Tips for Wallpapering a Bedroom

Wallpaper has been a decorating staple for centuries and it's making a comeback. With peel-n-stick papers and other new products that make it easier to install and remove, there are more reasons than ever to reconsider wallpaper.

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Create a Jewel Box

Bedrooms are ideal candidates for wallpaper because they don't need to coordinate with other rooms in the house. They can have their own color scheme and patterns, opening up more options for wallpaper choices. Wrapping the room in pattern and color can also make it feel cozier, like a little jewel box.

Proper Prep Is Key

One of the primary arguments against wallpaper is the knowledge that you might want to take it down someday. For anyone who has stripped wallpaper before, this kills the deal. The good news is that wallpapers, glue and primers have come a long way in that department and are much easier to remove without destroying the drywall underneath. The key is to use a wallpaper primer prior to installation. It adds a little time onto the front end of the project, but your future self will thank you!

Get the How-To: How to Install Wallpaper in a Bathroom

Consistency Check

In addition to peel-n-stick papers, there is also the choice between unpasted and pre-pasted. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. An advantage to pre-pasted is that the paste is already included, removing the additional step of applying the glue. A disadvantage is that you don’t have control over the amount of glue applied and it can end up being much messier than unpasted paper, where you have more control. A key to successful application of wallpaper paste to unpasted paper is the consistency. It should be just a little thicker than typical latex house paint. If it’s thicker than that, add some water to thin it out.

Set Up a Station

A large work surface is required to apply paste to wallpaper, so set up a folding table or clear off a large workspace to use for that purpose. Cover the surface with a plastic drop cloth in order to protect it from glue. Also, have a couple of weights handy to prevent the paper from rolling up while applying the paste.

'Book' the Paper

Whether the wallpaper is pre-pasted or unpasted, the paper needs to be 'booked' once the glue is either activated by water (prepasted) or applied (unpasted). To book the paper, fold it back on itself, glued sides together, so it resembles a book and allow it to rest for the manufacturer's recommended amount of time. This is an important step because it allows the paste to bloom.

Start in an Inconspicuous Corner

When determining where to start hanging the paper, select the corner that is least visible, like behind an entry or closet door. Instead of starting the paper directly in the corner, start it a couple of inches in on the adjacent wall. It’s best to not have a seam in the corner, if that can be prevented, as most walls are not perfectly plumb.

Avoid Potential Problems

It's common to have issues with walls, ceilings, floors and trim that aren't plumb, level or even. The best approach for solving these problems is to use a level to create a plumb line and work out from that line. Also, keep in mind that the pattern may shift if the ceiling is uneven, so if you’re applying a mural with a top edge to it, leave a few inches of space at the top of each piece to allow for that variance.

Select a Forgiving Pattern

For those new to hanging wallpaper or for old homes that are very “wonky,” select a pattern with a loose all-over design that's forgiving. Large-scale florals, demasks, abstracts and paisleys are good choices. Avoid stripes, checks, plaids and any pattern that has strong vertical and horizontal patterns.

Cut Costs

Wallpaper yardage can really add up, especially in rooms with a lot of wall surface area. To reduce costs, apply the paper to a single feature wall or install a chair rail and just paper the area above or below it.

Select Your Pattern Wisely

The typical way to shop for wallpaper is to collect swatches (by mail or in a store) and compare that swatch to other design elements in the room. It is almost impossible, though, to see the full effect of the pattern from a small swatch. Since wallpaper is an investment of time, energy and money, purchase one roll before committing and tack up a full piece to see if the desired look can be achieved with that color scheme and pattern. Also, look for photos online of that specific paper installed in a room. Both of these options will help you make a more informed decision. And, bonus, if you decide not to hang this roll of wallpaper, you can always use it for one of the fun DIY projects, below.

See More Photos: 8 DIY Projects With Wallpaper

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