The narrator describes the room with some precision, particularly the wallpaper which gives the story its name. The room is described as large and airy, and the narrator speculates that it has previously been used as a nursery, playroom, and gymnasium since "the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls." These details suggest a prison just as much as a nursery or a gymnasium, and it quickly becomes clear that the narrator's husband has shut her up in what is essentially a large but dilapidated cell. The narrator describes her husband as well intentioned, but she is insane by the end of the story and unreliable from the very beginning.
Apart from being a prison, the room is in a state of disrepair. The wallpaper, quite apart from its bilious color, is grimy and a faded. Patches of it have been stripped off the walls, though it is not quite clear whether the narrator did this herself. She ends her description of the wallpaper by remarking:
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