Our new skill: putting up wallpaper | How About Orange

November 25, 2013

Our new skill: putting up wallpaper


I heard through the grapevine that the previous owners of our 1899 house spent ages removing wallpaper (though they didn't get as far as this bathroom, it looks like). So what do I go and do? Put up more wallpaper. I can't help it. The house wants what it wants.

When Wallpaper Direct offered to send a few complimentary rolls of the design of my choice, I jumped at the chance. They have tons of beautiful options, so choosing was painful. Finally I picked Sophie Conran's Balustrade Claret. You guys know I love orange, but I can't put much of it with the dark woodwork or it looks like a 70s Halloween party. Yet I need bright colors in here to make me happy on gloomy days when the house is dark. So. Fuschia it is.


We've never put up wallpaper before, but we learned how by watching this terrific video by Chris Boylan. He makes it look so easy, doesn't he? Our paper is the modern "paste the wall" type, which means, you guessed it, you roll the paste onto the wall like you would paint, instead of applying the paste to the paper (or wetting the paper, like some pre-pasted types require.)

Now, I'm pretty sure that whoever lives here after us is not going to want fuschia wallpaper in their dining room unless they are crazy like we are. So to be helpful and kind to the future people, we primed the wall first with Shieldz Universal Wallcovering Primer. The can says it "assures easy removal," so we figured it couldn't hurt. The primer requires at least two hours of drying time before pasting paper on top, so we did this Friday night.


Saturday morning we cut the wallpaper into pieces for the wall (see the video for the how-to), and I mixed up a batch of Zinsser SureGrip All Purpose Adhesive. It's powder you add to water and stir to make glue. But somehow I overlooked the word "slowly" in the instructions, and in my great enthusiasm, I dumped the whole container of powder into my pail of water all at once. Instantly two huge SureGrip dumplings formed. Despite whisking and mashing until our arms almost fell off, the starchy blobs refused to dissolve. It seemed easier just to start over, so we bought another carton at Ace Hardware. Since I can't be trusted to add powder correctly, Alex mixed it up while I made lunch.

Then with full bellies and a lump-free pan of glue, we started on the wall. The beautiful thing we discovered is that the paste is quite forgiving. You can slide the paper around a little bit or peel it off and reposition it, so we ended up enormously pleased with how the seams matched up. Our wall is bowed and has some unevenness, but that didn't seem to make matching the seams any harder. Though it did take a few hours longer than we'd guessed. Friends told us that wallpapering would test our marriage, but we managed to finish up still liking each other. I would absolutely do it again.


I'm not good at indoor photography in dim rooms, but here it is! Ignore the $4 Goodwill lamp and the brassy chandelier we dislike and our IKEA furniture that we dream of replacing, and then mentally add some simple art in white frames to that wall, okay?


The sand-textured swirlies are outlined in metallic silver, so the sheen is really pretty. The color looks richer and less neon in person than in these photos, which don't do it justice, but you can kind of get the idea. A huge thank you to Wallpaper Direct! Next project for the room: curtains.

27 comments:

Grandma G said...

Your "Grand Hotel" look is so awesome! I like it more every time I look at it (and I've looked at it a lot). :)

Yeah... now if you just had some curtains!!!

Mum

annie dee said...

Looks great! I'm not sure I'd be brave enough t try wallpapering. I can't wait to see the curtains in there.

Anonymous said...

Totally awesome! Love the color, the pattern and the entire look!
/tuulikki

Christina said...

Just lovely!

sarah said...

Awesome! I am planning to put Orla Kiely wallpaper in my bedroom. I've been trying to order wallpaper from Wallpaper direct, but it won't let me ship to Canada.

Jessica Jones said...

Shoot, that's a bummer!

Waves said...

You seem to be moving away from orange, and embracing more pink. There was the two pink reupholstered chairs, the two pink recovered lampshades, and now pink wallpaper.

Blue said...

The wallpaper looks awesome! I think that it looks right at home. You did a good job picking it out AND installing it. I daresay it makes the Ikea stuff look better, even...

Jennifer said...

Wow! You two did a great job, and chose a gorgeous paper! IT doesn't look neon at all, but beautiful and luxurious. Enjoy your "new" room!

Sugar Plum Eats said...

The wallpaper is beautiful! Looks lovely against the dark wood. X

swisssidejewelleryetc said...

It is beautiful - you are so good to do this yourselves. But what I like about your blog is the way you tell us about your mistakes along the way (i.e. the paste - tee hee, that could've been me!). Very inspiring. Well done!

Jessica Jones said...

Oh, I forgot to mention Alex was trimming around a door corner and accidentally hacked off a triangle of paper above the door. We patched it, and the boo boo is now invisible. Glad it was high up!

Waves: regarding pink, I know! What is going ON? I like pink better than orange with dark woodwork, that's the trouble. I haven't shown the living room yet, which has an orange womb chair. I'm getting orange pillows for the parlor, and my office is still mostly orange. Orange is still my favorite!

RhondaBuss said...

I'm a wall paper fan myself. I just found a lovely company that sells Mission styles. My home was built in 1924, has tons of wood moldings(I was so happy that you didn't paint yours!) i'm really enjoying that you are putting your own style into the house and still recognizing the past. I call that the perfect combination :)

sarah said...

LOVE the wallpaper!
Looks fabulous in your dining room!!

auntie said...

Gorgeous!!

lp said...

Nice! Love that wallpaper. I pinned the post in case I need all the info. Thanks!

Melissa said...

Wow, this looks amazing! You've got such a good eye for this stuff. Thanks for sharing your photos and links. Can't wait to see what's next with all your furniture and drapes :)

TJ said...

It looks fabulous, love your choice of paper!

Sal said...

It's gorgeous, and I think the lamp and chandelier suit the room!

chocolate cake said...

My mom wall papered a number of rooms and accent walls in my childhood home over the years, and she got quite good at it! She always did it alone, so I can't imagine it really being a marriage tester if you're at least a little handy and decent with details. I think all her projects were with pre-pasted paper.

Very cool paper you've chosen. I got quite the kick out of your "SureGrip dumplings." :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, that looks so beautiful. I love the idea of applying the adhesive to the wall instead of the paper. My Dad taught me how to paper and fold it on itself to avoid making a mess off the paste, but it was still a pain. The design is really nice and I love the fuchsia! Great job!

Katie | FashionFrugality.com said...

I'm not normally a wallpaper person but this is GORGEOUS! I can't believe how good of a job you did doing it for the first time - high five!

Anonymous said...

Love it! You are going to have to be on the home tour when you get it all ready. There is also a "restoration in progress" home on the tour - it just requires that you be on two years in a row. It is fun to see a "before" and "after" house.

carole

Jessica Jones said...

Carole, I don't think they'd let me on the tour. I just put orange pillows with leopards on them in the parlor. I think that craziness disqualifies me! :)

Cindy said...

Beautiful wallpaper!!! Love it!

The Needle Shop said...

This is stinkin' gorgeous! I'm gonna give myself pretend credit on fuchsia influence. :)

Jessica Jones said...

Give yourself full credit--you made me like pink!

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