How to Create Unique Ambiance with a Wallpapered Accent Wall

Hang Elegant Wallpaper for a Lasting EffectHanging decorative wallpaper is back in style, and when done right can really give new life to a room…creating truly unique charm. Albeit somewhat difficult for someone who’s never wallpapered before, when only applying to an accent wall the process is totally doable. Not to mention, peel and stick wallpaper is a popular new option — much easier and less permanent.

Essential Tools

  1. wallpaper {duh!}
  2. paste
  3. tape measure
  4. level
  5. ladder
  6. sandpaper
  7. spackle*
  8. putty knife*
  9. bucket*
  10. water tray*
  11. sponges*
  12. rags*
  13. utility knife
  14. smoothing brush
  15. seam roller
  16. screwdriver {to remove outlet and light covers}*

*don’t be deterred by the tool list, these are optional

The Sticky Process

1. prep the area/surface: remove outlet and light covers from the wall, move any furniture that may be in the way, spackle any holes or divots in the wall and sand them down, wash any dust or dirt off the walls and lastly, set up your wallpaper work station (sawhorses or a worktable are ideal).

2. measure and cut: look closely at the wallpaper design and determine how it should be aligned and where you want it to meet the ceiling. Measure the length of the wallpaper and make a small mark to indicate where it should meet the ceiling (try to leave excess on the top and bottom so you can cut it down to the right size at the end). Then measure and cut your strips based on the width of your wall.

3. activate adhesive and apply paste: for pre-pasted wallpaper, loosely roll up the first strip and immerse it in room temperature water and allow it to unroll slowly, then lay it flat on your work surface, paste side facing up. Next, “book” the ends by pulling them towards the middle and allow the paste to activate. If your wallpaper isn’t pre-pasted use a paint brush or paint roller to apply pre-mixed paste, working from the middle to the ends. Try not to crease the wallpaper in either scenario, and keep the ends folded into the middle. [For more specifics on how to prep and activate wallpaper, read this blog post.]

4. hang the first strip: start at the ceiling and unfold the top half of the first wallpaper strip so it is lined up on the side with your measured line (or the corner crease where the wall ends). Remember to leave a few inches excess at the top. Then drop the bottom half down gently. Use a damp sponge to remove any air bubbles and a seam roller to press down the edges of the wallpaper.

5. smooth and hang the other strips: take care to line up the next strip next to the first, matching the pattern and overlapping the edges where necessary. Continue leaving excess for ceiling and baseboard (floor), smooth out air bubbles and press down the edges.

6. trim the edges: finally, after all strips have been laid, use a putty knife to crease the strips at the ceiling and the base of the wallpaper in preparation for cutting the excess. Once you define the top and bottom borders, take a utility knife and carefully cut the excess paper. Use the sponge to remove any air bubbles or extra paste.

7. final touches: as a final touch, press the seams together once more, making sure all the wallpaper lays even and flat. Once your wallpaper is all in place, you can replace any outlet or light covers and put your furniture and pictures back in place. Then voila! You have a beautiful accent wall.

[Note: for peel and stick wallpaper, the process is less involved. However, keep in mind that you should peel the back off slowly, moving your way down the wall (from top to bottom). Don’t try to align an entire sticky piece all in one go. For more details on how to apply peel and stick, watch this video.]

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Don’t go too quickly.
  • Cover all of the wallpaper pieces with paste.
  • Smooth the paper down gently.
  • Calculate precisely how much paper is needed.
  • Heavier paper is easier to apply.
  • Wet the self-adhesive paste {on the wallpaper} before hanging.
  • Don’t take the backing off all at once {peel & stick}.
  • For peel & stick, save the backing for future application.

For the savvy DIY-er, wallpapering the traditional way may be a breeze. However, peel and stick wallpaper or simply covering only an accent wall are options for the novice wallpaper-er. If you have any questions about this process or the tools necessary, please contact one of our experts or comment below. Happy wallpapering!

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