AbstractA crucial problem for laminate producers is the dimensional instability of decorative papers during soaking in aqueous solutions, but the source of this dilemma is not completely understood yet. In this study, eight commercial decorative papers of similar fiber composition and sizing were analyzed for their structural, physical, and mechanical properties. These properties were examined for their correlations to the dimensional stability of papers when moistened, as assessed by the wet stretch dynamics. Structure-to-property relationships were evaluated by principal component analysis (PCA). Within the set of parameters examined, PCA revealed that fiber orientation and the content of fillers/pigments influenced the wet expansion of paper web and affected its margins and dimensions in longitudinal and transverse directions of the paper machine. These variables are discussed within the context of decorative paper engineering in order to produce high performance papers with regular wet expansion properties.