Updated: Jan 10, 2022
So, like a lot of the country, Covid came to our house just in time for Christmas break. Since everyone was feeling pretty ok, we took the quarantine time to install some wallpaper I'd picked up a few weeks ago in our powder room. This was the first time either of us had ever even thought about installing wallpaper on our own but, man-o-man, did it turn out awesome! Check out the journey!!
We had just painted our kitchen this greenish gray color so I was looking for something that would play off of that because this powder room is adjacent. I also new I wanted something super fun and funky. I went directly to Spoonflower since they, easily, have the largest selection of totally out-there, peel and stick wallcoverings I have ever seen. I browsed a few pages and ordered some samples of the things I liked. As you can see, I was going for it!!
Note: Spoonflower has Non-Pasted Traditional Pebble, Peel and Stick Removable Woven and Pre-pasted Removable Smooth wallpaper options. We went with the Peel and Stick Woven.
I loved the way it "sort-of" matched the green in the Kitchen so I went ahead and measured the powder room to see how many panels we needed, adding a few extras just incase we totally screwed one up. The rolls arrived in the mail in about two weeks. I was stoked and immediately went onto Amazon to purchase wallpaper installer stuff....because if I had that little smoother paddle thing, I was a pro! Or at least I felt like one!
We also decided that we were going to paint the ceiling in the powder room the same color as our Kitchen to connect the two spaces just a little more. I did that first since I wouldn't have to worry about cutting the corners in because the wallpaper would cover my mess. With the ceiling painted, we went back and fourth a little about the trim. My vision was to paint it, along with the backside of the door, matte black and honestly, those moments spent convincing Mr that it was the right move, were the best spent moments of this whole project because that black trim really makes the space special.
With the painting done, a little coffee powered motivation and a lot of patience we got started, You guys....let me just start by saying that this was far, far more difficult than I had anticipated and I have a new found resect for anyone who has ever installed a yard of wallpaper for me - you are true artists!! I've seen paper go up too many times to count. I've worked with installers that hid seams so well you'd swear there weren't any. We are not those people. I guess I didn't think about matching up every one of those tiny lines on such a complex pattern and while this was worth the struggle, I think next time I'll go with something a little less patterny.
The first panel went up and thank god this material is forgiving because we had it down and then had to pull it off about a million and one times. We finally got it up and I jacked up the whole bottom with overzealous trimming which I fixed the best I could. At least that spot is behind the door. Same with the spot beside the toilet and the spot behind the sink. The best things about these locations are that they are HIDDEN!!
It took a few days - I would say we got 3 or 4 panels up per day. It probably would've gone faster without so much trim to cut around or if we'd gone with a paper with a lesser pattern or maybe if we hadn't broken out desperation cocktails that first night but we persisted on and slowly the space started to come together...UNTIL...
If each one of the panels we'd used had been a inch wider, we would've had a perfect fit but we got stuck with this 10" wide strip to cover, in a corner no less!! A full panel would've looked ridiculous so I measured out the area, added a few inches for waste, trimmed that puppy down, put her up and wha-lah!! Done!!
To top off our new powder room, we picked up a new light fixture which hasn't arrived yet.
And a new mirror which I cant wait to hang!
Honestly, I'm just SO pleased with how this turned out. It wasn't easy but anything that's worth it, wont be!
So what did I learn?
ORDER SAMPLES!! Don't look at something online when you can get physical samples to see in your home. Variations on your monitor and lighting in your house can totally change the way something looks.
The ceiling, trim and corners of your space are slightly askew. Nothing in your house is perfectly straight but the pattern on the paper is probably close. To combat that, next time I would start with the top of each panel overlapping the ceiling a bit to compensate so I have a better chance at keeping the pattern match throughout.
Call a friend for help...a tall friend. You'll think you can do this yourself and maybe you can but a little help never hurt.
When smoothing out wallpaper with your handy paddle smother tool, use a gentle touch! Too hard and any bubbles will quickly become creases or you run the risk of removing the ink from the paper, leaving white spots. Work the paper with your hands so that you feel any lumps or bumps before smoothing anything to firmly too the wall. Since my paper has a black ground, a good ol' Sharpie marker came in very handy and I was able to touch up a lot of the areas where we had trouble!
Know when to walk away for a moment. This is a marathon, not a sprint and you WILL get to the point when you just want to rip it all down and give up. That's your cue to walk away and pour yourself a desperation cocktail! Trust me on this!
I talk a lot about the pattern match on this paper being super difficult to keep up but the truth is, all that patterning hides so many of our mistakes!!
Speaking of pattern matching: Peel off a few inches of the peel and stick backing along the side of the panel you are installing so that you can try to match the pattern up to the installed piece. With the backing being sticky, you'll be able to affix the panel where it needs to be and then work outward!
Let go of the idea of The Perfect Installation. There is a reason folks get paid (WELL!) to do this. It's a skill that's acquired over time with lots of practice and, I'm sure, lots of mistakes. Do your best and it'll turn out great! Besides, you can always hang some art over the really bad spots!
Start to the right of the door and work around the room so that small, cut panels will be BEHIND the door instead of a super visible place like mine!
The corners of a room will try to break you but you are strong and determined. Keep repeating that!! Use your smoother tool to make sure you get into those corners really tight before you smooth the paper to the wall. If you don't, the whole panel will eventually pull away from the wall.
Buy lots and lots of blades for your Xacto and use a new one for each cut. You need that blade to be as sharp as possible to get good, clean cuts when trimming the paper!
So would I do this again? ABSOLUTLEY!! Listen, if we can do this, you can do this!! And as always, if you need help picking a pattern or have any questions about how we installed this peel and stick wallpaper, shoot me an email and lets chat about it!
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