The trouble I see with a lot of DIY and home renovation projects on the internet is that when things are new things look good. The real question is, how does it stand the test of time? Today I’m talking about the beadboard wallpaper by Graham & Brown that I put up over five years ago.
I have a love-hate relationship with wallpaper.
I hate removing it – like from my bedroom and my kitchen. (PS – if you haven’t seen the insanity of the kitchen wallpaper I inherited with this house, check it out here!) Then I discovered beadboard wallpaper… which I loooooove. (Extra “o” letters necessary.)
Our kitchen has come a long, long way from where we started. (Hoorah!!) But there still are a few spots where it iss… showing it’s age, shall we say? A few gray hairs.
The wall where the sideboard is (where the refrigerator originally went – can you believe it?) was a disaster when we were taking down the wallpaper. There were big strips of glue remnants from who-knows-what, in addition to cracks, lumps and gouges. I would love to know what was there once upon a time!
This is a photo from realty site. Doesn’t it look serene. So peaceful and calming. Light blue sky relaxing.
You would never have guessed evil is lurking underneath that pale, pretty blue.
I was happy. I mean, I thought I was DONE! The wallpaper removing tools were stashed away in the basement. I was going through our upstairs scrapping and spackling all the walls and there was a little crack in the wall of our bedroom.
Just like every other little piece of peeling paint, I pulled out my metal scraper to take it off. I should not have done that. I scraped off a piece of blue paint only to find pink and white floral wallpaper underneath.
All of a sudden I was looking around and saw the wallpaper seams. It’s funny what you don’t see until you see it. (Aren’t I profound?)
(Due to being a foreclosure our house had a LOT of peeling paint because of the house had to be winterized and de-winterized many times.)
In retrospect, I should have stopped here. There should have been lightning bolts and and big fat, red stop signs glaring at me from all four walls. I should have done the unthinkable and just painted over the blue.
But that’s not what happened.
The first layer of painted over wallpaper came off pretty easily. Things were looking up. Unfortunately, the second layer behind the painted over layer was NOT coming off.
I even ditched my chemical-free approach of vinegar and hot water and bought Piranha wallpaper spray. That helped a little. Even with vigorous scraping this paper was not coming off. (And Kat was definitely running on Dunkin’.)
That is when I learned there is a worse wallpaper-sin than painting over wallpaper. The worse thing you can do is not size the walls. When you wallpaper over a virgin wall you are supposed to size it with a liquid coating. Whoever put up the original wallpaper did not do this, therefore the wallpaper glue became one with the wall.
I was stuck with this:
I called this my “Exorcism of Emily Rose” room.
I was even looking up new wallpapers to put over the walls because I didn’t think it was going to come off.
Then, in a pleasant turn of events, when I was about to call wallpaper steamer rental places, my father-in-law said he had one that we could use. *Hoorah!*
The steam definitely did the trick. It went really, really slowly, but the wallpaper came off.
While I still don’t like steamers because they 1.) spit hot steam all over you and 2.) dribble hot water and wallpaper glue all over the floor and your hands, I was pumped. It was definitely worth all the time and tears (okay, there weren’t tears. There were, however, lots of frustrated sighs. Especially since I was trying to protect the original hardwood floors from copious amounts of hot water and glue).
To use a steamer you fill the tank with hot water and let it heat up. Then you proceed to hold the steaming head over a small section of the wall for a minute or so. Immediately use your metal scraper to remove the paper before the steam evaporates.
Once you get the hang of it you will be able to steam and scrape at the same time. But the paper still came off in tiny pieces.
Once all the paper was gone I went over the walls again with the steamer to scrape off the excess glue still on the walls and then washed the walls down with a sponge and the Piranha wallpaper removal spray.
And I was left with this beautiful room! (Do you sense the sarcasm?)
We’ve already spackled and sanded the walls and are hoping to paint soon! I think we’ve finally decided on Valspar Seashell gray. As seen here:
I’m trying something new and going gray. I have painted rooms sunshine yellow and lime green, but a little neutral like gray scares me. Isn’t that silly? I’m trying to listen to my own advice – I can always paint over it if I hate it!
Sadly, that wasn’t the last wallpaper I encountered! I found more when we ripped out a radiator in the hallways. Fortunately that came down right away with the Piranha spray. And I think that was the last of it! (Knock on wood!)
Do you have any nightmare wallpaper stories?
Earlier I showed you my progress in the dining room.
I know, I know. I know what you are all thinking.
“Why on earth are you putting wallpaper UP when you’ve been spending so much time taking wallpaper down!? Haven’t you learned?”
Here’s the thing: wallpaper is easy to take down when it’s been put up properly.
I ordered my beadboard wallpaper through the blog Southern Hospitality. It was great – it arrived very quickly even though I just paid for standard shipping.
I was not sure how I was going to like the paper and was very interested to see it in person. It was much thicker than I expected. It had an almost foam-like texture. The grooves were much deeper than I expected, thus giving the beadboard quality.
I have wallpapered before, but never alone. It was actually pretty easy!
I measured and cut my first piece. (Always leave some extra. And start in the most hidden corner.)
I dunked it in my trough (Home Depot, $2) of warm water. Then I folded it over itself and let it sit for a few minutes. This activates the wallpaper paste and causes it so get very sloppy on the backside of the paper.
Note: This was pre-pasted wallpaper. I bought paste just in case, but I definitely didn’t need it.
Then I unfolded the paper and put it on the wall. The wallpaper will be very maneuverable for a few minutes. You will be able to slide it around into place with both hands. Since this has a stripe in it, I used a level to make sure each piece was put up straight.
Then I used a wallpaper scrapper (not a technical term. 99 cents at Home Depot) to adhere the paper to the wall. This is the messy part. Be sure to have lots of wet paper towels around because the glue will be coming out the ends of the paper.
Hello Wallpaper Boogers!
I usually took some extra glue with my finger and put it over the creases before I wiped it all away with a wet paper towel.
After all the excess goop was taken care of I used a seam roller (Home Depot, $2) to go over all the ends and seams to make sure it stays tight to the wall. I went over the paper with a final scrap to make sure there were no air bubbles. At this point you should get up and look at the wallpaper from different angles and distances to make sure you aren’t missing any air bubble underneath the paper.
Finally, take a metal ruler and sharp razor blade to cut off the excess paper. This can be a little difficult so do it gently so you don’t rip the piece (therefore, having to start over).
Then repeat every 34 inches!! : ) Wait 24 hours and then you can paint.
For outlets I carefully placed the paper and cut a rectangle over where the outlet was. Window molding is slightly more tricky. Just go slowly and use small cuts.
It IS possible:
I really enjoyed the process and am planning on trying it in several other places in my house! I like it because I didn’t have to take off the molding, nor did I need to use any sort of cutting machine. (Which I don’t know how to do.)
(Still no cabinet doors. Still no corner rounds.)
I think it looks like it has always been there.
I did read that you could install door stoppers if you have a door handle swinging into the wallpaper a lot. The foam texture could take a beating and leave an imprint. Fortunately, I don’t have that problem in this room!
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. Doing the whole room cost around $40 (including shipping). That is a lot less than real beadboard, and I am sure I would have made many more (and more irreversible) mistakes.
How do you feel about beadboard? How about baked beans? How do you feel about alliterations in general? Am I crazy?
Right after we bought this house I came across this photo in a magazine. I don’t know what magazine it was out of and it, clearly, has been wrinkled and stored for a little while from this photograph I took of it.
I love it! I love the crisp white cabinets and warm, farmhouse wood that creates casual, cozy eating spaces like this.
Does the layout look familiar to you? It did to me!
After I stripped the metallic leafy wallpaper (which you saw here), took down the cabinet doors for refinishing (which I have yet to do… la la la) and painted the cabinet bases (Valspar Swiss Coffee). Break out the singing angels!
(*ahhh! Crisp color!)
This room needed a serious color infusion. We ended up choosing Behr’s Dried Palm (satin finish). It was the fastest/easiest paint decision we have made yet.
During the day I was describe it as Juicy Pear. At night I would describe it as Sage-y Lime. I love it. It’s perfect with blues, yellows and whites in the summer and will be great with cranberry and evergreen in the winter.
The next step was *drumroll* BEADBOARD WALLPAPER! Remember I posted about beadboard wallpaper here? Well, I ordered a roll and I L-O-V-E it.
I still need to add the corner rounds and (obviously) the hardware and cabinet doors, but we are one step closer.
(Sidenote: The chandelier in the dining room is ginormous. I can’t take a picture in this room without getting at least one or two swoopy arms in the way.)
I will follow up in another post all with a full disclosure review of the beadboard wallpaper. Overall, it was great and easy to use.
Decorating magazines or online sources like Pinterest are a great way to find inspirational rooms that will have similar architectural characteristics as your own home.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Let’s just say I’m glad I started with the dining room. At least I started off with a false sense of hope rather than no hope at all. (Right?) If I had started in the kitchen my outlook would have been pretty bleak.
Okay. Prepare your eyeballs. Put on some sunglasses. Do whatever you need to do when you’re about to look at something pretty blindingly amazing because I am about to reveal our kitchen wallpaper.
I’m not sure if I know how to even describe what this wallpaper looked like. There were giant hills and little cafe tables with coffee and bistro chairs. There were crazy trees with magical fruit and hot air balloons.
I am sure somebody loved this wallpaper. I have witnessed first-hand the attention that goes into a choice like that (thanks Mom). However, that somebody wasn’t us.
So I began. At first I was quite excited. The wallpaper was thick and vinyl-ish like the dining room wallpaper and peeled right off to reveal the brown backing paper, which I could scrape away quite easily with my vinegar/water spray mixture and scraper.
But alas. All good things must come to an end.
I quickly learned that the “white walls” underneath the backing were a big, fat lie. There was another layer of wallpaper. But, it had been painted over. *Cue scary music*
Lesson #1: Never, never, never paint over wallpaper. It’s easily to take down. You are only incurring bad house karma by doing this.
So I slowly began to chip away at the painted over wallpaper. The water/vinegar mixture only seemed to make the paint layer over the top very slippery. So I got out my metal scraper and chipped away tiny piece by tiny piece. Sometimes I would spray with my mixture; the rest of the time I would cry in the corner. Okay, it wasn’t that depressing. But, it did take me 2 solid days of chipping away before we got to this gorgeous, lovely, beautiful sight!
Okay, that is a gross exaggeration.
Then I washed the walls with a sponge dipped in hot water and vinegar. I also sprayed the walls and used my scraper to get off the wallpaper glue.
Basically, this room was a hot mess. But salvageable. : )
That mustard creamsicle color was like a subset gone wrong. To lift my spirits I rolled a little primer on to the walls. To lift the spirits. (I used Zinsser All-Purpose Primer. Left over from the cabinets. I will get to that later.)
Well, she’s still pretty ugly. But at least she’s a far cry from where we started.
In review, the supplies needed:
– hot water/vinegar mixture (sort of)
– metal scraper
– will power
– Miranda Lambert on repeat. To keep the will power coming.
I thought this was my last room that I was removing wallpaper from. At least it’s the only other room we thought had wallpaper in it. Have you noticed I’m using the word thought instead of knew. There’s a big difference.
That’s why there will be a Part III of this wallpaper saga….
My Mom was big into the wallpaper back in the day. I remember helping my Dad take down and put up paper quite a few times. I remember going to the wallpaper store (do they even have these anymore?) and looking through all the kids wallpaper books while my Mom browsed through all the options.
I think it started with my childhood bedroom. My Dad, little brother and I raced around my yellow bedroom tearing down the paper while my Mom was grocery shopping. We wanted to surprise her.
My husband and I bought our first house. This first house had a few rooms with wallpaper that really needed to go.
Here is a photo of our dining room wallpaper in all it’s 80s, mauve, metallic leaf glory.
This was the first room that we decided to tackle.
1 spray bottle
All you need to do is spray it on the paper and let it sit for a minute. Then use the scraper (if possible I like to use plastic to protect the drywall).
You can use the scraper to start pulling up the edges.
If all goes well, this will happen:
Once I got a little piece away from the wall I just pulled it with my hands and the whole piece came off.
One solid piece.
Okay, I should probably warn you. That never happens. Never.
But for this room it did. Woo hoo!
Once I stripped the room of all the paper I needed to wash the walls. To do this I just used my hot water/vinegar solution (2/3 water to 1/3 vinegar) and used a sponge.
Some people like to use steamers, but I don’t like them. They explode really hot water all over your hands. Some other people like to get the chemical solutions from Home Depot. I would recommend starting with hot water and vinegar. It worked like a charm for this room.
If you’re having trouble with the paper you could always buy a scouring tool to perforate the paper and allow the water/vinegar solution to soak in deeper.
And that was it.
Shouldn’t it feel more complicated than that?
Well, the next room wasn’t so easy. That’s why this is only Part I.
To be continued… *cue scary music here*
I love the look of beadboard. I would love to have the look of beadboard in my home. I’d live in a beardboard house if I could.
However, I do not own any type of cutting equipment and I don’t believe in paying someone to put it up for me (not my style, duhhh).
So I was pretty tickled when I discovered beadboard wallpaper. Yes. Beadboard wallpaper. Wallpaper I can do. (Thanks for all the practice Mom!)
This is from Southern Hospitality (where I first discovered there was such a thing). Looks pretty real, no?
It even looks like there is a raised texture. I like this idea because it’s a quick and easy change. You don’t need to pull off the molding or baseboards.
And it’s paintable! If it doesn’t match with your existing trim color you could paint it to match, or paint it a funky color like this photo:
And it’s (my second favorite word) inexpensive! (Free being the favorite. Obviously.) At $30 for a 30′ roll that could make quite the impact on a room in an inexpensive way.
Southern Hospitality recommends using Graham & Brown beadboard wallpaper. Although the Martha Stewart brand is now offering some that can be found at Home Depot.
I am definitely checking this out. I’d love to do our backsplash and below some of our chair rails.
Has anyone seen this in person before? Anyone tried it out?