Decorating & Design

February 9, 2018

How To Wallpaper Your Closet

H&H features editor Wendy Jacob shares her small closet makeover. 

I’ve read enough Marie Kondo to know it’s not long before the stuff you own starts to own you. I wanted to do more than purge my closet: it needed some love. Since designers always make a case for statement wallpaper in small rooms, I thought I would try it out in my closet. What I wasn’t prepared to do was paper the closet with rolls. Wallpaper is often sold in double rolls and I definitely didn’t need that much. The closet measures 20 1/2″ deep and 35″ wide.

I found this version, Pink Banano from Wallpaper4beginners off Etsy, and it’s printed in Italy.

The paper is sold in packages of 8 sheets measuring 70 cm x 100 cm, which covers 5.5 square meters or 59.20 square feet. The design on the sheets are a repeat so it’s easy to match them up above, below or on the sides. (Tip: Order more sheets than you need as there is wastage.)

I received the paper really quickly but the directions were spotty. I wasn’t even sure if the paper was actually pre-pasted. After browsing the comments on the site, I discovered pasting the back of the paper and the wall before applying worked well for people, so I did that.

Here are some tools I used to apply the wallpaper: an edger to push the paper into corners, wallpaper paste, TSP to wash the walls before application, plastic drop cloths (applying the glue is messy), a brush to apply the paste, a smoother and seam roller.

The seam roller was crucial. It not only helped eliminate air bubbles and wrinkles but it pushed out excess glue which I then wiped off with a damp cloth.

There was a wood support at the top of the closet to hold a shelf, and it was basically a nightmare. I ended up slicing up pieces of the wallpaper and applying them from a new sheet so the leaves look continuous. For this reason, ordering more paper than you need would be beneficial.

This wallpaper is quite delicate, and it tore in the corners when I tried to push it in for a clean line. The upside is that this pattern is very forgiving, which is why I was able to do little patch jobs unobtrusively without marring the overall effect.

I spray painted the plastic rod covers pink to match the background. I also recovered some old storage boxes with ocelot wallpaper remnants (more purging) and one of the 300 ribbon belts I had inexplicably been hoarding as if I was about to jet off to Coachella. Spoiler alert: I won’t be.

When it came time to move things back, it made me reconsider what I was stuffing into my closet. I didn’t want to cover up all that hard work so I was ruthless about what made the final cut.

Here’s the before and after. It took about 6 hours from cleaning the walls with TSP to applying the paper. The wallpaper actually makes the closet look deeper because it adds some dimension while covering up nicks. It’s an incentive to keep things orderly and it makes me smile every time I open the door.