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The last thing you want to see in your building is unattractive wallpaper (or dirty painted walls). Your neighbors or tenants probably won’t be too thrilled by lackluster walls either.

But what’s the solution?

It’s embossed wallpaper—or wallpaper with a raised texture. The right product will immediately enhance the design of your building hallways. That not only will make everyone smile (who doesn’t when they see beautiful walls?), it also makes financial sense.

As a building manager or condo board member, you know it’s vital to keep your commercial interior design looking great. If you’ve decided that embossed wallpaper is a way to achieve that, you should develop an accurate scope of work. This can be tricky for building managers or residents in a condo or co-op board, as they may not be entirely familiar with the process.

Here’s a six-step plan to ensure your embossed wallpaper project delivers the results you want:

1. Name the project

There’s a reason why there are countless articles about how to run a condo or co-op board meeting. It’s because it’s easy to lose direction when numerous people have their own items to discuss. So, before outside topics, focus on the embossed wallpaper project. Specifically, you have to give the project a name.

For example, if you live in Paradise Valley Condominiums (what an awesome name by the way), then you could name the project something like:

  • Paradise Valley Condominiums: Soft Rehab of Hallways and Common Areas

As you can see, the name doesn’t have to make eyes sparkle. It just has to give the project clear direction. This also allows contractors to quickly understand the project and speed up the bidding process.

2. Choose texture and color

As you establish the project at the meeting, you may encounter questions from residents about why this is being done.

If the residents are your tenants (i.e. they’re renting the place), they’ll be happy to hear about how quality wallpaper lasts 15 to 25 years, or five times longer than paint. That keeps your operating costs down, which makes it more likely their living costs won’t rise as much over time. They’ll also be happy to hear about the aesthetic benefits of having embossed wallpaper, as everyone likes beautiful walls. Plus, this kind of wallpaper feels pretty cool.

If you’re in a condo or co-op community, in addition to stressing the cost-effectiveness and aesthetic qualities of embossed wallpaper, residents will be excited to hear about the financial benefits an enhanced commercial interior design brings. As research from the Design Council notes, a good design increases the value of property.

With all this in mind, it’s even more crucial that you choose a premium wallpaper for your commercial interior design. Here’s a process to follow:

  1. Pick the color. Since folks have different preferences, you may just want to go with an elegant neutral tone, like those used in homes, rather than something flashy (even if you’re a flashy person). After all, the entire board must agree to the color.
  2. Only consider Class A fire rated wallpaper. You absolutely must choose embossed wallpaper that’s Class A fire rated, as this means it meets the building code requirements. Such specifications should be submitted by the embossed wallpaper manufacturer.
  3. Look for thick, 20-ounce wallpaper. Hallways and common areas in a residential building receive significant traffic. That means the wallpaper you choose must be built to withstand wear and tear. Specifically, search for 20-ounce embossed wallpaper that has a fabric backing (which will provide the necessary support and enhance durability).


Note: Avoid wallpaper with paper backings, as this will have to be replaced much sooner and can’t be washed and wiped as easily. A paper backing also does not expand and contract at the same rate with the surface material which will cause seams to open up over time.

Also, when you find embossed wallpaper that meets the above specifications, ask the manufacturer for large samples so that you can personally examine thickness and quality. The wallpaper should include at least a five-year warranty that covers delamination and seam spread failure. The product should also come with care and cleaning instructions.

3. Get project bids

You should always be thinking about the quality of the work and the overall return on your investment. Though saving on embossed wallpaper installation now may leave you with extra cash to throw an epic party for the residents, it could mean more money in repairs and replacement down the line (which would lead to less epic parties in the future).

So, how do you hire the best installer for the job? Be sure to do the following:

  • Plan to obtain at least three bids from reputable embossed wallpaper installers in the area.
  • Set up a bid packet that details the project, building rules, and insurance requirements.
  • Request five references and get the contact info to check those references.
  • Schedule a walk-through of the project with all bidders present.
  • Establish a due date for the bids.

4. Get an itemized breakdown of costs

As the Wallcovering Installers Association notes, “Do not blindly accept the lowest bid. Ask why a bid is as low or high as it is. A higher fee may be worth the extra services or better quality product provided.”

This requires that you get an itemized breakdown of costs for not just installing the embossed wallpaper, but also for the protection of surrounding surfaces, debris removal, wall preparation, and other labor, materials, and expenses.

Carefully analyze the services being offered and associated costs. Always place overall value of the installation first.

5. Establish a start date

When you ballpark a project start date, take into account the best interests of the residents. You may want to send around a survey or put it up to a vote at the next board meeting (before talking about ice cream, of course).

You want to make sure the project is done in a timely manner, as you don’t want to bother residents too much. You also shouldn’t rush it, as you want the job to be done correctly. So, the schedule should include a lead time to manufacture the embossed wallpaper, which should also include the product’s estimated arrival time into the building storeroom.

Once the timeline is set, find communication channels to keep residents notified of the project’s progress. This way, everybody’s in the know about what’s going on in the community. And everyone can plan a gathering to ogle at the new wallpaper once the project is complete (yes, the people will ogle).

6. Award the project to the best contractor

By now, you should have a good idea of who’s the best contractor for the job. Again, your choice should be based on who you believe will deliver the best overall value.

Choosing the best contractor requires analyzing the bid, calculating costs and quality of services, considering references, and taking into account other factors, like past work samples and personal interactions with the contractor.

Once you’ve selected a contractor, write out a contract that clearly details project dates, job expectations, and financial terms, like the total price and payment schedules. Materials being used for the project should be written out as well. Make sure it’s clear how invoices are to be submitted and establish a cancellation policy (if expectations aren’t met). You may also want to put a warranty into place, in case repairs or maintenance is needed later.

Then, both parties should sign the contract and work should begin.

Making Your Embossed Wallpaper Project a Success

Thorough project management is key to ensuring proper embossed wallpaper installation. Monitor project progress as often as possible to ensure the wallpaper is being installed at the agreed-upon speed and quality. This way, you can solve any issues before they become major.

By actively managing the project, you and the community will get the most out of the new embossed wallpaper.

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