Wallpaper Glossary of Terms and their meaning

New to the wallpaper lingo? Don’t worry. We’ll break down for you common wallpaper terms and their meanings below.

BOLT: A double roll of wallpaper

BOOKING: The term refers to the process of folding wet, pasted wallpaper, back-to-back, and paste-to-paste, accordion style, then allowing it to sit for several minutes. Booking allows the paper to expand and relax before being applied to the wall, making the paper easier to maneuver on the wall and minimizing the risk of air bubbles and exposed seams.

booking wallpaper

BORDER SPOOL: A wallpaper strip, usually narrower than a sidewall, installed horizontally in a room, to define, separate and accent areas of decoration. A coordinating border is often used to provide a finished edge where the sidewall meets the ceiling. It can also be used at chair rail height to separate one coordinating wallpaper from another, or as an architectural detail to create decorative panels in a room. By itself, on a painted wall, a border can be an inexpensive way to personalize a room or create a theme. Borders can refresh what’s already there or create a new look in little time. A border is packaged in a single spool of standardized length.

BORDER SPOOL SIZE: Widths of borders will vary but the length of a border spool is usually 15 Feet.

DIE LOT NUMBER: Also referred to as Run number, is the sequential number assigned to a specific production run of wallpaper, guaranteeing uniformity of color match throughout that production run. Although most people never need to know the lot number, if you run short of wallpaper to complete the job, it is best to get the same run number for an exact color match.

DOUBLE ROLL: The standard size of wallpaper, also referred to as a bolt. Wallpaper is often be priced in single rolls and packaged in double rolls.

MATCH TYPE: The pattern match and repeat refer to the wallpaper design. Most automated presses print wallpapers using an imprinted cylinder that repeats the design, creating both a vertical and horizontal pattern repeat. The horizontal repeat is created to match from strip to strip, and the vertical repeat allows for a design to print on the reel in endless repetition. Here are examples of various types of matches – straight, drop, and random.

wallpaper match types

MURAL: An artistic or photographic rendering of a large scale single motif, intended to cover a full wall or large portion of a wall. The entire mural pictorial is usually composed of separate wallpaper strips, hung in proper sequence, which then combine to create the full image.

Murals are a great way to create a dramatic feature wall and are usually available in two different sizes – a full wall size or a smaller size to be used above a chair rail. Artistic motifs range from serious subject matter and classic art to whimsical themes and fun designs.

PRE-PASTED WALLPAPER: Pre-pasted papers have dried paste imbedded on the back surface and are activated when moistened by submersion in a water trough or by contact with a pre-paste activator.

RUN NUMBER: Also referred to as Die Lot number, is the sequential number assigned to a specific production run of wallpaper, guaranteeing uniformity of color match throughout that production run. Although most people never need to know the lot number, if you run

short of wallpaper to complete the job, it is best to get the same run number for an exact color match.

SIZER: Wallcovering preparation that provides additional grip for better adherence. Often used in combination with a wallcovering primer, today many products on the market combine the primer and sizer together. These one-step ‘universal’ wallcovering primers are easier to use and are formulated to work on a variety of surfaces under varying conditions. Sealing the surface is also an important procedure to allow for future removal.

UN-PASTED WALLPAPER: Unpasted papers require that a proper wallcovering adhesive be applied to the back of each strip prior to installing on the wall surface.

WALLCOVERING PRIMER: Chemical coating that protects and seals the wall in preparation for the installation of wallcoverings. Primers will seal out porous surfaces to prevent paste from absorbing into the wall, promoting better ‘slip’ during installation and better ‘grip’ afterwards.

WALLPAPER SIDEWALL: The term, sidewall, refers to a roll of wallpaper as distinguished from other wallpaper materials like borders or medallions. It can be defined as any repeatable wallcovering pattern that is intended to be hung vertically, strip by strip, in order to fully cover a wall. A wallpaper sidewall may use a ‘single roll’ size as a standard for pricing. This unit standard began as a way to simplify the pricing of nonstandard packaging of double, triple and quadruple size bolts. Today, almost all wallpaper sidewalls are packaged in double roll bolts and an effort is being made to make this double roll bolt as the new standard for pricing. However, just as many places still use the single roll standard as use the double roll standard. So make sure you know which standard you are purchasing in order to correctly calculate proper pricing and determine how many rolls you will need.

The widths of the rolls may vary, but depending on the type printing equipment used, the amount of product on each roll will be similar, or virtually identical for purposes of calculating how much you will need.

For example: Double Roll Bolt Sizes:

  • 20 ½ “Width X 33 Feet = 56 Sq. Feet
  • 27” Width X 27 Feet = 60 Sq. Feet

*Some exceptions to these standard sizes do exist.

  • STRAIGHT MATCH: When a pattern match is straight, the design moves straight across from one wallpaper strip to the next. When hung, every strip will be the same at the ceiling line (the same part of the pattern in the first and following strips will be the same distance from the ceiling).
  • DROP MATCH: When a pattern match is drop, the design runs diagonally from the ceiling (it does not run in a straight line across the wall). The design is staggered so only every other strip is identical at the ceiling line.
  • RANDOM MATCH: When a pattern match is random the wallpaper does not have to be matched at the seams. No matter how you position the wallpaper next to the previous strip, the pattern looks well. Typical examples of a random match are textures, grass cloths, and simple stripes. Note: as a general rule, every other strip should be reverse hung to reduce the possibility of shading.