Return to site

wallpaper...DIY or pro?


· wallpaper,interior design,new house build,bathroom,renovation

Glam dining room Bethesda MD by Margaret Carroll Interiors - Wallpaper by InnovationsUSA

Way back in the olden days/the early 90s...I went to Architecture school at the University of Maryland. (Go Terps!) 

Architecture school teaches you how to identify problems and solve them in various ways to integrate into some kind of design.  It also teaches you how to draw cool stuff in 3 dimensions (back in the dizzAAy we drew by hand!), how to design and build structures and hopefully learn what is aesthetically pleasing and what is crap. 

If you know anyone that went to architecture school, they would tell you that Architecture school also prepares you for being super duper crafty!  I spent countless hours totally hopped up on tons of caffeine till 4 in the morning while cutting chipboard with an exacto knife for a model that I needed to present to a jury (so stressful) at 7:30 that same morning.  It sounds crazy and painful but I wouldn’t change it for anything.  The long hours and the tedious glueing and finger blisters (yes its a thing) from exacto knife cutting has helped me with some everyday design wallpapering!  Lots of my clients ask…

Is wallpaper coming back?  Does anyone use wallpaper anymore?

The answer is a resounding Hell YASSS.  In my never went away!  I’ve always been someone who loves to do dynamic, colorful yet thoughtful design but most of my clients are slightly less daring. ..and that's ok!  Even tho clients arent into brightly colored mid mod Jonathan Adler Pop themed rooms, I can usually convince them to do something to create a fun focal wall or an interesting trim detail or fabulous fabric in each and every room.  And that’s where wallpaper comes in! 

There are so many different styles and variations of wallpaper that there is usually something that fits into someone's budget and style.  Wallpaper is a place to add boldness like a gorgeous green jungle theme or a quiet serene classic feeling like a perfectly textured grasscloth.  How many times have you gone into someone's teeny tiny powder room where it had a gorgeous fun wallpaper and said 'oooooh I need this wallpaper in my life!'  (not sure about you but this happens to me all the time!). 

Credit: Designer Library -Washington DC - Wallpaper by Elitis

Now, I’m not even CLOSE to the professional paperhangers (yes thats a real word/profession) out there. It is a skill that requires patience, detail and lots and lots of years of experience. BUT! Something that almost anyone can do is install temporary wallpaper to create a gorgeous focal wall in your powder room, laundry room or really any room!  I just installed one in a client’s bathroom and it looks amazing.  (Just make sure to check the wallpaper to see if it can be installed in areas with moisture.)

Primary bathroom Behtesda MD by Margaret Carroll Interiors

how do you add texture and interest to a plain wall?

There are so many beautiful wallpapers out there.  Some that are $20 a roll and some that are $500 a roll. The more expensive papers that are out there are not the temporary/peel and stick kind and are imported from around the globe and some are even custom and handmade.  Those are the ones that require a professional paperhanger. The professionals know how much wallpaper they need based on the repeat if your wall is level if your wall is smooth and how to cut strange angled corners especially how to make the seams look invisible.

Can I put up peel and stick wallpaper by myself?  Where do you start when wallpapering a room?  Can I use peel and stick wallpaper in the bathroom?

It’s SOO easy…(even if you didn’t go to exacto knife school).  It really just takes patience and planning.  I have personally installed temporary wallpaper in a couple clients' homes as well as my own home. it requires only a couple things…

  • Wallpaper
  • Cutting tool/Exacto knife and a VERY sharp blade
  • Wallpaper smoothing tool (amazon has a million of them)
  • A level preferably one that is at least 4 feet long
  • An extra set of hands
  • And lots and lots of patience and time

And some of these things to would be good to remember...

  1. I would recommend making sure your walls are smooth and level first.  This is where the 4 foot long level comes in handy to confirm this.  It's suprisingly inexpensive at Home Depot. 
  2. Measure twice...cut ONCE!  Wallpaper is $$ so this is where the patience comes in.  I like to measure the wall first and cut the paper at least 2 to 3 inches extra at the bottom - just in case you need to shift things up or down.  Once 1 panel has been done, check the next panel for the exact match...then cut the panel again for the correct length.
  3. Once you have it all cut and matched you are ready to start... this is where the 

praying always helps haha.  

  1. I always try to start at a corner (unless it's a mural) and if I do it by myself... I use painter's tape on the sides to hold it in place. I then peel off the 12 to 18 in of the backing. Then I get that in place so it holds the rest of the paper below. 
  2. Time for the plastic wallpaper smoother thingy!  The plastic tool works out the bubbles from top to bottom. I tend to go over and over it a zillion times just to be sure the paper has adhered to the back to the wall.  Then I cut any remaining paper at the bottom with the Exacto knife. I usually use the wallpaper smoothing tool to hold it down and then use it as a guide.
  3.  I tend to overlap the next panel by about 1/16 of an inch...usually you can't tell that there is a seam there.   
  4. Once you have all the panels in, cut out the voids for light switches or outlets. And you're done...step back and hellooo awesome!

I hung this wallpaper!  It took about 3 hours.

How long will peel and stick wallpaper last?

I installed it in my old house and it lasted close to 7 years...I suspect that it would have lasted longer...but we tore the house down before I could see it peel away.  Which is pretty good!  And...this room was the laundry room so it was pretty moist in there most of the time.  Again - you would need to review the wallpaper specs to be sure it will last in that type of environment.  

Mandy Moore's Laundry Room by Sarah Sherman Samuel

Should I hire someone to hang wallpaper?

If the wallpaper is not peel and stick , you are not handy with an exacto knife or maybe you are doing a more complex wall mural...maybe it’s time to call a professional paperhanger.  It is so worth the money as they will know how much to order based on the pattern repeat, they will seam it to perfection and they will sometimes prep the wall and get a “Level 5” (nicest, most perfectly smooth level of drywall you can get.) finish for the most successful wallpaper install.  I think the most important part about hiring someone is that they will have the experience necessary and be familiar with all the different types of paper - grasscloth, bamboo, and silk.  

Teen bedroom - Annapopis MD by Margaret Carroll Interiors - Wallcovering by Jaima Brown


What’s a blog post without some eye candy?  Interior designers (and some fashion houses!) have been killing it by creating their own wallpaper to the public.  Peep the ones below that I am loving these days. Call me if you want one of these installed in your home!  

Wallcoevring by Sheila Bridges

wallcovering by Christian LaCroix

OBSESSED with this paper from Orla Kiely

wallpaper by Kelly Wearstler

I have been stalking this wallpaper from Calico Wallpaper for years

OHHHH and one last thing!  I have been dying to do this somewhere...if anyone wants to do a matching wallpaper and me TODAY!!  

credit: Sister Parish

All Posts

Almost done…

We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!

OKSubscriptions powered by Strikingly