Guide Hotel Wallpapers: Unique Designs meeting stringent building regulations

Guide Hotel Wallpapers: Unique Designs meeting stringent building regulations

The wall design options in hotels must fulfil particular requirements regarding building and legislation regulations, but also the design itself. When guests enters a room, they decide within seconds whether they are fascinated, enthusiastic or simply bored. With design wallpapers that comply with strict fire protection regulations and provide a healthy interior climate as well as - in a best case scenario - sound-absorbing qualities, guest rooms can offer an individual effect and an incomparable ambience which can be adapted to the style or theme of the entire hotel.

Our guide will help representatives of the hotel and hospitality industry as well as architects and interior designers make the right decisions for the appropriate choice of wallpaper for any project.

Wallpaper Requirements for the Hotel and Hospitality Industry

Hotels, hostels, B&Bs, motels, and youth hostels are places that many people frequent and as such they are subject to strict rules, regulations, and standards with regards to building materials and components that can be used in order to guarantee the safety of guests. As decorative elements, wallpapers are building materials that have to be in adherence with fire protection regulations. Further aspects determining the choice of suitable design wallpapers for the hotel and hospitality sector are acoustics, durability and cleaning. Let's take a closer look at the detailed requirements for hotel wallpapers:

1. Fire Protection

Fire protection has to be the topmost priority. As a result, wallpapers for the hotel industry must at least have the rating “fire-resistant” or “low flammability”. This needs to be verified by a certificate issued by the manufacturer. In terms of fire protection classification, “low inflammability” means that building materials are generally flammable but react in a self-extinguishing manner due to their general characteristics or a special surface treatment.

Legal stipulations, norms and requirements as well as building regulations and fire insurance specifications can vary from country to country, which is why all relevant specifications cannot be listed here. If you have any questions, please contact us at any time; we are more than happy to point you in the right direction.

In Germany, fire protection requirements for all areas with public access are stipulated in § 19 of the Model Building Code, the “Beherbergungsverordnung” (German regulations for the hospitality sector), and the federal-state-specific “Verordnungen für Versammlungsstätten” (regulations for places of assembly). Within these stipulations, wallpapers are listed as decorative materials and need to carry at least the certificate “low flammability” according to the German test standard DIN 4102-1 or the European test standard DIN EN 13501-1. The certificate has to be presented to the regulatory authorities upon request.

The German fire standard DIN 4102-1 differentiates between non-flammable and flammable building materials. Non-flammable building materials are under classification A, flammable building materials are under classification B. Flammable building materials are subdivided in:

  • B1 - low flammability
  • B2 - normal flammability
  • B3 - high flammability

Wallpapers for public areas that comply with fire protection requirements carry at least certificate B1.

The European norm DIN EN 13501-1 is scheduled to standardise the national norms of all the European Economic Area member states. There are seven fire protection classifications (Euroclasses): A1, A2, B, C, D, E, F.Furthermore, building materials are also checked for Smoke Emission (s) and dripping burning materials (d). The German classification B1 roughly corresponds to Euroclasses A2, B, and C.

Internationally, the following fire safety standards apply:

  • Austria: ÖNORM A 3800-1
  • France, Luxembourg, Belgium: NFP 92503 M1
  • Great Britain: BS 5852
  • USA: NFPA 701, CA 1237, California TB 116, 117, 133
  • Asia: e.g. F-13039


2. Durability/Hygiene

Guests always come first, and whatever they do behind closed doors during their stay remains their own business. The fact is that hotel rooms are busy places. Damage and dirt are inevitable consequences, as every hotel owner knows only too well. This is why design wallpapers which are both extremely durable and easy to clean are a fantastic solution. Cleaning characteristics are an important factor. The relevant categories are:

  • Water-resistant
  • Wash-resistant
  • Highly wash-resistant
  • Scrub-resistant

You can find more detailed information about the maintenance properties of wallpapers in our article Washable Wallpaper - a clean solution.

For both guests and hotel inspectors, fresh and clean wallpapers are a significant aspect of hygiene which should never be neglected. The chosen wallpaper needs to not only provide specific maintenance properties and a certain amount of durability, but - most importantly - it must comply with fire protection requirements. But not every design wallpaper meets all these requirements. As a result, it can sometimes be necessary to compromise when it comes to maintenance properties and durability. Instead, a new wallpaper will have to be applied if the old one shows signs of wear and tear or dirt - or when a room needs a fresh new look, as wallpaper trends tend to change almost as frequently as fashion does. The trick is to find a compromise that fulfils your design needs as well as fire protection requirements, whilst simultaneously ensuring that the wallpaper will maintain its look for as long as possible.


3. A healthy interior climate promotes well-being

Guests should feel comfortable and healthy, and decorative materials like wallpapers or flooring have an important part to play in the quest to achieve this. For this reason, it goes without saying that we only add selected wallpapers that are free of contaminants and environmentally friendly to our product range. To date, exact information regarding the raw materials used isn't usually given on wallpaper labelling, which is why you should consult an experienced wallpaper specialist when it comes to this specific criterion.

4. Acoustics/Noise Absorption

In hospitality businesses and hotels, the walls really shouldn't have ears. This is an important element of wall construction and insulation. Choosing the right wallpaper can provide another layer of privacy. The wallpaper surface is an important aspect to consider in this context. The smoother the wallpaper, the less pronounced its noise-absorbing properties. A relief-type pattern or other elevations in the wallpaper also improve the acoustics in a room. In upscale hotels, textile wallpapers have always been used to achieve acoustic improvements: the air that is trapped between the textile fibres creates the best possible effect. Unfortunately, this type of wallpaper is notoriously difficult to clean.


So-called Contract Wallpapers for public areas

“Contract Wallpapers” are special types of wall décor for areas and facilities which many people frequent (“public traffic”), for instance hotels, and they need to meet stringent requirements and norms. They frequently consist of heavy vinyl, but the design is often not the priority, and the colours and patterns of the wallpapers are plain or subtle. Of course, this means that the design options for individual rooms - which should represent the flair of the house - are quite limited. Hotel owners increasingly want design wallpapers with striking designs and clever textures as well as patterns that invite the beholder to relax and dream and feel completely comfortable. They want contemporary designs that reflect current trends or create unique hotel experiences, based on their own design themes. As a result, conventional object wallpapers are less and less relevant.

Wallpaper from the 70s” is the go-to place for hotels, hostels and other hospitality establishments that are after exceptional wallpapers. We do not offer pure contract wallpapers - however, many of our designer wallpapers are suitable for use in areas with public traffic and comply with strict fire protection specifications. Imagination inspires the mind, and a beautiful room will have a lasting impression on your guests. Materials, structures, colours, patterns and motifs as varied as the concept of joie de vivre open the door to design options which stand out and provide a talking point for guests as well as leading to repeat and word-of-mouth business.

How to combine technical and design requirements

The facts: Flame-retardant properties and the required certificates are requisite for wallpapers used in the hotel and hospitality industry. When choosing a wallpaper, please remember to peruse the product description, which contains all relevant information about the specific model, e.g. with regards to inflammability and durability. The term "low flammability" refers to the material and does not automatically imply the availability of a certificate. Each wallpaper manufacturer decides individually whether to go through the expensive test procedure for the certification. Wallpapers are frequently used in private households, where certificates regarding flammability properties aren't necessary, and manufacturers can thus avoid the effort and cost. This is of course also reflected in the price of a wallpaper.

We would be more than happy to discuss the certification status of your favourite wallpaper with you - just get in touch with us. We can also answer all your other questions and support your architects, designers and interior designers with regards to individual designs for hotel rooms of any kind. Have a leisurely browse and enjoy the huge variety of our wall décor ideas. Together, we will find solutions that will both comply with fire protection standards as well as meet your very own design requirements.