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.