an image of a lady not knowing how much wallpaper to order

“Pizza Pizza!”

Ordering wallpaper can sometimes feel like you’re in a famous Little Caesars commercial where you ask for one pizza and end up with two, courtesy of their ‘Pizza Pizza’ deal. When you order a single roll of wallpaper, you might expect one but get two if it’s a double roll. This quirky industry standard can catch anyone off guard. To make matters worse, there’s a new idea among manufacturers that a roll is just one sheet of wallpaper. Stay with me while I attempt to sort it out.

A Tale of Two Rolls

Historically, in the United States, wallpaper has been sold in what is known as a ‘single roll.’ But here’s the catch – it’s almost always packaged as a ‘double roll.’ You might think of a single roll as a unit of measurement, existing for pricing purposes. Sometimes, when you purchase wallpaper, you’re actually getting a double roll, which comprises two single rolls’ worth of wallpaper in one packaged roll. Confusing… huh? This approach may simplify inventory and shipping for retailers but can certainly lead to consumer befuddlement and screw up orders.

However, on the other side of the pond, our English friends have kept things a bit more straightforward. In the UK and many other places, a roll is just that—a roll. If they say a single roll, they mean one individual roll of wallpaper, a complete packaged roll.

a USA wallpaper double roll next to a British Single roll

Let’s Break it Down –

When you order from a company, for example, Cole and Son (British), which states their roll as 52 cm by 10.05 m, what should be a ‘single roll’ may be considered a ‘double roll’ when ordering from a third-party seller, such as a small boutique, especially in the USA.

Below are two examples of the same wallpaper being sold online: on the left is Cole and Son’s direct selling by the “roll”, and on the right is a third-party seller selling by a “double roll”.

Example of Senzo Spot wallpaper selling by the roll on Cole and Sons website
Example of Senzo Spot wallpaper selling by the roll on Wallpaper Direct website

 Let’s simplify the process –

  1. focal wall App: simplified wallpaper estimator for roll type breakdowns
  2. Know Exactly What You Need: For example, you need 10 rolls of a specific wallpaper for your project.
  3. Clarify ‘A Roll’ with Your Seller: Before ordering, it’s vital to ask the seller about the dimensions of their ‘roll’. A roll should match the manufacturer’s definition – in this case, Cole and Son’s definition of a roll is 52 cm by 10.05 m.
  4. Be Specific in Your Order: Communicate clearly to the seller and the  homeowner that you need 10 rolls, each being 52 cm by 10.05 m, as per Cole and Son’s specifications. Put a link to the manufacture’s web page with the wallpaper.
  5. Double-Check Your Order with the Installer and the Seller: Ensure that the seller confirms back to you the total amount of wallpaper you will receive, considering the pattern repeat and match – for Cole and Son, that’s a half drop.

Oddly enough, I wrote an iOS app called ‘Wallcoverings’ years ago that solved this issue, and it made The Telegraph’s top 30 Property apps.

Newer version focal wall

Picture of a wallpaper estimate example
Picture of the Wallcoverings app on UK Telegraph

Who knows, maybe one day a roll will just be a ‘roll,’ and perhaps we’ll all go metric—like the rest of the world. Until then, we’ll keep converting and conversing in the language of wallpaper rolls. If you have any questions, please contact me here. Happy papering, and may your walls be ever in vogue!