One Room Challenge | Week 3: Wallpaper Installation
Welcome back to the One Room Challenge, friends! We’re on Week 3, which means we’re half-way done with this fun design challenge put together by Linda from Calling It Home! For those of you just catching up or stopping by for the first time, we are using these 6 weeks to transform our spare bedroom into a nursery for a baby boy we are expecting at the end of the year (you can catch up on the “before” photos and design board for the room here!) This is the week I’ve been waiting for since first putting the design boards together for this space. Not only am I excited to have a lot of the hard work in this room now behind me, but I’m beyond thrilled with the totally temporary transformations we have pulled off with a few simple rolls of paper! Yep…this week is all about wallpaper!
As I showed you last week, Greg did a great job constructing a simple built-in in the closet (I’ll share lots more details about this built-in down the road)!
Once Greg finished, I could hardly wait to get in there and work on the prettier details that would help make it look more polished and complete. Namely, wallpaper and paint! The base of the built-in received two good coats of Rust-oleum’s semi-gloss white paint, all applied with a good-quality brush. I always have a can of this paint on hand because I really like its coverage, its durability, and its shade (although, little did I know the shade would come back to haunt me a bit. More on that below!).
Months and months and months ago, I came across two rolls of this red-and-white striped removable wallpaper on an end cap at Target. I had no plan for the paper at the time; but for the price, I snagged them knowing I would someday find a use for it. My original plan was to paint the inside of the closet, but when I realized how nicely the peel-and-stick paper worked with the other elements of the design, I knew I had finally found a way to put that paper to good use! In just a few hours, I had all the paper trimmed to size and installed to the inside of the closet. It was such a quick and easy project that makes a huge impact! (Pssst – Notice that our walls are textured! You can read more about applying wallpaper to textured walls here!)
I’ve said it before and it’s worth mentioning again: peel-and-stick wallpaper can be pretty expensive when trying to do an entire room. At regular price, these rolls are $30 for only 16 feet of paper! However, accent walls, backs of closet (like here!), and other small nooks are a great way to add a punch of pattern without breaking the bank! So whenever you see peel-and-stick paper for super cheap, grab it (even if you don’t have a plan for it!) I mean…talk about a fun closet!
Here is a quick shot of where we left off last week. We had painted the ceiling a pretty shade of blue, and I was hinting at big things to come for the walls!
As many of you regular readers know, I have fallen hard for the look and ease (yes, I said “ease”!) of wallpaper in recent months. Instead of painting the rest of this room to get the bright and fresh feel I was craving, I really wanted to do a wallpaper installation using this wallpaper. After ordering a sample and determining that yes, you can apply wallpaper to textured walls with liquid starch (read more about my process here!)…
…I was off and running.
Well. Sorta. I made the mistake of assuming this wallpaper would go up in a matter of hours. The last time I installed wallpaper (in my Kansas home office), it literally went up in about 2-3 hours. This room and installation project was a different beast entirely, taking me about 8 hours across two days.
First, I was dealing with textured walls, which required a few extra steps to get the paper to adhere right. Second, I was covering A LOT more wall space than last time. Third, this paper had a trickier repeat/match than the last paper I used, so it took me a while to figure out how to efficiently cut and match the different strips of paper. And finally, I didn’t take the time to setup a work table in the nursery so I could cut, soap, hang, and smooth the paper without ever having to leave the room. I started by doing all the labor down in my office and walking each panel up the stairs to be hung. Ummmm…that was a horrible plan. Not only am I pretty pregnant right now (30 weeks, whoop whoop!), but not being in the room also led to some wrong cuts and waisted paper (can I blame pregnancy brain?!?). This lack of planning cost me a ton of energy and time. I think I only got about 5 strips hung on the first day (about 4 hours). The second day, I got smarter. I had Greg bring my office work table up to the nursery. I took a few minutes to fully figure out the pattern matching and length of my strips so I could cut all the paper much more efficiently and correctly. I then turned on some music, and worked in a pattern of cut –> soap –> hang –> smooth –> trim edges –> wipe clean. I got the entire rest of the room, including working around several corners, outlets and windows, done in about 4 more hours of work.
I talk some more about my experiences hanging wallpaper on textured walls in this post, but I wanted to mention one other thing that I don’t think is specific to textured walls. When I first applied the wallpaper with liquid starch, it would look really, really scary. See Exhibit A:
The paper was discolored; it reeeeaaally showed both the color and texture of the wall underneath it; it was splotched everywhere with excess liquid starch; and it just looked downright messy. But here is the wonderful thing about wallpaper: it’s incredibly durable and even sort of magic. After each panel I hung, I took a wet washcloth and wiped down the entire panel to smooth it tighter to the wall and wipe away any liquid starch residue. And after a few hours, once it was fully dry, the paper was pristine! No liquid starch, no finger prints, no wall color showing underneath. See Exhibit B:
I mentioned on Tuesday that when wallpapering on textured walls, you can sometimes see the texture of the wall underneath AND it can be tricky to get tight seems. Sure…when you are up on the paper really, really close, you can see these imperfections. But as you step back and take in the whole space, they are really hard to see.
While it took a bit more time than I was expecting AND the installation is far from perfect, the change is so wonderful and dramatic, I’d happily do it all over again!
With every room makeover, there are unexpected things that come up: both happy- and not-so-happy accidents! Already we’ve encountered a few that I thought were worth mentioning!
The first is a happy accident, at least for me! When you look at various design elements on a design board, sometimes you can’t fully envision how things will look together once installed in the room. I could tell the paint and two wallpapers would well work together in terms of size and scale, but it wasn’t until I saw this picture below that I discovered another happy little accident!
Not only does the red-striped paper nod to the striped stars in the white/silver wallpaper; but when all hung together, there is a subtle (I think!) red-white-blue and/or stars-and-stripes theme going on too. Being a military family, living in a military town (and considering this room will ultimately have a “super hero” theme), I couldn’t help but smile when I saw it all together. It feels so perfect and meant to be!
Not All Whites Are the Same
The next accident was not so happy and one I should really have anticipated. Friends: all whites are not the same. You are all saying in your head: “no duh, Megan!” For some reason, I thought I’d be able to use two different wallpapers and a white paint and coincidentally have it all match the white trim already in the room. Do you see where this is going? Once the wallpaper was up and the built-in was painted, it was painfully clear that the trim all around the rest of the room had a yellow under-tone to it. In the two pictures below, you can see what I am talking about.
I was tempted to just leave it; and honestly, in other rooms and at other times, I might have. But I know I will be spending HOURS in this room, sitting in a chair staring at the walls. And I knew it would bother me if I didn’t fix it. So after some sanding and taping, I gave the trim in the room a coat of bright white paint that better matches the two wallpapers and built-in. I was quite irritated that I didn’t see this one coming, but boy did it make a huge difference once it was done!
Not only is the color such a better match, but the trim was more scuffed up than I realized. With everything painted bright white, it looks so fresh and clean! Worth the time and effort for sure!
No Doubt It’s a Nursery
The last thing is neither a happy or not-so-happy accident; just one more thing I didn’t quite anticipate. I honestly love, love, love the star wallpaper. It’s so “me,” works with the theme so wonderfully, and it camouflages our ugly brown walls in such a great way. What I didn’t anticipate was how “baby” it really took the room. Now, I know…it is a nursery, after all; but I really didn’t expect the room to read soooooo “baby” once the wallpaper was up. Remember, one of my goals was to create a room that would grow with Baby Boy. I honestly don’t mind since we will likely be moving out of this house by the time he is 2.5, but it’s a good lesson for me to learn all the same!
I spent some time reading the Week 3 updates from the official participants yesterday, and it seems like Week 3 is the one where many of us have our doubts and meltdowns from exhaustion and stress. While I wasn’t particularly stressed this week, all this wallpapering and painting was a pretty big job to take on myself, and I found myself exhausted and repeatedly frustrated (like when I went up and down the stairs probably 1,000 times in 4 hours!). I am pretty excited that most of the really hard, messy, and time-consuming tasks for this room are behind us (only some more closet construction lies ahead), and I now can turn my attention to playing with all my fun fabrics and start to bring the design together through accessories! While I hunker down at my sewing machine this week, don’t forget to check in with all the other participants playing along this time around! You can check out all the other room makeovers here!
I’d love to hear what you think of the progress we’ve made this last week! What’s your favorite part of the room so far. I am personally loving the interaction of the paint, wallpaper and blue check fabric for the windows and can’t wait to see those three finally come together soon! Happy weekend, friends! See you back here next week!