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Ready to try wallpaper?

Updated: Jan 12, 2021

Wallpaper. Yay or nay?

This feels like a design decision that you are either enthusiastically for or vehemently against. So, which side do you fall on?

You can probably already imagine that I am an enthusiastic supporter. I’ve had wallpaper throughout the years in two of my homes. Some came inherited, others I've installed. I’ve used self-adhesive (aka peel and stick), pre-pasted and non-pasted all with variable levels of success. As with purchasing anything, paying attention to brands, reviews and recommendations will be critical while you’re making a decision if this is right for you.

There are so many varieties of wallpaper to choose from, but I’m focusing on three types - the ones you’ll most likely find if you’re on Pinterest searching for inspiration. After installing and removing all of these varieties and working with different brands along the way, I not only have encouragement for you to give it a try, but also tips and tricks so you can avoid some of the mistakes I made along the way.

If you know my background at all, you know I once was an elementary school teacher. Knowing that, you won’t be surprised at all to see that I’ve created a rubric showing each of these categories and am rating them based on my experience on a scale from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent).

Ease of installation Durability/Longevity Ease of removal

Self-adhesive 4 3 4

(aka peel and stick)

Pre-pasted 2 4 3

Non-pasted 3 5 . 2


So what exactly does this tell me? Ok…a little more teacher-ing so we can decipher what in the world this rubric really means.

When you add all the totals together for each type of wallpaper, you're left with a number. The highest number is easiest all around where as the lowest number is most difficult.

Self-adhesive 11

Pre-pasted 9

Non-pasted 10

What did we find? Not a whole heck of a lot of difference, that’s what. No matter which way you slice it, there’s going to be work involved, patience required and most likely you’ll learn something along the way. Is it worth it...YES! But before you go diving in to finding your favorite wallpaper, keep reading so you can avoid some of the mistakes I've made through the years.

Pitfalls to avoid (that sounds dramatic!) BEFORE ordering, cutting or hanging any of the types of wallpaper:

  1. BEFORE purchasing any wallpaper make sure you read the recommendations for what types of walls the paper is suited for. For example: it the directions say don’t apply if you have a freshly painted wall…DON’T apply. Apply primer…apply it! Trust me, doing this step will save you some headaches along the way.

  2. Measure twice, three times, even four times BEFORE purchasing. Use the brand’s recommended formula for figuring out how much paper you need for your entire project. You always want to ROUND up for the number of rolls you need. It’ll be better to have more than not enough.

  3. Be mindful of the pattern you choose. How hard will it be to line up? Will it be forgiving if it’s not exact?

  4. Make sure you have all the materials at the ready before you start.

  5. Be sure you have a SHARP exacto-knife or box cutter and a straight edge for cutting the straight edges along the ceiling and floor moulding.

  6. Make sure you have a clean floor before you start unrolling the paper so your paste doesn’t pick up little tidbits here and there.

  7. Before doing any cutting of the wallpaper, unroll it COMPLETELY to make sure there is no header or footer that you need to take into consideration (and remove) before cutting. Missing this step could mean you will mismeasure EVERY roll.

  8. Hang it with a buddy. Not necessary, but it’s always nice to have moral support, a math checker before cutting, and someone to hand you things (like your drink) when you’re up on a ladder.

Now for a couple wallpaper specific tips…

Self-adhesive wallpaper:

  1. Do NOT apply to freshly painted walls. It’s kind of a similar concept as doing your hair. Your hair curls best or makes the best up-dos when it’s dirty, rather than clean. :)

  2. Have a tube of wallpaper paste for seams handy in case any of the paper rolls open at the seams or corner.

Pre-pasted wallpaper:

  1. Make sure you spray or soak ALL of the backing in order to activate the paste. Leaving some unsprayed will make it more difficult and potentially leave it unattached to the wall in some areas.

  2. Handling pre-pasted wallpaper solo is tricky. Have a buddy to help.

Psst..want to know what in the the world is up with me sitting in my closet holding a kiddo book? Go here to find out!

Non-pasted wallpaper:

  1. Apply the paste directly to the wall, not the paper.

  2. To avoid getting paste on the roll of wallpaper before it’s applied to the wall, pre-roll the paper inside out (so the backing is what you see on the outside) so as the wallpaper rolls down to stick on the wall, any paste that could potentially get on the paper will be on the back of the paper rather than the front.

  3. Keep your roll ‘rolled’ by clipping the paper together with a chip clip or some large non-restricting (you don’t want creases in your paper) clip.

Tips for saving money WHILE using wallpaper:

  1. Apply wallpaper to only one wall as an accent wall.

  2. Put board and batten on the bottom of the wall and use the wallpaper from the top of the bb to the ceiling.

  3. Try it out at the back of a bookshelf or in a small nook first before investing on an entire wall.

Mostly, have fun, be brave and remember…what’s the worst thing that can happen? And, don't forget to tag me on IG @figandfarm so I can cheer on your best work!!


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