DESIGNER WALLPAPER & WALLPAPER BRANDS PART IV

what makes a designer pattern so expensive (for example Schumacher’s “Balloons” – at $355/bolt on our site, or more elsewhere)? Is it more attractive than other wallpaper? Does it cost more to produce? Is it the label on the packaging? The answers to these questions respectively are probably, possibly, and most definitely.

Is designer wallpaper more attractive than other wallpaper? I would argue that “Balloons” (our example) is more attractive than more common wallpaper patterns. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but this pattern catches my eye. Designers make their mark by successfully influencing others, so personally I would concede that designer patterns probably have an intrinsic, if intangible, value.

Does designer wallpaper cost more to produce? The answer here is possibly. Some designer patterns are produced in fairly large quantities and probably cost no more than mainstream patterns, however, it’s reasonable to argue that in general they represent small production runs, and consequently cost more to produce. Also, some materials (raised print, glass beads, metallic inks, etc) may add additional cost, so it’s easy to see that designer patterns quite possibly cost more to produce.

Does the designer label on a bolt of wallpaper have a lot to do with the perceived value of that wallpaper? I would say that the label on the packaging has a lot more influence on the cost of the wallpaper than its attractiveness, or cost to produce.

There are a couple of strategies that discountwallcovering.com employs to offer its customers a price advantage when shopping for designer brands. First would be our Closeout Designer Wallpaper category. Schumacher’s “Balloons” wallpaper is a designer wallpaper pattern, and is priced accordingly. When shopping for wallpaper, though, keep in mind that even designer wallpaper patterns (like the “Balloons” pattern) can end up in the bargain bin. On our site, our designer bargain bin is our Closeout Designer Wallpaper category. For each pattern in that closeout category we show the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) for reference. As a courtesy to the manufacturers (some of them can be rather insistent), we generally don’t reference the actual brand names on site (these brand names infer an exclusiveness), but rest assured that all of the patterns in this category carry a recognizable designer label.

The second strategy we offer is our Price Buster Quote form. For current designer wallpaper patterns (like “Balloons”), we price as aggressively as possible, however, many designer patterns are price protected by MAP (minimum advertised price) policies. For those patterns, our Price Buster Quote form is a useful tool. We honor the MAP advertised pricing, but for our customers that want a deal, we offer our Price Buster Quote form. Simply tell us what you want to buy, and we’ll give you the best price that we can come up with.

PART V – Grasscloths Compared

SHOPPING FOR WALLPAPER, PART III – Euro Rolls & The Mythical “Single Roll”

America Goes European

Historically, a wallpaper unit was a roll. If you wanted to buy wallpaper, you bought a certain number of rolls. A roll of wallpaper covered about 30 square feet, or roughly, the same as a sheet of 4 foot by 8 foot sheetrock.

Each particular wallpaper pattern was packaged usually in either 2 roll or 3 roll bolts, but could be cut as needed. For example, if you  needed 3 rolls of a particular wallpaper pattern, and that particular wallpaper pattern was packaged in 2 roll bolts, you could get a 2 roll bolt, plus one “single roll” – a “single roll” was just a 2 roll bolt cut in half. Here in America, these 2 roll bolts of wallpaper could be either 20½ inches wide and 42 feet long, or 27 inches wide and 32 feet long – pretty much the same coverage either way.

In the early 1980s, America began importing a lot of European wallpaper. Europe did a good job with wallpaper and manufactured a lot of it – they manufactured lots more than we did here in America. European bolts were 20½ inches wide and 33 feet long (or in metric, 52 cm wide and 10 m long). Europeans called these bolts, rolls. For American marketers, however, there was a problem because these European “rolls” contained more wallpaper than American rolls, and consequently, would cost more. It would mean that a collection featuring European rolls of wallpaper would carry a higher price per roll than collections featuring American rolls of wallpaper.

To remedy this disadvantage, American wallpaper marketers choose to call this European bolt two “single rolls” instead of simply a “roll” (which it had been in Europe); also, the term “double roll bolt” was used – a “single roll” was equal to ½ bolt. If you’re wondering why these American wallpaper marketers did this, the reason is obvious. A $90 bolt of wallpaper could be advertised as $45 per “single roll” – which of course sounds a lot cheaper than $90 per roll (European roll, that is). Of course when you go to purchase this $45 “single roll”, you have to buy two at time – so you end up paying $90 per bolt, anyway.

Soon American sized bolts disappeared, and all wallpaper, including wallpaper made in America, was made the size of European bolts, and were priced by the “single roll”. These newly termed “single rolls” were mythical, however, because there was nothing “single” about them. Customers couldn’t buy a “single roll” because nobody would cut a European bolt. Cutting the already abbreviated 33 foot long European bolt wasn’t practical. Cut in half, a “single roll” would be 16½ feet long, and with any kind of pattern repeat, it would only be enough material for one 8 foot strip of usable wallpaper.

Today, almost all wallpaper is packaged in two “single roll” bolts, so when you see it priced by the single roll, you will end up paying double that single roll price. At discountwallcovering.com we feel that this marketing technique is deceptive, and needlessly confusing. Consequently, all of our wallpapers are simply priced by the bolt.

On our website, beneath each wallpaper product image (brick wallpaper example) is a data sheet that contains the dimensions of our wallpapers. There are several different sizes of wallpaper bolts – but we always price by the bolt, and the dimensions of every bolt are contained in our “data sheet”. We hope that you find our website straightforward and easy to navigate, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us – we’ll be glad to help.

More Parts To Follow Of A Five Part Blog

In part IV & V: designer wallpaper & wallpaper brands, discussed, and finally, grasscloths compared.

PART IV – Designer Wallpaper & Wallpaper Brands

PART V – Grasscloth Compared

SHOPPING FOR WALLPAPER, PART II – In Stock Wallpaper

A Major Shift Occurs With “In Stock” Wallpaper
In the late 1970s, wallpaper dealers were offered “in stock” wallpaper, and wallpaper merchandising was fundamentally changed forever. Before wallpaper dealers carried in stock wallpaper, wallpaper dealers were pretty much the same. Each dealer basically carried the same lines, and bought from the same distributors, for the same prices. By stocking selected patterns from the tens of thousands available at any given time, wallpaper dealers were able to differentiate themselves from their competitors, and to give their customers the convenience of immediately taking their purchase home, rather than waiting on the arrival of a shipment.

About this same time, a west coast wholesale distributor opened a chain of “in stock” wallpaper stores as a way of dumping discontinued, unsold patterns from expired collections. This chain was later franchised, and upgraded with current inventory, and seemed to usher in the general market acceptance of the convenience of in stock wallpaper stores. Many small chains, including ours, popped up across the nation. Wallpaper border, and wallpaper murals, were added alongside the in stock sidewalls.

By carrying in stock wallpaper we have been able to noticeably improve our customer service. We are oftentimes able to deliver next day service to nearby destinations by simply getting ground orders shipped the same day. And several times we’ve been able to scavenge our sample bolt for a customer needing just a bit more of a recently sold out pattern.

More Parts To Follow Of A Five Part Blog

In part III through V: the standard bolt size changes to “Euro” and confusion abounds, designer wallpaper & wallpaper brands, and finally, grasscloths compared.

PART III – Euro Rolls And The Mythical “Single Roll”

PART IV – Designer Wallpaper & Wallpaper Brands

PART V – Grasscloth Compared

SHOPPING FOR WALLPAPER, PART I OF V Our Perspective

Our Association With Wallpaper Began Over 40 Years Ago
Discount Wallcovering has been in existence since 1976 when we opened our first Discount Wallcovering store, in Tulsa, OK. However, we actually began selling wallpaper five years earlier, in 1971, when we began importing and selling grasscloth wallpaper through our import shop, Creative Imports. When our Creative Imports landlord, an architect, found out that we sold wallpaper, he stopped by and told us that if we would get some sample books, he’d order his wallpaper through us, so we contacted a distributor in Memphis, TN, and have sold a variety of wallpaper ever since.

We Started Out By Discounting Prices
When we opened Discount Wallcovering (1976), the idea of offering discount wallpaper appealed to us, because we didn’t have a lot of expertise to offer our customers, but we thought that we certainly could offer our customers a lot of value, with discount wallpaper prices. Our wallpaper sample books came with prices preprinted. We discounted the preprinted prices 10%, which discount at the time made us the price competitive wallpaper store in town.

Generally speaking, discounts have increased over the past 40 years – you know, free enterprise and the market place at work. However surprising it may seem, though, we’ve actually found several of our competitor’s today selling wallpaper at above MSRP, online. More about that later.

First Of A Five Part Blog
This is the first of a five part blog. In parts II through V we tell: how a California distributor creates an “in stock” wallpaper national chain and stocking wallpaper dealers proliferate, how the standard bolt size changes to “Euro” and confusion abounds, about designer wallpaper & wallpaper brands, and finally, how grasscloths compare.

PART II – In Stock Wallpaper

PART III – Euro Rolls And The Mythical “Single Roll”

PART IV – Designer Wallpaper & Wallpaper Brands

PART V – Grasscloths Compared

Classic Wallpaper Designs

We have recently added seven designs to our website from the recently released Waverly Classics Volume II collection (our search code WCL). Discount Wallcovering now carries the following designs: Kent Crossing, Peaceful Temple, Clifton Hall, Cozy Up Stripe, Swept Away Paisley, Lotus Lake, and Arbor Imagery. These new designs are produced on York’s technologically advanced SureStrip substrate. The blue tones colorway of Peaceful Temple is shown below.

peaceful-temple-wallpaper

LOTS OF BORDERS

York has recently released Border Portfolio II (our search code BPY) and there are several oldies but goodies, several updates, and many totally new designs. All of the borders are produced on prepasted SureStrip. Here are a few examples:

meander-border
perception-border
conifer-bordercomfort-food-borderThe designs shown above are Meander Border, Perception Border, Conifer Border, and Comfort Food Border. In Border Portfolio II, there are over 50 designs in all – check them out using the search code BPY.

 

Grasscloth – a practical decorating solution

Shop For Grasscoth Wallpaper

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Our company has had a long association, and many experiences, with grasscloth. Here are some of the things we’ve learned:

Covers Textured Walls
Our first grasscloth shipment, received back in 1971, was evidence that grasscloth wallpaper was something different. Back then, the Japanese and Koreans packed grasscloth 25 bolts to the case, and those 3 foot long cases were hefty. Hefty has its advantages. Back in Oklahoma, where textured paint was popular with homebuilders, putting wallpaper onto textured walls was a painful process. First, you had to smooth the walls. That involved sanding, or knocking down the texture with a used brick, or first applying a liner paper. That meant time and toil. Voila – grasscloth. One application with this hefty, thick, and naturally textured wallpaper, and the painted texturing disappeared.

Please note that for purposes of covering textured walls, some grasscloths work better than others. The best at covering textured walls would be nubby with coarse grass.

lesson learned: textured walls could be papered with grasscloth

Repair Is Fairly Easy
One of our company’s early ventures was homebuilding. One day, while hurrying into new construction with a load of last minute hardware, the heavy solid core front door was briskly swung open, and since the door stops were not yet in place, the door knob went right into and through the already wallpapered, grassclothed entry wall.

This gaping hole, immediately in the front entry, was an eyesore to be fixed. First the sheetrock was patched. And while with many wallpapers, repairing previously hung wallpaper could be a problem, not so with grasscloth. By removing a horizontal band of grasscloth, a replacement strip was applied, and because of the many horizontal grass strands comprising grasscloth wallpaper, evidence of the splicing, once completed, was hidden from sight.

lesson learned: repairs are fairly easy with grasscloth

Blends In
Another early company venture was an import shop whose display wall shelving was sectioned by vertical posts. To distinguish the different sections, we used different colored grasscloths – green, blue, tan, etc. Rather than clashing, the muted tones of the various grasscloth colors worked well together.

lesson learned: natural grasscloth (even when dyed) is muted in tone, and tends to work well with a variety of colors

Hides Small Holes
Over the years we covered a lot of walls with grasscloth, and then we punctured those walls. We drove nails into them to hang racks, we stock pins into them to display bulletins, and we used picture hooks to hang pictures. When we moved the racks, took down the bulletins, and removed the pictures, the resultant holes were lost in the grasscloth texturing.

lesson learned: grasscloth works well for walls that receive small punctures

Can Be Waterproofed
People loved to put grasscloth in bathrooms, but grasscloth and moisture didn’t mix. Using the internet, we found a site that had tested waterproofing agents for marine applications. One of their best test subjects, and one that was readily available, was 3M’s Scotchgard. We conducted our own test by spraying a strip of grasscloth with Scotchgard,  and afterwards, water ran off our treated wallpaper like water off a duck’s back.

Believing it’s prudent to error on the side of caution, we would suggest three applications of Scotchgard.

lesson learned: protect grasscloth from moisture by using Scotchgard

Grasscloth, the environmentally friendly, easily adaptable, decorating enhancement, is also quite practical.

Shop For Grasscoth Wallpaper

New Ashford Toiles Designs

Among the new Ashford Toiles designs is an assortment of domestic dogs decked out in various articles of clothing, including top hat, sweater, tie, ribbon, collar, and glasses. This canine design is available in three colorways, Dog’s Life Toile Wallpaper.

ATA067rs
Another of the new designs is this eye-catching Papillon design which features a variety of butterflies fluttering through the flowers and leaves of this climbing vine design. This design is available in four colorways, Papillon Toile Wallpaper.

YDSB12Papillon

Also, there is a new Asian design featuring a tranquil Asian scenic with a garden, flowering plants and trees, and a boatman. It is available in five colorways, Asian Scenic Wallpaper.

YDSB12OrientalScenic

These new designs are produced on York’s technologically advanced SureStrip substrate.

Wallpaper Hanging Mistakes (I’ve Made)

YWD679WatercolorFloral

Finished Product. Worth all the work!

You’ve done all the hard work. You’ve thought about color, pattern, and perhaps a theme for your room. You’ve pored over wallpaper books, samples, and color swatches. And, you’ve narrowed it down to one glorious wallpaper pattern. Your order has been placed and it’s arrived! You have decided to stay in the entire day on Saturday just to hang your paper and put your room together. How exciting! Eeeek! I know. I’ve been there a couple times. But, I need to warn you. Your instructions give a few pointers for a reason. I’ve learned the hard way. Here are some tips from the school of hard knocks regarding wallpaper hanging:

Tip #1: Check your wallpaper for defects. I know. I too just want to get right down to business and hang the wallpaper already! But, don’t be like me and hang four strips of The Perfect Wallpaper Pattern to only discover that there are red streaks on your walls.*(So it wasn’t a defect. Read more below to find out what those red streaks really were!) All that time measuring, cutting, lining up, and making final cuts are for naught because you have to pull off each carefully hung strip. And you ask yourself, why didn’t I just check for defects before I hung the stupid things! Please forgive me for using stupid and wallpaper in the same sentence.

If you do find defects, we’ll make sure to replace your paper with defect-free rolls. It isn’t often, but it is a problem that can be encountered when wallpapering. You’ll want to snap a picture of the defect, or send us a small sample of the wallpaper, defect included, so that we can confirm it is a defect. Unfortunately this is necessary because we’ve had those who have tried to get “free” paper via fraud. Sad, but true.

In the last couple of years, this is the first defect we’ve been notified about:

defect1

Small white area of missing pattern.

defect2

What a defect might look like.

*I did have red streaks on my wallpaper, but I was the yahoo who put them there! Yep, I had no idea that the red paint from my wall would transfer so easily to my wallpaper! I have since gone through each room with a white sheet of paper and realized: all my wall paint can be rubbed off to some degree onto the white paper. I realized this after I opened up a new bolt of wallpaper to photograph for the manufacturer as proof of the defect (I get why it is a second thought to hold on to evidence – I wanted to tear up and burn that paper with the red streaks. Do you know how much love and effort went into hanging up those red streaked strips?!?!). I couldn’t find the steaks on the fresh bolt of paper, and I realized something was amiss. I grabbed a sample of the paper and brushed it up against the red wall and voila! Totally my fault. Don’t be like me.

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Not a defect. Paint from my wall easily rubbed onto the wallpaper.