What Are Wall Coverings: Types, Applications, and Ideal Locations

Interior design plays a crucial role in creating visually appealing and functional spaces, and wall coverings are a vital component in achieving this. In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve into the world of wall coverings, exploring their various types, applications, and ideal locations. Whether you’re a homeowner seeking to refresh your living spaces or a commercial property owner aiming to elevate the ambiance of your buildings, this guide will provide valuable insights to help you make informed decisions and choose the perfect wall-covering solutions.


What is a Wall Covering?

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Wall coverings, also known as wallcoverings, are decorative and protective materials applied to vertical surfaces, primarily walls, to enhance their appearance and functionality. These coverings have a rich history dating back to ancient civilizations, where they were used for insulation, decoration, and even as a means of displaying wealth and status. Over time, wall coverings have evolved from simple tapestries and frescoes to a wide range of modern materials, including the solid decorative surface, which consists of a solid sheet of vinyl or vinyl film laminated to a fabric or paper substrate. This type of wall covering is known for its durability and suitability for various wall-covering applications, catering to diverse aesthetic preferences and practical requirements.


Benefits of Wall Coverings

Wall coverings offer a multitude of benefits that extend beyond their aesthetic appeal. These versatile materials can enhance the functionality, durability, and overall ambiance of any space, making them an excellent investment for both residential and commercial settings.

Vinyl coating provides additional strength and durability to wall coverings, ensuring they can withstand wear and tear while maintaining their appearance over time.

Durability and Protection

Many wall coverings, particularly those with a solid vinyl decorative surface, commercial wallcoverings, and durable wallcoverings, are engineered to withstand heavy foot traffic, moisture, and wear and tear. These materials are perfect for high-traffic areas like hospital corridors, retail outlets, and commercial buildings, providing wall protection and longevity. Solid vinyl, for instance, is a highly durable material that can withstand scrubbing and cleaning with prescribed detergent solutions without compromising its appearance or integrity.

Easy Maintenance

Vinyl wallcoverings, solid sheet vinyl, and surface coatings are known for their low-maintenance properties. These materials can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth or mild cleaning solutions, making them ideal for spaces that require frequent cleaning, such as healthcare facilities and restaurants. Additionally, some wall coverings are designed to resist stains, moisture, and mold, reducing the need for extensive maintenance.

Acoustic Insulation

Certain wall coverings, like textile wallcoverings made from natural materials or paper-type substrates with a lining paper backing, can provide acoustic insulation. These materials can help absorb sound and reduce echoes, creating a more comfortable and peaceful environment in rooms with high ceilings or open layouts.

Customization and Versatility

Wall coverings offer an incredible range of customization options, from patterns and textures to colors and surface finishes. This versatility allows designers and homeowners to create unique and personalized spaces that reflect their individual styles. Surface printing techniques, like hand screen printing, rotary screen printing, and surface coating processes, enable the creation of highly decorative and visually striking wall coverings tailored to specific design requirements.

Concealing Imperfections

Wall coverings can be an excellent solution for hiding imperfections or uneven surfaces on walls. Textured wall coverings, such as those with a variegated texture or definite pattern, can effectively camouflage cracks, dents, or other blemishes, providing a seamless and polished appearance to any room or commercial space.

Environmental Benefits

Many modern wall coverings are manufactured using eco-friendly materials and processes. For instance, wallcoverings made from natural materials like grasscloth, cork, or bamboo offer sustainable and environmentally conscious options. Additionally, some manufacturers use recycled or recyclable materials in their products, contributing to a greener building industry.

Fire Safety

Certain wall coverings, particularly those used in commercial environments, are designed to meet stringent fire safety standards and regulations. These materials are engineered to have a low flame spread rating, which helps prevent the rapid spread of fire in the event of an emergency. This feature is especially important in high-occupancy buildings, such as apartment buildings, hotels, and retail establishments.

By considering these benefits, designers, property owners, and homeowners can make informed decisions when selecting wall coverings that not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of their spaces but also provide practical advantages in terms of durability, maintenance, and overall functionality.


Types of Wall Coverings, Applications, and Where They Work Best

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Wall coverings serve multiple purposes, including protecting walls from wear and tear, adding insulation, and creating visually stunning environments. They come in various textures, patterns, and colors, allowing designers and homeowners to seamlessly blend them with their desired interior styles. From the traditional elegance of wallpaper to the durability of vinyl coverings, these materials offer versatility and functionality, making them an essential consideration in any interior design project. Wall coverings can also help hide imperfections in walls, provide acoustic insulation, and even contribute to fire safety, depending on the material used. 

Here are the most common types of wallcoverings available, their applications, and where they work best:


Wallpaper, one of the most traditional and beloved wall coverings, offers a vast array of patterns, textures, and wallcovering designs. It is commonly made from paper or vinyl-coated paper, providing a decorative surface that can transform any room into a visually captivating space. Wallpaper is widely used in residential settings, from living rooms and bedrooms to home offices and entryways, as it can create a warm and inviting atmosphere.


Residential spaces, hospitality industry (hotels, restaurants), and commercial spaces with low to moderate traffic. Ideal Locations: Living rooms, bedrooms, home offices, hotel lobbies, and dining areas.

Wallpaper comes in various styles, ranging from traditional floral patterns to modern geometric designs. It can be applied using traditional paste or modern peel-and-stick methods, making installation easier than ever before. Wallpaper is also available in different grades, with higher-quality papers offering greater durability and ease of maintenance.


Vinyl Wallcovering

Vinyl wallcoverings, also known as solid vinyl decorative surfaces or commercial wallcoverings, are highly durable and resilient. These coverings are made from a solid vinyl layer, often with a decorative layer on top, providing a versatile solution for high-traffic areas. Vinyl wallcoverings are commonly used in commercial spaces, healthcare facilities, and educational institutions due to their resistance to scuffs, stains, and moisture.


Commercial buildings, hospitals, schools, retail outlets, and other high-traffic areas. Ideal Locations: Hospital corridors, school hallways, retail stores, and commercial spaces with heavy foot traffic.

Vinyl wallcoverings are available in a wide range of textures, colors, and patterns, allowing for creative and visually appealing designs. They are easy to clean and maintain, making them a popular choice for areas with high foot traffic and frequent use. Additionally, many vinyl wallcoverings are designed to meet specific fire safety standards, making them suitable for use in commercial and public buildings. These solid vinyl decorative surfaces are often referred to as solid sheet vinyl or vinyl coatings, and they are designed to cover walls and vertical surfaces in commercial environments.


Textile Wallcoverings

Textile wallcoverings are made from natural or synthetic fibers, offering a unique and luxurious look. These coverings are often woven or embroidered, providing a tactile and textured surface that adds depth and dimension to any space. Textile wallcoverings are commonly used in upscale residential and commercial spaces, as well as hospitality settings, where a touch of elegance is desired.


Luxury residential spaces, high-end hospitality venues, and upscale commercial spaces. Ideal Locations: Living rooms, dining rooms, hotel lobbies, and executive offices.

Textile wallcoverings can be made from a variety of materials, including silk, linen, velvet, and even grasscloth. These materials not only provide a rich visual appeal but also offer acoustic insulation and warmth to a space. Textile wallcoverings are often more expensive than other types of wall coverings, but they can create a truly unique and sophisticated atmosphere.


Specialty Wallcoverings

Specialty wallcoverings encompass a wide range of materials, including grass cloth, cork, bamboo, and even metal. These unconventional coverings offer unique textures, patterns, and environmental benefits, catering to specific design aesthetics and functional requirements. Specialty wallcoverings are often used in residential and commercial spaces where a distinct and one-of-a-kind look is desired.


Residential spaces, commercial spaces with unique design requirements, and eco-friendly projects. Ideal Locations: Accent walls, feature areas, and spaces where a unique and sustainable aesthetic is desired.

Grass cloth wallcoverings, for example, are made from natural fibers and provide a warm, organic feel to a space. Cork wallcoverings offer excellent insulation properties and a unique textured appearance. Bamboo wallcoverings are eco-friendly and can create a serene and natural ambiance. Metal wallcoverings, while less common, can add a modern and industrial touch to a space.

Regardless of the type of wall covering chosen, it is essential to consider factors such as durability, maintenance requirements, and resistance to moisture, stains, and abrasion. Additionally, the application and location play a crucial role in determining the most suitable wall covering for a particular space. Professional wallpaper installation is often recommended to ensure proper application and longevity of the wall covering.


Wallcovering vs Painting: Which One is Better?

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When it comes to choosing between wallcovering and painting for interior spaces, both options have their advantages and drawbacks. The decision ultimately depends on various factors, including durability, maintenance, aesthetics, and personal preferences. Here’s a comparison to help you determine which option might be better suited for your specific needs:


  • Wallcoverings, particularly vinyl wallcoverings (solid vinyl decorative surfaces or commercial wallcoverings) and solid sheet vinyl, are generally more durable than paint. These solid vinyl materials are engineered to withstand heavy foot traffic, moisture, and wear and tear, making them ideal for high-traffic areas like hospital corridors, retail outlets, and commercial buildings.
  • Paint, on the other hand, can be susceptible to scratches, scuffs, and fading over time, especially in areas with high usage or exposure to direct sunlight.


  • Wallcoverings like vinyl wallcoverings with surface coatings are typically easier to maintain than painted walls. They can be cleaned with prescribed detergent solutions, resisting stains, and moisture, and even withstanding scrubbing without compromising their appearance or integrity.
  • Painted walls may require more frequent touch-ups or repainting as they are more prone to scuffs, marks, and wear over time, especially in high-traffic areas or commercial environments.

Aesthetics and Customization:

  • Wallcoverings offer a vast array of patterns, textures, and colors, allowing for greater customization and design flexibility. From textile wallcoverings with intricate weaves to specialty wallcoverings like grasscloth or cork, the options are virtually endless. Surface wallpaper printing techniques like hand screen printing, rotary screen printing, and decorative layers can create highly decorative and visually striking wall coverings.
  • Painting offers a more uniform and consistent look, but it may be more challenging to achieve unique or complex designs without employing specialized techniques or hiring a skilled artist.

Installation and Removal:

  • Installing wallcoverings can be more time-consuming and labor-intensive than painting, often requiring professional installation teams for optimal results, especially when dealing with pattern matches, drop matches, or random matches. Techniques like lining paper installation and wall cavity inspection are crucial for a seamless finish.
  • Painting is generally quicker and more straightforward for DIY projects, but it may require more frequent repainting or touch-ups over time.
  • Removing wallcoverings can be a tedious process, depending on the type of material and adhesive used, while repainting is often easier for making changes or refreshing a space.


  • Wallcoverings, particularly high-end options like textile wallcoverings or specialty materials, can be more expensive than paint, especially when factoring in professional installation costs, materials like machine-grade clay premix or paper-type substrates, and specialized tools like pasting machines.
  • Painting is generally more cost-effective, especially for larger areas or budget-conscious projects. However, the long-term maintenance and repainting costs should be considered.

Ultimately, the choice between wallcovering and painting will depend on your specific requirements, budget, and personal preferences. If you prioritize durability, low maintenance, and unique designs, wallcoverings like vinyl wallcoverings or commercial wallcoverings might be the better option, especially for high-traffic commercial spaces, apartment buildings, or areas prone to wear and tear. However, if you value a more uniform look, ease of installation, and lower upfront costs, painting could be a suitable alternative, particularly for residential spaces or areas with lower traffic.


Get the Best Wall Covering with Applied Coverings

If you’re located in California and seeking professional commercial wallcovering services, Applied Coverings is your trusted partner. Our experienced team specializes in the installation of high-quality wall coverings tailored to meet the unique needs of commercial spaces. From vinyl wallcoverings to textile and specialty options, we ensure that your walls not only look stunning but also withstand the demands of high-traffic environments. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and elevate the ambiance of your commercial space.

At Applied Coverings, we understand the importance of selecting the right wall covering for your specific needs. Our team of experts will guide you through the process, considering factors such as durability, maintenance, and aesthetic appeal. We work closely with you to understand your vision and provide tailored solutions that not only meet but exceed your expectations.


High-Quality Wallcovering Materials

With a commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, we take pride in our attention to detail and meticulous installation techniques. Our professionals are trained to handle a wide range of wall-covering materials, ensuring a flawless finish that will stand the test of time. Whether you need durable wallcoverings for high-traffic areas, decorative surfaces for office spaces, or solid vinyl solutions for commercial buildings, we have the expertise to deliver exceptional results.


Get Started with Top-Notch Wallpaper Services

Our services include surface preparation, lining paper installation, wall cavity inspection, and precise pattern matching. We use state-of-the-art tools and techniques, such as pasting machines, rotary screens, and hand-screen printing methods, to ensure a seamless and consistent application. Our team is well-versed in the intricacies of wall-covering installation, including drop matches, random matches, and definite pattern alignments.

Don’t settle for ordinary walls. Elevate your commercial space with the help of Applied Coverings and experience the transformative power of wall coverings. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and let us bring your vision to life.

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