Yesterday I was watching one of my most-favorite-in-the-whole-wide-world decorating shows: Sarah's House. I heart you, Sarah Richardson! You and Tommy can come decorate any room in my house! Just don't bring the wallpaper...
See the latest design trend (again!) is to create a feature wall. This time instead of putting a bold paint choice on the wall, it's everything old is new again: wallpaper.
I beg you, don't do it.
I have spent so many hours with steam burning my arms, sweat dripping down my face, and sticky, gluey scraps of paper stuck to my arms, legs, the floor, and everything else. Then finally, after hours of scraping, gouging the wall, burning myself, cursing the previous homeowners, and scraping some more the wallpaper would finally be gone. The mess left behind was mind boggling. Gouged walls. Glue residue. It's misery folks.
I have a 2 part arguement on why, no matter how well you prep your walls, wallpaper will never be a good idea:
1. No matter how you look at it, you are glueing paper to your drywall. In order to get that paper unstuck you are going to have to use something wet: steam, chemicals, fabric softener, vinegar...something. Please note that the first part of drywall is DRY and it is NOT MEANT TO GET WET. Bad things happen to drywall when it gets wet and there is no way to remove wallpaper without really soaking the wall.
2. No matter how much you adore that wallpaper today, you will come to loathe it in 5 years. What? 5 Years? I must be crazy! Be honest, is there really any pattern that you can look at all over your walls, day in and day out, exposed to sunlight, dust, dirty fingerprints, scuff marks, nicks, and scratches that you can truly say you'll still love after 5 years? You may not hate the color, but you won't be able to stop staring at the small tear. You may still like the pattern, but that faded patch around the picture you moved will drive you to drink. Wallpaper is a decorating commitment my friend, and it's a commitment that designers don't have to make. They install it, it looks beautiful for the cameras, then they leave. Do they stare at it for 5 years? Nope. And if they decide to "freshen the look of the room" is it the designer who has to remove that wallpaper? Nope, that's what the crew is for.
Do you have a crew? Or will it be you, a scraper, a steamer, and a whole lot of elbow grease? That's what I thought.
But what if, even after everything I've said you still love a particular wallpaper? Here are 10 ideas of what you CAN do with wallpaper:
1. Cover an old picture, canvas, piece of plywood, or even cardboard with wallpaper and hang it on the wall.
2. Cover picture frames with it.
3. Cover boxes with it.
4. Make coasters, mattes, serving trays.
5. Matte it, frame it, and hang it artistically.
6. Cover photo albums, journals, and notebooks with it.
7. Wrap all your Christmas gifts in it.
8. Use it under your glass coffee table, desktop, or tabletop.
9. Cover your mousepad with it.
10. Cut it into strips and create napkin rings, candle holders, egg cups, and weave placemats with it.
Just don't glue it to your wall.