Wallpaper is THE best way to transform a space, and guess what – it’s not permanent! Sure, it can get expensive (depending on how big your wall is and what kind of wallpaper you get), but it’s the ‘wow factor’ you’re paying for that paint often times can’t give you.
After living in my home for 11 months, I am about 70% done decorating; the main living ‘public’ spaces are mostly complete – now it’s on to the bedrooms. I live in a very modern home – white walls, concrete floors, clean lines, the whole shebang. My husband loves the clean modern ‘minimalist’ look – while I appreciate that, I need to add a hint of style and charm! This is where the wallpaper comes in. My husband is scared of wallpaper, or anything that might be “too permanent”. We compromised that if I can put wallpaper as a feature wall behind our headboard in our bedroom he can choose the piece of art that will go in our living room (we have very different tastes in art, so this compromise was a LONG time coming). Here’s a look at what we ACTUALLY anded up doing in our living room….. *insert monkey covering his mouth emoji here*.
Now that wallpaper was on the radar, choosing the right one was also a long time coming. I probably considered eight different ones, all beautiful and leafy, some more bold and tropical than others. When I saw my wallpaper I knew it was the one – and guess what!! Marc loved it too!! I bought it on Etsy from Anett Weelink Design. Anett is LOVELY. She made ordering wallpaper super easy because I didn’t have to do the hard part….math… and calculate how many rolls I would need to fit my wall. She actually customized my wallpaper to the size of my wall, so gave me just what I needed.
If you have found ‘the one’ but want to save on the installation costs, putting up wallpaper yourself is super easy and a fraction of the cost! Here’s the catch, you will need a friend to help install it.
Here’s what you’ll need: Wallpaper, wallpaper glue*, 2 scrapers, 1 paint brush, 1 roller, 1 paint tray, X-ACTO knife, ladder, screwdriver (for outlets), a tape measure and a friend.
*I went to Benjamin Moore to pick up my supplies. Why didn’t I go to a hardware store like Home Depot? That’s a good question. I did, but you might be surprised to learn Home Depot doesn’t actually carry wallpaper supplies anymore!! I. KNOW. Regardless of where you go, be sure you get the proper glue for the kind of wallpaper you have. My wallpaper is vinyl with paper backing so the lovely employee at Benjamin Moore helped me pick out the right adhesive.
Total completion time: 2 Hours*
*Disclaimer: Elysia is now a self-taught pro when it comes to installing wallpaper so this didn’t take as long as it would for beginners. I would tack on another 45 minutes to be safe.
Step 1: Lay your wallpaper out on the floor. This will ensure the edge of each roll matches up with the other so you get a seamless look. Using your measuring tape, measure the paper on the floor to make sure you have enough for your wall.
Step 2: Mock up your wall with one roll. Choose what end of the wall you will start on. Once that’s decided apply one roll of paper to the dry wall butting the edge of the paper up to the roof and corner of the wall. DO NOT APPLY GLUE YET. This Step is to simply figure out how you will configure your rolls so they are straight. Tip: more times than not, a ceiling is not perfectly straight (argh annoying, we know), which will result in your wallpaper being installed slightly crooked. You might notice this in step 4 when you scrape the paper towards the corner, there might be more excess at the bottom of the wall than the top. In our experience, that’s not a huge deal and you can jimmy it with the following rolls – it’s more important that the paper is perfectly butted against the ceiling so there are no awkward gaps. “But I’m a perfectionist!” It’s okay, so are we. If your paper is slightly ‘off’ you will not be able to tell once the rest of the paper is installed. Why are we telling you this? So you’re mentally prepared for this ‘conundrum’.
Step 3: Apply your glue. Now that you know how your wallpaper is going to sit, use your ladder to reach the top of your wall and corner. Tip: only paint within the width of your first paper roll and down a couple feet at a time – don’t apply glue to the full height of your wall. If you apply too much, the glue will dry before you have the chance to install the paper. Apply the glue on the wall with your roller, using your paint brush to get close to the ceiling and wall’s edge. Tip: you don’t need to get glue right to edge as the glue will be pushed around and out the edges when you apply the paper with your scraper.
Step 4: It’s paper time! Once your glue is applied and ready, it’s time to actually install the paper. Repeat step 2 – but this time, it’s go time. Butt the edge of the paper to the ceiling and wall’s edge. One person should be on the ladder configuring the paper, while the other should be holding the roll. Slowly unroll the paper while the other person smooths it out with their hand. Once you reach the end of your glue (about 2-3 feet down the wall) use your scraper to press the paper on the wall and get ride of any glue and air bubbles. Start from the top centre and scrape outwards so the glue ‘oozes’ out of the paper’s edges while you work your way down. Wipe the excess glue. Repeat step 3 until the first roll of paper is fully installed.
Step 5: It’s cutting time. Cut along the baseboards and corner using your XACTO knife and scraper. Carefully cut the excess paper so there’s a nice clean line. If you papered over an outlet now’s the time to cut around it. Once the excess paper is removed use your scraper to scrape more glue outwards to really stick the edges down.
Step 6: Repeat step 2-5 until you’re finished! When you are on step 2 and everything is lining up perfectly, go ahead with step 3! If you are noticing the paper isn’t quite sitting right because of that darn ceiling, try to jimmy it. We had this problem while installing my paper. What we did was slightly overlapped the top of roll two over roll one, so the rolls matched up perfectly the closer we got to the bottom. If you do this be sure the seam has lots of glue on it as paper doesn’t like to stick to paper as well as it likes to stick to walls.
Step 7: Have a thorough look at your wall. If you notice any bubbles now is your chance to get rid of them.
Step 8: The next day wipe any dried excess glue off your walls and newly papered wall with a warm damp towel. Don’t worry your wallpaper should be hardy enough to withstand this step.
Step 9: Admire your work!!
Putting up wallpaper really is simple. Though it can be time consuming and a bit tedious it really is worth the time and effort! Like I said earlier, it is the easiest way to transform a space!
Good luck! (not like you’ll need it. You got this!)
Until my next post, Jessica ❤