Getting Ready for Wallpaper

In  my years of decorating I have hung plenty of wallpaper.

Out tiny original bathroom has pink and white wallpaper above the pink tile.
Out small original bathroom has pink and white wallpaper above the pink tile.

In my first house (The Glade is my second home) I hung a tiny print (it was the 80s) in an upstairs hall and down the stairwell.  I had to stand on a board between 2 ladders to reach the top of the walls which were angled on a diagonal, so tricky cutting and pasting. It was a project of much frustration but also great learning.

Our tiny powder room is papered with faux bookshelves.
Our tiny powder room is papered with faux bookshelves.

I have papered many rooms or parts of rooms over the past 40 years.

The dining room used to have this blue damask above the paneling.
The dining room used to have this blue damask above the paneling.

Since my dining room wallpaper is on order and should be arriving “in the next 7 to 14 days or sooner” (I’m not kidding, that was the time estimate) I started gathering all the tools and supplies I will need to do the job.

Revere Pewter on the dining room ceiling accents the white cornice molding. The adjoining living room walls are also Revere Pewter.
Revere Pewter on the dining room ceiling accents the white cornice molding. The adjoining living room walls are also Revere Pewter.

The dining room ceiling is painted and the cornice molding is also painted.

Part of the paneling have been fully painted with semi-gloss.
Parts of the paneling have been fully painted with semi-gloss.

Wallpaper is going only on the top third of the walls above the tongue-in-groove paneling.  All of the paneling has been primed and some of the paneling has been painted but I’ll wait to finish that job until after the wallpaper is up because no matter how neat I am there will always be drips.

The dining room (with the oval table) is open to all the other rooms.
The dining room (with the oval table) is open to all the other rooms.

Here are my supplies:

  • Clear wallpaper primer –  I bought this product at Lowes because Home Depot does not stock wallpaper products except for adhesive and remover. (Naturally I went to Home Depot first.)

    Wallpaper primer and paint brush
    Wallpaper primer and paint brush
  • Level – I have lots of levels and would normally use the longest one for wallpaper but this area has only a 3 foot height so a shorter level is in order.  A plumb bob can replace the level.

    Levels are important to check the straightness of the paper -- don't rely on your eye.
    Levels are important to check the straightness of the paper — don’t rely on your eye.
  • Straight edge – I have different length T-squares but for wallpaper I plan to use a framing square as my straight edge.
  • Taping knife and lots of sharp razor blades – I know from experience that a dull blade will tear the paper.  This is not an area to skimp on.  I also keep sharp scissor handy for cutting the paper to size and tricky trimming situations.

    I have a good supply of cutting tools.
    I have a good supply of cutting tools.
  • Tape measure and ruler – I like to have handy the most convenient tools for the job so I round up a tape measure, a yardstick, and a ruler.  Couldn’t hurt.

    Basic measuring tools
    Basic measuring tools
  • Wall paper wetting tray – My paper is pre-pasted so I will wet it in a specially shaped tray and follow carefully the directions that come with the paper in terms of how long to soak it and how long to let it rest.

    This tray is 22
    This tray is 22″ wide, the paper 20-1/2″.
  • Paper smoothers and a seam roller – These 3 tools help to apply the paper so it sticks to the wall in all spots and has no air bubbles which will eventually lift the paper from the surface.

    Smoothing tools
    Smoothing tools
  • Bucket and sponge – These are used both for smoothing the paper onto the wall and clean-up. Lots of water changes assure that all the wallpaper adhesive is removed from the face of the paper.

    Wallpapering involves lots of water.
    Wallpapering involves lots of water.

Today I’m priming the walls with the wallpaper primer/sizing.  This will help the paper to be positioned easily onto the wall during application and stick better after it dries.

Have you looked at new wallpaper designs lately?

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Author: Jo

Welcome to The Glade, where the second generation of renovations has just begun and the mania about our home, music and other passions fill our days and nights. We’re Charlie and Jo in the music world; Mary Jo and Charles to family; and JoJo and Charlie to each other. We are renovating a midcentury house in a Victorian historic district where we want to live there the rest of our lives. It's a 1946 house located in Maryland. We were married in this house. Thus far (pre-blog) we refinished cabinets, added a window seat (still working on the cushion), rearranged a wall in the guest house due to sink/vanity replacement, planted a vegetable garden, and other quick and not-so-quick fixes. So this latest zeal for construction is the result of my having lived here since 1997 and feeling a need to ready the house for the next chapter and beyond.

11 thoughts on “Getting Ready for Wallpaper”

  1. Yes, in fact. We just stripped off the 80s wallpaper in our house last year (chronicled on the blog. Wallpaper is so big here). But now I’d like to put some back, maybe in the entryway or powder room.

  2. I remember my parents wallpapering our house when I was young. That memory has prevented me from ever trying wallpaper. It seems like such a messy and precise and therefore frustrating job. Sounds like you’re a pro, though. I look forward to seeing the finished product…in 7 to 14 days or less!

  3. You have a beautifully designed floor plan – it looks really open and fluid. I’m planning on using wallpaper in my study to go behind what should become an open backed bookcase. I’ve seen this really crazy cow wallpaper design in black and white with splashes of pink but it’s shockingly expensive!!!

  4. I appreciate how hard wallpapering is, especially around tricky trim, like in my dining room. Whatever color I choose to repaint my living room, it has to go with the dining room paper, because I WON’T be redoing it in my lifetime!! 🙂

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