Tips for Creative Wallpapered Design
Growing up, we had lots of wallpaper in our house — hallways, bathrooms and even a few wallpaper borders in bedrooms. When we bought our house in Del Ray, my husband and I spent weeks removing layers and layers of horrific wallpaper borders in our living room. We never wanted to look at wallpaper again. But it seems wallpaper has been making a comeback in recent years and we’re seeing it a lot in homes in Del Ray — and in much nicer designs that the 80s prints I remember.
On a recent tour of Kay’s house (more on the whole house next week!), Leslie and I were in awe of the incredible wallpaper she installed in the hallway of her 1940s renovated bungalow. It’s a Marimekko pattern she purchased in Germany.
She installed the wallpaper on the landing to the upstairs and on the landing to the basement.
If you look closely, you’ll notice something interesting — the pattern doesn’t line up. There’s good reason for that. Kay only brought two rolls back from Germany (all she could fit in her suitcase), so she didn’t have enough extra to be able to perfectly line up the print. Hardly noticeable at first, we think it has a unique style and doesn’t detract from the overall design.
When she ran out of paper for the basement landing, she painted part of the wall a complimentary color and cut out some of the wallpaper flowers to continue the design.
Around the corner, she saved a final scrap of paper (every inch was used in this project) and attached it to an art canvas.
Wallpapering is not new to Kay. As children, Kay and her sister spent countless hours watching their father wallpaper their whole house — handing him tools and helping carry the pasted wallpaper from the work table to the wall. They watched him so many times, that when Kay was ready to try her first wallpaper project, she knew exactly what to do (and what not to do). She wallpapered her first apartment while living in Germany 20 years ago.
If you have never wallpapered before, Kay’s suggestion: “Work with a partner, a second set of hands will definitely come in handy. Do not choose a paper with a complicated pattern, which will be more difficult to match. Rather than starting with a big project like a whole room, start with a smaller area. Ideally pick a wall (or part of a wall) without windows or doors, so the whole project will be pretty straight forward. Make sure to have the right tools: Smoothing tool, wallpaper brush, seam roller, cutting knife, paste brush.”
There are many different kinds of paper, and each one requires a different application method. For traditional paste papers, the paste is applied to the paper. For other papers, like the ones from Ferm Living, the paste is applied directly to the wall, which makes the wallpapering much easier. In Kay’s case, she applied the paste directly to the wall. It took her about four hours to complete the project.
If you’re a renter, Kay says there is a broad range of self-adhesive and easy-to-remove papers available. You can also use wallpaper on other surfaces such as bookcases, tables and shelves.
Looking for wallpaper sources? Here’s a few online sources Kay recommends:
- Ferm Living
- Farrow & Ball
- Graham Brown
- CB2 (just launched this week, available online and at the Georgetown store)
Stay tune for more of Kay’s house next week! Have you done any wallpapering in your house? Do you have any favorite sources for paper?