Decorating & Design

June 13, 2011

Wallpapering Tips

Recently, my friends Anne-Louise and Jon asked for some help with their new house. It’s their very first house and, while very nice, it needed a little personality and some pulling together.

They’d tried to update the space by painting all of the walls grey, but had chosen a grey with a purple cast and they decided it made the place feel dull. I suggested they go with a warm, creamy white and add some wallpaper, which Anne-Louise was craving.

For wallpaper, we settled on Thibaut’s Sassafras paper from the Chelsea collection. The paper is available in Canada through Crown Wallpaper & Fabrics and was very nice to work with. I’m no expert wallpaper hanger, but the Sassafras paper went up really easily and didn’t cause too many headaches. We kept the project to one wall, so that helped too!

It starts with drawing a line with a level on the wall so that your first and subsequent pieces go on straight. Next you cut your first piece leaving a few extra inches on the top and bottom. Use a large table to work on and spread wallpaper paste on the back of the piece you’ve cut using a small foam roller and tray. Then you ‘book’ the paper which means folding the glued sides together to keep the glue wet. Place the folded paper in a plastic garbage bag for three minutes to let the wet paper relax. Then you stick ‘er up on the wall and use some smoothening tools to work out the air bubbles.

Each piece goes up in the same way and you just keep matching up the pattern. Remember that larger patterns tend to have more wasted paper so get a little extra. This wall actually took two rolls. After the paper is up, you trim off the edges using a utility knife and straight edge. If any edges are unglued you can always glue them back down with a small foam brush and more glue. Excess glue comes off with a damp rag.

Once the wallpaper was up we moved Anne-Louise and Jon’s furniture back in, including this painted retro credenza and vintage country chair.

Here’s a close-up so you can see how nice this Thibaut wallpaper pattern is! It has sort of a faintly metallic Moroccan tile motif with these light, airy leafy bits. It’s perfect for Anne-Louise and Jon because they are the two biggest tree-hugging people I know! They even use organic toothpaste!

We also decorated the wall over their slipcovered sofa with three Ikea Ribba frames and some DIY art. Using a pear, apple, grapefruit and some leaves from the yard, we created prints by stamping the fruit and leaves into some leftover house paint on bristol board. I think they look great!

The stamped fruit creates some really interesting textures and patterns and the look is light, fresh and simple.

So with some cans of paint, a couple of rolls of wallpaper and some Ikea frames, Anne-Louise and Jon’s place was totally refreshed and perked up for summer. And we had so much fun doing it, too!

See more of my DIY projects on Online TV.

Photo credits:
1. Michael Penney
2. Chelsea Collection, Sassafras, T3237, Thibaut
3-8. Michael Penney