The POWER of wallpaper {don't be afraid}

May 18, 2021


I don't know what came over me when we moved into this house 3 1/2 years ago, but I've added wallpaper to almost every room makeover so far! Wallpaper is back in a big way, but I never really had any desire to use it until we moved here. 

Maybe I've fallen in love with wallpaper because I've had an empty slate, or maybe it's because once you add it once you just want to keep going. It's addictive! 

I'm rounding up all of the ways I've used wallpaper so far -- from little accents to entire rooms covered in it! If you've ever wondered about the different designs I've used, this will be a good resource. These examples show the difference it can make in a space!

I've used both pasted and peel and stick wallpaper throughout the house. The pasted wallpaper is supposed to be easier to remove if you ever grow tired of it. But I don't put much faith in that. ;) If you use the pasted kind (I'll share how to install it later in the post), I would make sure it's one you really love! I wouldn't do anything too trendy that you may tire of a few years later. 

I used peel and stick on the built in bookcase wall in my office. Here's how it looked before, with the blank wall: 
kitchen cabinet bookcases in office

I used this peel and stick cherry blossom design on the backs of the bookcase shelves:
dark green DIY built ins office

It's a beautiful, understated accent that gives the room a little extra something. You won't even spend $50 to add this detail!

I did the same in the basement with a gray tweed looking peel and stick wallpaper

dark gray westchester bookcases with wood

I wasn't sure about that one when it arrived -- but once it was out of the package and I held it up to the wall, I fell in love. 

Wallpaper tip #1: Don't judge it while it's rolled up! Take it out and hold it up to the wall. Take a picture of it against the wall, it will help you visualize the space.  

My first go at peel and stick wallpaper was in our powder room. It was pretty bland before: 
simple powder room before

Since I was adding the board and batten wall treatment I only had to cover the top part of the wall, so it was a good beginner project. 

I used a pretty navy and gold design that adds drama in this little space: 
white board and batten bathroom with dark wallpaper
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Wallpaper install tip #2:  If you are installing trim and wallpaper, I find it easiest to hang the wallpaper first and then the trim. That way you can slightly cover the edge of the wallpaper with your trim. Same goes for installing it behind shelves -- I always hang the wallpaper before building the shelves. 

If ever want to remove it, you can use a razor to score the wallpaper along the trim. 

We have a small little vestibule off our foyer that was calling out for a little something: 
small hallway off basement stairs

I found the wallpaper I wanted, but because it was the pasted kind, I waited it out to make SURE I really wanted to move forward. 

Thankfully the pretty pinstripe design will stand the test of time. I LOVE how this little hallway turned out!: 
pinstripe blue white wallpaper hallway

five panel interior doors

blue and white pinstripe pasted wallpaper

It's so fresh, clean and classic. 

Wallpaper tip #3:  Avoid stripes. At all costs. 😂 Vertical or horizontal, it doesn't matter. (There's a popular shiplap look that I think would be a nightmare to install.) These stripes weren't horrible, but that's because I have a decent amount of experience installing wallpaper. But it was the most difficult one I've hung. 

I love dressing up small spaces like powder rooms and hallways! They are the perfect spot to go a little more dramatic, since they are so small. I did just that in this little hallway off our kitchen
small hallway art around thermostat

kamala baker indigo wallpaper

I thought the only place to buy this blue and white floral wallpaper was at Anthropologie, and it was seriously expensive! Thankfully I was able to find it under a different name online for much less. 

This is my favorite wallpaper project to date! I adore this one: 
indigo baker wallpaper small hallway

Wallpaper is a great way to "fill" up walls...it just flows! Our bedroom walls were pretty basic before I added wallpaper: 
decorating with art around TV

The peel and stick grasscloth wallpaper went a LONG way to cozying up this space! It feels like a hug when you walk in here: 
gray grasscloth wallpaper bedroom

Grasscloth is one of my favorites and this version is super inexpensive. 

It doesn't have the feel of true grasscloth, but it does have some texture to it. And it looks authentic from just a few feet away: 
gray walls grasscloth wallpaper art around TV

The grasscloth look is more subtle, but sometimes you just want to make a BIG impact. 😀

That's just what I wanted to do in our mud/laundry room. This wall with the drying rack is loooong...it needed something: 
folding table laundry room before

OK, OK -- I know a lot of other stuff happened in here, but just look at that beautiful floral paper! What a HUGE impact!:
laundry room with floral wallpaper and hanging drying rack

I think I love wallpaper so much because it solves that problem of, "What can I do with this big empty wall for not much money?" It has become my go-to solution. ;) 

I actually kind of enjoy installing it -- it's like a puzzle to me. If you've never hung wallpaper I recommend starting with a small accent wall and using a peel and stick option. (See my tips for hanging peel and stick wallpaper here). That version allows you to remove and restart over and over (believe me, I know). 

Have I convinced you to add wallpaper somewhere in your home yet? I grew up with the old borders in our houses too, but never had to remove them. I know those bad memories have prevented many of you from trying it. :)

I have not removed any of ours yet, but when I do I'll be sure to let you know how it goes! 

Direct links to all of the wallpaper I used here: 

Similar blue and gold peel and stick in the powder room (our version is no longer available) 
Indigo and white floral in small hallway 
Similar gray grasscloth in our bedroom here and here (ours is sold out)


See more of our home here. 
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Comments

  1. I would love to add some wallpaper to the back of the shelves in my study. The walls are very lightly textured. Do I need to sand them first? Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Light texture shouldn't be a problem, as long as it's a low smooth texture. If it's higher or "spikey" at all, I'd recommend knocking it down just a bit with sanding.

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  2. GIRL! This post just reminds me of why you are my favorite home decor blogger. You never fail to inspire me to undertake another DIY project around the house, and wallpaper has become my new obsession. Gorgeous!

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  3. Wallpaper in small doses, as you've used it, is very appealing. The peel/sticks might make it less of an eternal devotion thing to do an entire room in a pattern. Traditional pasted wallpaper is an absolute BEAR of a mess to remove, and then the walls usually have to be repaired in order to paint them. Done that, never again. Grass cloth doesn't seem to go out of style, so a whole room of it is more do-able, IMHO. Your papered areas look beautiful!

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  4. Did you use the "neutral" or "pearl" color for the office bookshelf walls?

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  5. You are AWESOME! I was impressed with your last home, and now this one. You have a great eye for style!

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THANKS so much for reading!