People get pretty divided about wallpaper. I've seen responses ranging from squeals and dreamy sighs to dry heaving and eye twitches. Personally, I fall into the high-knee-happy-dance crowd when it comes to wallpaper. I think it's the bomb-diggity, and I've not hesitated to use it in my home. With that said, I've never wallpapered an entire room -- in fact, I've never even wallpapered an entire wall. Wallpaper is so much more than simply a wall-covering.
So, let's talk about the dark side of wallpaper for a moment: removal. Once upon a time, I helped my mother-in-law remove wallpaper as part of a bathroom makeover. Fast forward a few years. My husband sweet-talked our then-landlord into letting us remove this horrid pink and teal butterfly / floral wallpaper that was slathered all over the only full bathroom in the condo we were renting at the time. It seriously looked like Lisa Frank vomited her entire sticker collection all over the walls. You'd think after those two experiences that I'd come to my senses and realize that wallpaper is not worth the trouble. Yet, here I am, still a fan. Wallpaper has come a long way in terms of ease of removal, so my fingers are crossed I have no issues when or if I decide to remove my wallpaper installations. It's a versatile tool in my design toolbox, especially when you factor in the added benefits of wall liner. Wall liner is like spanx for super textured or rough walls -- it smooths out the lumps and bumps. You can buy wall liner in the wallpaper section of stores like Home Depot and Lowes, or you can buy it online. If you have orange-peel texture walls like I do, then wall liner is your friend! Wall liner is installed just like wallpaper, with the exception that it should be applied horizontally instead of vertically.
Here are six of my favorite wallpaper projects:
1. Bead Board Bookshelves in the Nursery
Wallpaper isn't all stripes and damasks. Paintable wallpaper is wonderfully versatile and an excellent way to add texture and interest to a room. In my son's nursery, I DIY-ed a built-in window seat, flanked by bookshelves. To give the bookshelves more of a custom look, I lined the back of the bookshelves with beadboard wallpaper (available at most major hardware stores...I bought mine at Lowe's). This look doesn't require any special tools -- you probably already have almost everything you need (scissors, a sharp knife, water, and a wide wallpaper brush to smooth out the air pockets) -- and is much easier to install than real beadboard. Click here for more details.
2. Faux Board and Batten in the Master Bedroom
Adding board and batten is a dramatic way to freshen and brighten a room. But, it can be a pretty big undertaking for the weekend DIY-er, like myself. My walls have a pronounced orange peel texture, so omitting the "board" element was not an option for me. To save myself some heartache (and avoid having to buy/rent new tools), I applied wall liner to my walls to serve as the "board" element, and simply installed the batten on top. The result was slick, smooth walls that saved me both time and money. Click here or here for more details.
3. Framed Wallpaper in the Dining Room
Got a giant wall and don't know what to do with it? Yeah, so did I. I wanted to make a statement in my dining room, since it's the first thing you see when entering my home. But, the options for wall art / décor seemed so expensive and nothing really jumped out at me as being "right" for the room. Instead, for the price of some chunky door casing, wall liner, and wallpaper, I created my own art. I installed the moulding first, and then added the wall liner and wallpaper. Wall liner was necessary, again, because my walls are super textured. By applying the wall liner first, my decorative wallpaper didn't show any of the underlying lumps and bumps. Click here for more details.
4. Using Chalkboard Paint on Textured Walls
Chalkboard paint is all over Pinterest these days, but has anybody ever tried using chalkboard paint on textured walls and then tried writing on said wall? Ahem, I have. It ain't pretty. Wall liner to the rescue! I added wall liner to the floating chalkboards I created in my home office, and then simply painted over the wall liner with chalkboard paint. The result? A smooth chalkboard surface, perfect for jotting down quick notes. Click here for more details.
5. Vintage Glam Bookshelves
I know we already talked about lining bookshelves with wallpaper, but my latest project showcases a method that's a little more in-your-face. The beadboard wallpaper we discussed earlier was subtle. The blue and shimmery gold damask wallpaper? Not so much. But once you add books and style your shelves, the end result is delicious.
6. Faux Mosaic Tile
A roll of faux tile wallpaper will set you back about $13, but used sparingly and strategically, it can have a million-dollar effect (ok, maybe more like a couple thousand dollars). Make sure you caulk around the edges of the wall afterwards, as well as in between the seams of the wallpaper -- this will make your tile wallpaper job look polished, seamless, and real. It also creates a tight seal, so that moisture can't lift the wallpaper or cause mold issues underneath. Click here for more details.
Are you pro-wallpaper or anti-wallpaper? How have you used wallpaper creatively?