If you grew up in the 90s, then most likely wallpaper resided on at least one wall in your home. If you lived in MY house in the 90s, then wallpaper was EVERYWHERE! I’m not kidding. I don’t think my mom had more than one or two walls left untouched. She swears it was trendy, but I think she may have been known as the crazy wallpaper lady — a name I am starting to take on myself!
When we moved into our new home I knew I wanted wallpaper in at least one room. One room quickly turned into 3 and is about to be in a 4th! Andrew says we have to be done after this, but I say there’s always room for more! And if not in my house, then at least in someone else’s!
A few months ago my friend Rachel and I descended upon our friend’s home and helped her paper a wall in her dining room. The result was amazing! It totally changed an ordinary wall into a big statement. It took 4 hours, a bucket of paste, and me risking my life by standing on a ladder on top of a table, but hey, what makes life worth living if not a little risk?
My friends at Brewster Home Fashions graciously contributed this beautiful paper for the dining room and now they are extending you, my readers, a special 30% off promo code to use when you order wallpaper for you own home — which you are really going to want to do once you read how easy it is to do yourself. All you have to do is enter “UrbanAcres” at checkout for 30% off!
Now before we get into the knitty gritty of how to actually hang the paper, here are a few FAQs you might find helpful.
Q. Where do I buy wallpaper?
A. I can’t recommend Brewster Home Fashions enough. They have a HUGE online selection and their samples are really cheap! I have wallpapered 3 rooms in my home with their paper and I have zero complaints. Take a day or two to scour their site and find a few samples. Remember, you can use the promo code “UrbanAcres” for 30% off!
Q. How do I choose a pattern?
A. What a wonderful question! I wrote a post on that exact topic — read about it here!
Q. How much wallpaper will I need?
A. Brewster Home Fashions has a handy dandy wallpaper calculator you can use to find out how much you need. You will need to know all the dimensions of your room, and I always err on the side of more paper than less so I don’t have to reorder. When in doubt, ask a wallpaper pro from Brewster!
Q. Where do I purchase wallpaper supplies?
A. Amazon is always a great option, but for something local try Lowe’s! They have a larger selection of wallpaper supplies than Home Depot does, but HD does carry the adhesive.
Q. Do I really have to take down old paper?
A. YES!! For the love of goodness, don’t wallpaper over old wallpaper. For one, new wallpaper will have a hard time adhering to old wallpaper. Secondly, when someone else buys your home and decides to take the wallpaper down, you do not want them cursing your name for creating so many layers of wallpaper! Don’t be THAT person!
Q. How long will it take to wallpaper a room?
A. I spent about 15 hours working on my room, but I broke it up into a few days. Depending on the size of your room, you may be able to get it done quicker. A safe assumption is that wallpapering will take you the weekend to complete.
If you are a visual learner as I am, watch a few videos on Youtube about how to paper! Here are a few I found especially helpful.
Here’s what you need:
• Wallpaper Paste (can be purchased at Home Depot or Lowe’s)
• Pasting Brush
• Paint Tray
• Wallpaper Smoothing Tool
• Box Knife
• Plastic Drop Cloth
• 5 Gallon Bucket of Water
• Tile Sponge
• 8ft Table
• Step Ladder
- Prep the Space: Start by covering your work area with plastic wrap. This includes the area you plan to paper, under your table, and anywhere that you may be walking while you work. Wallpaper paste is messy, so save yourself some time by laying down a liberal amount of plastic. Pour some paste into the paint tray, and make sure your 5 gallon bucket is full of water.
- Make the Level Line: Starting in a corner, measure out the width of your paper then use a level to draw a straight line from the ceiling to the baseboard. Take the time to get this line perfectly level, otherwise your pattern will start to lean as you work. Corners are not always square, so we’ll match our paper to this line and not to the corner of the wall.
- Measure the First Strip: Use a ladder to measure your first roll of paper to the length of the wall, plus a few inches at the top and bottom. Lay your paper pattern side down on your table. Use paperweights to keep it from rolling back up.
- Paste the Strip: Use the paste brush to add a very thorough layer of paste. Really brush it on thick, especially at the corners and edges. Once the entire sheet has been coated with paste, book the paper. This is where you take both ends and fold them up to meet in the middle. Let your paper rest for at least 1min. The benefit of booking first is that it will keep your paper from shrinking as it dries. If there’s anything we’ve learned from Seinfeld it’s that we don’t want shrinkage.
- Attach the Strip: Once your paper has rested, unfold the top portion and press it to the wall, making sure to line it up with the level line. Use your smoothing tool to press it into place, and smooth out any air bubbles. Once you have the top portion on well, unfold the bottom and do the same. Wallpaper is more like fabric than paper, so it’s easy to manipulate. You can stretch it by smoothing in the same direction, so if you find that your lines aren’t meeting up, just keep smoothing! Paste will most likely ooze out the sides of your paper and this is totally normal! Use your smoother to pick it up and put it back in the paint tray. *Pro Tip: Feel free to take paper that you’ve already pressed on the wall, off the wall if you need to realign things! You can always add more paste, and wallpaper is very easy to manipulate while it’s still wet. Don’t feel rushed, you have plenty of time!
- Trim Excess: Once your paper is in its final resting place, use the smoothing tool edge and the box knife to trim away the excess at the top and bottom.
- Clean the Wall: Use your tile sponge wipe off the wall. It’s ok if the paper gets wet, you really want to get any excess paste off the paper, the trim, and don’t forget to check the ceiling for rogue paste! Here’s also where you can check to make sure all your edges are down. If a loose edge starts to peel up, just add a little more paste and smooth!
- Repeat: We’ll repeat these steps with the next row of paper. Match up the pattern and cut it down to size, then repeat.
For spaces with windows, you repeat the same steps and use a box knife or scissors to cut around the shapes. When in doubt, draw a new level line to make sure you are on track! The first strip is the hardest (and so it the first cut), but once it’s on straight it’s smooth sailing! No go forth and wallpaper your homes my friends!
All photos provided by my incredibly talented friend Rachel Andersen!