International Wallpaper Symbols

Wallcovering manufacturers are now using these international symbols on their product labels and in pattern books to indicate the type of wallpaper and how it should be used.


A wallcovering from which the adhesive may be wiped off the face of the paper with a damp soft cloth or sponge at the time of hanging without causing visible damage, providing it is done whilst the adhesive is still damp. No subsequent washability is claimed or implied.


Washable wallcoverings are finished products from which dirt and some domestic water based stains may be cleaned carefully from the front face with a damp cloth and soapy water. Oils, fats and solvents based stains are not expected to be removable.


A finshed wallcovering of superior cleanability from which dirt and most domestic water-based stains may be cleaned from the front face with a sponge or soft brush and a mild detergent or a mild abrasive. Oils, fats and certain solvent-based stains may also be removed if tackled immediately after contamination.

Good Light Fastness

This means that the wallpaper should retain its original colour for a considerable amount of time, but can't be guaranteed on any permanent basis. Has a minimum rating of 5 when tested in accordance with the EN233 lightfast testing procedure.

Moderate Light Fastness

This product may well fade or discolour in areas of direct sunlight and has a minimum rating of 3 when tested in accordance with the EN233 lightfast testing procedure.

Adhesive to wallcovering

Means that the adhesive should be applied to the reverse of the wallcovering before application to the wall.

Ready Pasted

Wallcovering already has a thin, dry layer of adhesive on the reverse of the paper. The paper would require submerging into a water trough, at the point of hanging, to activate the adhesive.

Paste the Wall

Adhesive should be applied to the surface that the wallcovering is being hung onto. E.g. the wall and the paper applied dry direct from the roll. Note: The paper can still be pasted and hung in the conventional way if desired.


A wallcovering whereby large strips may be manually removed, by pulling, whilst the paper is dry, completely removing it from the substrate (wall) it was attached to.

Wet Removeable

A wallcovering that would require wetting or steaming, or the use of a proprietary stripping agent, to reactivate the adhesive behind the paper before scraping off from the wall.


A wallcovering from which the printed decorative face can be manually removed, either as whole or in at least large pieces, whilst still dry. This would then leave a backing layer that could be easily soaked off. A PVC vinyl wallcovering is a good example of this.

Offset Match

This is sometimes called a Half Drop - the match is obtained by halving the repeat.

Straight Match

The pattern matches straight across the width.

Free Match

No matching required; lengths can be cut straight from the roll without wastage.

Reverse Hang

Mostly applicable to plain effects and necessary to minimise the risk of side to side shading.

Last Updated: 11-Sep-2019

Last Reviewed: 11-Sep-2019