.

But this time, it was immediately evident that there was a darker band running down the left half of the roll, and a lighter band along the right side. Note that this is not considered a defect (even though it is obviously a problem stemming from the factory). It is considered part of the “inherent beauty of these natural materials.” Meaning, you can’t return it and expect to get your money back.

Cutting strips as they come off the roll and hanging them next to each other will result in abrupt color differences between strips – as you see in the top photo. One way to minimize that is to hang every other strip upside down, so you are then putting the dark side next to it’s dark counterpart on the previously hung strip.

In this case, because the darker areas were so dark and wide, this would have resulted in the wall having a striped look. Not what the homeowners were shooting for.

The wall was exactly 12′ wide, and the material is 3′ wide, so we needed four strips to cover the width of the wall.

We had three double-roll bolts. Each 24′ long bolt will give you two 9′ strips. Thus we needed two double rolls to cover this wall. That left us with one bolt in excess.

That turned out to be a good thing – having extra paper. The color shading was bad in one bolt, noticeable in another bolt, and the third bolt was pretty homogeneous in color.

I rejected the bolt with the worst shading. Thank goodness the client ordered a little extra paper! The bolt with the second-worst shading, I discovered that if I rolled it backwards, the shading was less severe in the inner portion.

So I took two strips off this bolt from the inside-out.

So now that gave me two strips from the first roll that were pretty homogenous. Plus two strips from the second bolt that were passable.

How to keep the color as uniform a possible across the 12′ wide wall?

II knew I wanted to place the two strips from the first, “best” bolt in the center of the wall. If I hung one right-side-up, and the next one up-side-down, keeping the darker area toward the center, the color differences would be less noticeable.

But I still had to cover 3′ width on either side of those two center strips.

One strip equaled 3′ width. So one 3′ wide strip on either side of those two center strips.

One plan, I contemplated cutting each of those the two 3′ (36″) wide strips from the second bolt into 18″ widths. Hang one right-side-up and the other upside-down. That would break up any color variations into less noticeable panels.

Only problem was, then there would be two 36″ wide chunks of material in the middle, flanked by two 18″ wide chunks on either side. I thought that would be too inconsistant, visually.

It would look better to keep all the widths the same, at 36.”

The two strips I had taken off that second double roll bolt had some shading issues, with the left side being darker than the right side. I reasoned that it would be less noticeable if the darker, shaded area, was toward the outer corners – sort of as if sunlight or furniture or window shutters were casting shadows.

So I plotted to use a full 36″ wide strip on either side of the center strips. I would position them so that the lighter side of each strip was toward the center – toward those two originally-placed strips. This meant placing one right-side-up and the other one upside-down.

Thus the darker edge of the strips would be situated toward the corners of the wall – a logical place for shadows and light to play tricks on the eye.

That’s what I ended up doing. And the finished wall does really look very homogeneous!

Yes, I am quite guilty of over-thinking way more than I should. But I think the client deserves the best look possible. And, to be honest, all this plotting and engineering is a big part of the fun of hanging wallpaper!

Pretty Severe Shading / Color Variations in Natural Cork Wallpaper

February 14, 2021

I’ve tacked two strips of this cork wallpaper to the wall. The obvious thing you see is the color difference between the two strips where they meet in the center of the wall.

But look more closely and you will notice that there is an abrupt shading difference between the left and right sides of each bolt. And in the strip on the left, the dark left side is even darker at the top of the bolt, than several feet down as you move toward the floor.

These effects are called shading and paneling and color variations. It’s important to note that these are not considered “defects,” but are deemed to be the “inherent beauty of the natural materials.” In other words, if you don’t like that paneled look, they are not going to give you your money back.

There are some tricks to minimize these effects when the paper is on the wall. I will delve into those in another post … at some point.

Tailored and White-Washed Cork Wallpaper – Home Office

February 13, 2021

During the pandemic, the man and wife are both working from home … in the same improvised home office … and getting on each other’s nerves. The lady of the house decreed it’s time for the guy to move out!

So they commandeered the home’s original living room and are turning it into an office for him.

They wanted something to warm the look of the four all-white walls, while maintaining an air of professionalism and business, and at the same time being a choice that could transition to another use, once the pandemic ends and the room no longer needs to serve as an office.

This white-washed cork wallpaper with flecks of gold is the perfect choice for an accent wall behind the man’s desk.

As with all natural material wallpapers, you can expect shading and color variations between and even within strips. This one turned out pretty homogeneous.

I don’t have information on the brand or manufacturer. The material is natural cork, which is applied to the paper backing in bocks approximately 6″ square. It comes 3′ wide x 24′ long, and is a paste-the-material product.

The rather contemporary home is located in Bellaire (Houston).

Disappointing Shading in York Sure Strip Wallpaper

January 13, 2021

You expect shading and paneling (slight difference in color between strips) with natural materials like grasscloth. But when a paper is made from start to finish in a factory, with inks mixed up by computer and applied by machine, you expect the color to be uniform.

Yet, in this product by York, you can see there is difference in color intensity between the right and left sides of the paper. This is not real bad, and this room does not have a lot of long seams, so the color differences aren’t too noticeable.

But if this were, for instance, a 9′ high bedroom accent wall, or a whole dining room, the color variation might be displeasing.

York, and this Sure Strip line of theirs, is one of my favorite brands. But lately, I have had good number of defects – most of them related to printing problems.

(Mostly) Nice Faux Grasscloth

January 10, 2021

Even though it’s quite popular right now, I am not fond of real grasscloth, for many reasons. See my page to the right. Or click here https://wallpaperlady.wordpress.com/grasscloth-a-general-info-pack/

So I’m always happy when clients take my advice to consider other options. These homeowners chose a faux grasscloth with an embossed texture (that mimics the tactile appeal of the real stuff), a pattern that can be matched (eliminating jarringly visible seams), on a non-woven substrate (easier install / easier removal when it’s time to redecorate), with a surface that is resistant to stains (as opposed to real grass, which can be stained easily by toiletries, cleaning agents, or even plain water), and, because it’s man-made, greater assurance of homogeneous color – effectively eliminating the woes of paneling and shading and other color variations between and even within strips.

I was pleased with most aspects of this product. For some reason, my camera made the texture look zig-zaggy, but in real life, it really did mimic real grasscloth. The close-up photo gives you a good idea.

One thing that surprised me – and disappointed me – is that, even though this is a man-made material controlled by factory standards, there ended up being a slight color difference between the right and left side of each strip. Look at the fifth photo, particularly the top, and you will see what I’m talking about.

Since this is made in a factory using inks that are mixed at the same time, poured into the printer at the same time, and applied to the wallpaper at the same time, I really don’t understand how the material can have this color variation. Especially since virtually all of the products I have hung by Brewster have been very consistent in color.

In this case, the color variation was fairly minor, was less noticeable when I removed my 100 watt work light, and pretty much reflects what real grasscloth looks like, anyway. The homeowners were fine with it.

The wallpaper is by Exclusive Wallcoverings, which is made by Brewster. It is on a non-woven substrate, and can be hung via the paste-the-wall or paste-the-paper methods. The home is in the Memorial / Beltway 8 / Briarpark area of west Houston. I hung this in a guest bathroom.

I would call the home’s style as contemporary / industrial. This faux grasscloth really softened the room. The horizontal lines in the wallpaper complimented the lines in the shower’s tile. The overall look went from cold and commercial to soft, inviting, and almost spa-like.

Softening A Heights Dining Room; Wonderful Faux Grasscloth

November 21, 2020

The original dark paint was bold and beautiful. But the homeowners wanted something softer and textured. They listened to my “rant” about color variations in grasscloth (see link at right), and chose this embossed vinyl replica instead.

They couldn’t have chosen better!

We were worried about the usual very visible vertical seams in grasscloth, and how they would juxtapose with the vertical boards in the wainscoting at the bottom portion of the walls. The spacing between the boards did not sync at all with the width of the wallpaper. If the seams in the paper were visible and did not coordinate with the vertical elements below, it would have ended up a very visually confusing room.

Luckily, and very surprisingly, this material turned out to be wonderfully homogeneous, and the seams are virtually invisible.

What you do see is the is the very soft, muted texture and warm color that envelope the room. I like to say that this sort of pattern emulates a finely tailored man’s suit.

That last photo is distorted a bit, so ignore those wavy, swirly lines.

This wallcovering is by Warner, in their Textures VII, Grasscloth Resource book, on page 32, a lightly embossed (textured) vinyl on a scrim (woven fabric) backing, and is a random / reverse pattern match (meaning, there is no pattern to match).

It comes either 26″ wide or 52″/54″ wide. Lil’ ol’ me can’t wrangle that extra-wide stuff, so I asked the homeowners to buy the 26″ option.

This type of vinyl is way more resistant to dings and stains than most traditional wallpapers. The scrim backing also makes it easy to strip off the wall later, and with minimal damage to the wall. The embossing adds just a touch of texture.

Best of all, because it is man-made instead of a natural material, there is none of the displeasing shading and color variations that are so prevalent in real grasscloth.

The home is a relatively new build in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.

November 17, 2020

Printing Defect – Shading Issue

Look at the seam, which runs down the center of the page. It is clear that the right side of these strips of wallpaper is darker than the left side.

Unfortunately, this homeowner’s paper is not going up today. And she will have to wait for the company to use up its current stock, and then make a new production run. (Do a Search here on “run” to learn more.)

And then we have to hope that the new run does not have the same defect. Once the paper arrives, I will run by the store and check it, before the client picks it up.

This has to be a fluke, because York, and their SureStrip line, is one of my favorite brands.

Thibaut Aster – Affordable Alternative to Schumacher Feather Bloom

October 7, 2020


One-of-a-kind would describe this powder room in the West University neighborhood of Houston. You walk down two stairs to get into the room, marble tile covers the bottom portion of the walls, the ceiling is low, the ceiling slopes, and there is a curved wall on the left, as well as a 5″ high space under the sink – what I call a torture chamber for wallpaper hangers.

The homeowner contemplated grasscloth (not a good choice in a “wet” room, and especially for a family with young children – read my Grasscloth page on the right). She really liked Schumacher’s “Feather Bloom” pattern on grass. But when I made my initial consultation visit, I advised that the 36″ high and 36″ wide scale of the pattern was too large for her small, chopped up powder room. And grasscloth is prone to color variations between panels. On top of that, the Schumacher is insanely expensive.

Thibaut to the rescue! Their “Aster” design is an obvious riff on “Feather Bloom.” But it’s a smaller scale, so suits this room much better. It’s on stringcloth, a man-made material, so no worries about shading or color discrepancies. There is a light protective coating, so a bit more resistant to stains. And the string gives the product the textured look and feel that people are loving these days (see close up photo). Best of all, the Thibaut version is way more affordable!

The homeowner has a small, round, gold mirror with a fluted edge that will look fabulous placed in the “bull’s eye” of the aster flower over the sink.

The once bland all-grey room now has color, texture, movement, and a whole lot of drama!

Soft Grasscloth in West U. Powder Room

August 19, 2020


I papered this powder room about 15 years ago when the homeowners first moved into the house. Somewhere along the line, that paper was removed, and the room was painted plain white. The look was fresh – but cold.

Now the homeowner was ready for a change, seeking texture and warmth. This grasscloth by Thibaut fills both bills perfectly.

The photos skew the color – the wallpaper is actually an off-white, leaning toward soft tan. The weave has just enough texture to be visible, but is not overly coarse or rough.

I was pleased that there was no issue with shading, paneling, or color variations, as is often the case with grasscloth.

This wallpaper was bought from Southwestern Paint on Bissonnet. Talk to Sarah, who is in charge of the wallpaper department. (713) 520-6262.

Serena & Lily Silvery Grasscloth on Master Bedroom Accent Wall

June 15, 2020


Every wall of this brand-new home in the Houston ‘burbs is WHITE. The homeowners have opted to warm up their master bedroom – as well as add a little dazzle – with this silver metallic-backed grasscloth by Serena & Lily.

I have striped on the wall with a similar-hued paint, where the seams will fall, so any gaps between strips will not show white wall primer.

Note that with grasscloth, there is no pattern to be matched, so you will always see the seams. The S&L grasscloth I have hung has been pretty homogeneous in color, as you see above, so not much paneling or shading as with other brands and posts I have done.

Still, this was NOT an easy install. See future post(s) for info.

The home is in the brand new Pomona subdivision in Manvel, south of Pearland, both a bit southeast of Houston.