From My Recent “While-You-Were-Out” Surprise
My Dad taught me how to wallpaper. He was a patient teacher. As an engineer he was very precise, and he taught me wallpapering with this in mind. He wallpapered for relaxation. I’d like to say that I find it relaxing, but that could not be further from the truth. When Dad gave me the lessons, the popular peel-and-stick wallpaper hadn’t even made its debut. We used paste and brushes and a wallpaper table. The paper was delicate and often difficult to work with. Today, peel-and-stick is probably the most popular type of wallpaper around. Almost anyone can do it with very little experience and very few tools. It helps, however, to know the best wallpapering tips before you start.
I recently tried my hand at this peel-and-stick variety. I wallpapered our downstairs bathroom as a surprise for Bruce. The skills Dad taught me were there. But peel-and-stick is a different animal. There was some pretty decent frustration, but I learned a lot in the process. I am sharing here are my best wallpapering tips from my weekend in our half bath.
1. Best Wallpapering Tip: Buy More Than You Need
Measuring wallpaper is fairly straightforward: Height of walls times length of walls gives you total area you will need to cover. You will need to subtract for windows and doors and fixed objects like radiators and cupboards. You will need to add for the pattern repeat. If you’re ordering from a store, they will help you with all of this. If you are ordering your paper online, you can use this Easy Wallpaper Calculator by Decorators Best. However many rolls of paper you need, based on your calculations, I suggest ordering one to two additional rolls to cover mistakes, rips and re-do’s. I calculated that I needed four rolls for two walls of my bathroom. I ended up using five. Over-ordering saved the day.
2. Try The Paper AND Check The Return Policy BEFORE You Buy
If you are buying wallpaper from a store, ask if they offer samples or if you can buy samples. Many shops no longer loan out their wallpaper books. You can not get a good sense of what the paper will look like in your home by looking at in in the store. They have different lighting, wall color, etc. You want to see it in your space. Also, it’s important to understand what the return policy is for wallpaper you are ordering. This is one of the best wallpapering tips I learned this time around. Most shops have a 35-40% re-stocking fee, so returning unused rolls comes with a price. If you order online from a retailer like Amazon, however, you can return any unused rolls, as long as you do it in a timely manner. This makes over-ordering for safety’s sake a lot less painful.
3. Prep Your Walls First: It’s A Best Wallpapering Tip
They say that proper preparation before painting walls makes all the difference. This is also true for wallpapering. BEFORE you start putting up the first strip you will want to:
- Wash your walls.
- Paint trim and ceiling.
- Fill all holes and cracks.
This will give you the smoothest surface, the best adherence and the best result.
4. Measure Twice Cut Once
Even if your house is relatively new, it does not mean that all your walls are square. You will want to drop a plumb line from ceiling to floor to give you a straight starting point. Every sheet after the plumb line will be straight because of it but you will still want to “measure twice and cut once” in order to get the paper lined up properly and used the least amount of it.
5. Be Patient. It’s The BEST Wallpapering Tip
I had never worked with peel-and-stick before but I had wallpapered a half-a-dozen times. I set a ridiculously short timeframe for myself (Bruce was away for only the weekend) but I thought this would be no problem. The pattern, however, gave me fits. The rolls each started at a different point, so there was that waste too. And peel-and-stick can’t be moved around on the wall in quite the same way as pasted paper. I started out and then quickly got frustrated. What I needed was to be more patient with myself. I slowed down, realized it would be OK if I didn’t finish before he returned and things went better.
And I did finish on time. Whenever you’re attempting something new, it’s important to give yourself a little grace. It’s not always going to be perfect, but it’s still going to be great! And the net-net for me was that Bruce was thrilled and the bathroom looks great. Hope you’ll have the same level of success using these tips. Good luck!
For more on wallpaper, check out my previous blog: 2022 Hot Trend: Wallpaper.