DIY

Adding Whimsy With Wallpaper

DIY Wallpaper

Add a touch of whimsy to a child’s bedroom or a bold print to your powder room — make the space yours simply by adding wallpaper.

By Trisha Stibbe & Kirsten Waverek
Photos by Trisha Stibbe, Kirsten Waverek & Hillary Ehlen

Wallpaper is back in a big way. Many of us have memories of outdated wallpaper in our grandparents’ homes, but the modern prints being used today are anything but out of style. Add a touch of whimsy to a child’s bedroom or a bold print to your powder room — make the space yours simply by adding wallpaper. It offers more drama than paint and it’s a fun way to transform a room in a cost-effective way.

The reemergence of wallpaper was bound to happen in an era of Instagram and Pinterest. It is a relatively inexpensive way to dress up a builder-grade home and an easy DIY option. One of the most alluring aspects of wallpaper is that now it is easy to change or move down the road.

We love using wallpaper to bring personality into a space and because it is incredibly trendy right now, you should be able to find the exact print you envision for your space. Serena & Lily, Anthropologie, Hygge & West and Schumacher are some of our favorites. Local paint shops like Hirshfield’s and Sherwin Williams have dozens of books to choose from.

There are several things you should know when it comes to hanging your own wallpaper, but rest assured, you can do this as a DIY project.

Step 1
Gather your required tools. A few towels to cover your flooring, a sharp knife, plastic smoother, spray bottle and a scissors.

DIY Wallpaper

Step 2
Measure your walls and start cutting your strips. We recommend giving yourself a 4” allowance on both top and bottom.

DIY Wallpaper

Step 3
Match up your seams. The vertical repeat will vary with each wallpaper, but generally speaking, the larger the vertical print number, the more waste you will have.

DIY Wallpaper

Step 4
Spray your first strip with water (or submerge-follow manufacturer’s recommendation) and begin the booking process. Booking refers to letting the wallpaper sit while the glue activates. The wallpaper will still need to be sprayed several times while applying to the wall to ensure a smooth result and limiting the number of air bubbles.

DIY Wallpaper

DIY Wallpaper

Step 5
Apply your first strip and begin the smoothing process. Your plastic smoother will be your best friend in ensuring there are no air bubbles and the seams are flat to the wall.

DIY Wallpaper

DIY Wallpaper

Step 6
Once the wallpaper is completely smooth, grab your razor knife and trim away the excess.

DIY Wallpaper

Repeat until you have finished your wall!

DIY Wallpaper

Other important tips

Tip 1: Measure, measure again and then order extra just in case. When measuring your wall/room, it is imperative that you take into account the vertical repeat of your print (speaking from experience).

Tip 2: Ensure that your walls are as smooth as possible. Unless you have flat walls it is necessary to lightly sand the walls and then clean them with soap and water. Your wallpaper will adhere much easier and give your wallpaper a cleaner appearance.

Tip 3: Pre-cut all of your pieces so you can plan the seams on your wall.

If you’re not quite ready to commit to wallpaper that needs to be pasted to the wall and more than likely, eventually removed, there are some amazing removable options on the market. Finding a niche in this ever-growing trend are shops like B Darling, Rocky Mountain Wall Decals and Chasing Paper.

Companies are recognizing that consumers recycle through home goods and trends much quicker than 30 years ago. Everyone wants their home to feel special and unique and wallpaper is a perfect way to achieve that vision.

Trisha’s house (daughter Claire’s room)

Stagg Design Shop, Vivienne Floral Wallpaper

DIY Wallpaper
BEFORE
DIY Wallpaper
AFTER

Kirsten’s house (daughter Louisa’s room)

Anthropologie, Plumed Crest Wallpaper

DIY Wallpaper
BEFORE
DIY Wallpaper
AFTER

Kirsten’s house (powder bathroom)

Serena & Lily, Feather Wallpaper

DIY Wallpaper
BEFORE
DIY Wallpaper
AFTER

Kirsten’s house (laundry room)

Hygge & West, Daydream Wallpaper

DIY Wallpaper
BEFORE
DIY Wallpaper
AFTER

Tools Needed

  • Spray bottle or water tray
  • Tape Measure
  • Breakaway razor knife
  • Level
  • Plastic smoother
  • Sponge
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