Wallpaper Pattern Matching

Understanding wallpaper pattern matches is an important step to take before even purchasing your wall covering.

In some instances, it may affect the amount of paper you need to buy, so taking a minute to learn about what certain terms mean can save you time and money.

In this article, we will cover all the different types of pattern matches we stock at OFS, so you can focus on picking out the right wallpaper for your home and not worry about figuring out cryptic industry terms and symbols.

For additional information about wallpaper, take a look at our Wallpaper Guide. We also have a post about fabric repeat and scale but the same applies to wallpaper.

Random or Free Match

Random or free matches are the easiest type of pattern to match because the next sheet of wallpaper can be placed along any point of the previous piece that was hung. This is often the case with textured, striped, and solid patterns.

Straight Match

Straight matches are when you can match the pattern on one side of the paper, make your cuts, and then when you go to install the wallpaper, the pattern lines up straight across the wall.

Half Drop Match

Half drop matches are a little more difficult because when you line the pattern up horizontally, it then needs to be moved half the distance of the vertical repeat to line up on the opposite side. This may require some extra wallpaper because there will be more waste.

Reverse Hung

A reverse hang match is when every piece of wallpaper hung needs to be alternated between top side up and top side down. This isn’t usually done to line up patterns but rather to make sure the transition is the same from piece to piece. If there is a gradient or subtle shading (intended or not), this method ensures a seamless look.

An easy way to use this method is but cutting each piece and then marking the top with a symbol. This way, all you need to know is what way the last piece was hanging and do the opposite.

You can find our wallpaper calculator on every wallpaper page which will estimate how many rolls you need for that specific wallpaper. You may have to account for the additional material required to make a pattern match. There is an option to add 10% to the total which is usually enough to cover the extra needed for pattern matching and waste.

If the wallpaper has a drop match, it’s a good idea to add the length of the pattern repeat to every wallpaper panel that you need to put up.  On the calculator, you can simply add this measurement to your wall height.

Every roll of wallpaper comes marked with its exact pattern match and pattern repeat, if you ever forget which type you purchased.

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