Like a habit we can’t kick, every time we walk past the guest room, we have to open the door and stare at the wallpaper. It’s just so pretty! And shiny!
We only wanted to do one accent wall, as it was a way for us to create a zone for seating, a small light and perhaps a tiny table. This isn’t the first time we’ve done wallpaper in one of our homes, but it was the first time we’ve hung it using a traditional pasting method (our first foray came pre-pasted). We were a little nervous before jumping in, and although there’s always a bit of panic when the first strip goes up, it’s really not bad at all – in fact, let’s wallpaper everything! (Okay, maybe not everything. But most things?)
Keeping with a traveled, city-esque theme – this’ll be a cozy crash pad for out-of-towners, after all! – we picked up a roll of Cities Toile from Hygge & West. The quality is outstanding (bonus: it’s screen printed in Chicago!), and we still cannot get over how perfectly gold the metallics are, how smooth and matte the black runs and, well, we just love it!
WHAT WE USED:
Paint roller + tray
Wallcovering paste (1 quart per roll)
Bucket of water
Wide putty knife
Knife with new blade
WHAT WE DID. We did prep the walls first with a wallpaper specific primer, which claims to block mildew and allow for easy removal down the road – if and when. The room was cleared as a place to stage our paper, and after going over a tutorial from This Old House and the FAQs from Hygge & West, we felt ready to dive in!
ONE) After cutting a strip that was about 6″ longer than the length of our wall, we used a paint roller to apply the paste, making sure to get the edges, top and bottom. TWO) With the paste applied evenly, we booked the paper together and allowed it to relax for 5 minutes. It was time to put up the first strip!
THREE) We brought the paper up to the top left corner, and I used a paper smoother starting at the top and middle, while slowly and (very, very) carefully pushing out towards the sides to release air pockets. Scott helped by guiding the bulk of the paper down with me, and FOUR) we followed that up with a sponge and fresh water to wipe away excess paste. As air bubbles reappeared (because that will happen), I used the smoothing tool again and again until we were in the clear.
FIVE) Using the putty knife as my guide, I cut along the top, sides and baseboard to cut off the excess paper. As much research as I did beforehand, I couldn’t quite figure out if it was best to do this at the very end or strip-by-strip, but we opted for strip-by-strip. It made things much easier to move on to the next one!
Some takeaways that we experienced:
- A damp sponge will do you better than one that’s been completely soaked, as we found that if our sponge was too wet, air pockets will begin their takeover. But if you get a small bubble or two? Don’t sweat it! The paper always looks much better dry than wet, and some of the tinier pockets will even fade away.
- For lining up your seams: The wallpaper primer helps to buy you more time, and the paper does give a little stretch to help you pull those seams together. (Just no overlapping!)
- Whether you’re laying your wallpaper on a floor or table to paste, remember to wipe the excess paste from your floor (or table) before measuring, cutting and pasting the next strip.
- And if you royally screw up? Peel that paper back and start again from the top. You have time to smooth the paper once it goes up, so move at a pace that’s slow enough for your nerves, but efficient, too.
We completed our accent wall in about an hour and a half start to finish, but of course I realize that we were completing a simple square, with no need to go around corners, doors or windows. We did, however, have an electrical outlet installed before starting (there was only one outlet in the room prior!), so we needed to cut that out.
Speaking of which, we never in our lives thought we’d on purpose buy a black outlet and plate, but here we are:
This paper is so good! The black and gold is so stunning in person, and just like our dining room light, I feel as though photos can never do it justice. It doesn’t help that the room is empty – or that we haven’t yet completed our big headboard to balance out this wall – but the paper, while dark, feels so fun and fresh.
The thermostat wire has been tucked up alongside the closet, but it – along with the gas line – will be completely hidden once we add curtain panels. That is, after we add proper shelving and storage.
We only wish that a Sears Tower would’ve been added to the tally of cities (can you pick them all out?), but it’s such a dramatic-yet-light-hearted touch to the room our friends and family will be staying in! Up next? Headboard. Closet. Window shades and shelving and a rug and bed linens and art (and, and)!