For Week 7 of the One Room Challenge, I’m showing off the process I went through for the floral wallpaper accent. I grew up wallpapering with my mom, and we always loved choosing new patterns. I fell in love with this Mocha & Blue Floral Wallpaper from Nextwallpaper a few months back, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Let me show you how the experience went…
(See the final Bathroom Reveal)
Getting Started: It’s All about the Kill Point
The *kill point* in wallpapering is the spot where the start & finish of your wallpaper meets. I’m starting with this because I think it’s the most important decision you’ll make before you begin. Imagine wrapping a gift–have you ever had the pattern match up when you bring the edges of the paper together? It’s magical, but rare. Now, bring yourself back to wallpaper. Where can you bring the wallpaper edges together in an inconspicuous spot, in case you have to doctor it up?
My project is a tiny bathroom, so adding a floral wallpaper is going to be dramatic, but the kill point had me sweating. I finally decided that above the doorway would be the easiest. It’s only 13 inches of space, and quite unnoticeable. To do the kill point, and start to the left of the door…
I Had to Go the *Wrong Way*
Most advice will tell you to wallpaper left to right–that feels natural, since that’s how we read. But, because of the kill point I chose, I had to go right to left. I don’t think it matters, but you have to decide what you’ll do ahead of time so you can make a plan.
Tools & Materials:
- Tape Measure
- Exacto Knife/Razor Blade (New Blades!)
- Wallpaper Smoothing Tools
Start with a Straight Line
You’ll need a level and a pencil to get started with this project–the longer, the better. Because I wanted to start to the left of the door, I used the tape measure to measure out the width of the wallpaper, just slightly short of the width, so there would be a tiny bit of overlap on the door frame that I could cut off with the razor blade for a clean edge. I used the level to create a “guide” line from ceiling to the top of the board and batten.
Cut the First Piece
Find an open floor area to make your cuts. Measure the length you’ll need to cover + add a few inches for a little bit of overhang on the top and bottom. Using your pencil, write the word “top” on the backing paper for the top of the paper. I did this with almost all of my cuts–it was helpful as I got in place to peel the backing off before installing.
Use a square to mark a 90º cut line, using the outside edge of the paper as a guide to keep it straight. I just used regular scissors to cut along the line.
Match & Cut the Next Section
Once the first cut is made, I recommend flipping it over to the patterned side, then lining up the paper to cut the next section.
This is a good habit to start. But, don’t do multiple ones in a row…it’s easy to make mistakes. I would cut the length, flip it over, match the pattern, mark on the new section where the cuts need to be made and then go install the one that had just been cut. Repeat this process, working with two sections at a time. Make sure you are lining up the pattern on the floor prior to cutting. I accidentally cut a section ONE time without doing that, and it screwed up the pattern for that section, so I had to fix it.
Install the Floral Wallpaper
I found it worked best to peel away one corner about 6-8 inches, then peel the other corner. Holding the right and left top corners with one hand each, I applied the top of the paper, checking to see if it was lining up against my side guide line that I had drawn. Remember to leave a slight overlap at the ceiling an inch or so, that way you can make a clean cut with the razor.
I started smoothing it down from the top, smoothing from the center, out to each side. As I got down to where the paper was attached, I slowly peeled it straight down, smoothing again from the center out to each side as I went. I continually checked the guide line. The great news about peel and stick wallpaper is that if you make a mistake with lining something up, just peel it right off and try again!
Lining Up the Pattern
Some wallpaper patterns are easier to work with than others. This floral wallpaper is detailed, so this would be considered more of a “medium” challenge, but it’s easy enough for even a first-timer to do. If you haven’t wallpapered before, don’t let it scare you! You may want to enlist the help of another person–an extra set of hands could be helpful so you can get used to lining up the pattern more easily.
There were definitely times that I installed from the top, but more often than not, I started by installing closer to the center edge where the patterns met, then fanning out from there. You’ll find that certain patterns in the paper will guide you–they stand out more than other spots. For me, it was these small, brown triangular shades areas that guided me through each section. With wallpaper patterns, you don’t have to be perfectly perfect. There will be spots here and there that it might not be exact, due to stretching a bit. Trust me–it will look amazing. Peel it off and try again if need be, but in the end, one tiny spot being off won’t ruin the entire room.
Wallpapering Around Obstacles
When you’re wallpapering, there are going to be obstacles that you have to work around. In the case of a bathroom, you’ll have to think about wallpapering around things like vanity lighting, towel bars and shelving. If you want things to stay in the same place, you’ll have to be mindful of where the holes and items were already installed. Sometimes, it’s easy to find wall anchors behind wallpaper, and sometimes it’s not.
In this bathroom, I had floating shelves that had previously been installed, and I was planning on keeping them in the design. Of course, I wanted to use the same hardware already in place. As you can see, there were a lot of screws involved in hanging the shelf brackets, and I didn’t want to leave anything to chance, so I removed the shelves, but left the installation hardware in place. I just removed one side at a time, to prevent any mix-ups. With the hardware lined up in position and level, it was easy enough to install the screws into the existing anchors.
With the vanity lighting, we waited until after the wallpaper was installed before we put the lighting in place, since we changing out the fixture anyway. We had already removed the existing vanity light and replaced it with this temporary light–which was incredibly helpful so I didn’t have to bring in any additional lighting to work.
I started the installation of the wallpaper just like I did in every section, lining up the pattern, starting at the top. Once I smoothed it down to the vanity light area, I used my razor to cut an “X” in the wallpaper. I started small, making sure the cuts would line up over the bulb, then I sliced a hole large enough in the wallpaper to slip the light bulb through. Once the bulb was through, I continued on hanging the rest of that piece in place.
How to Wallpaper a Corner
Corners can seem tricky, but they don’t have to be. Don’t try to use the entire width of the wallpaper when you are working in a corner. With the paper backing still in place, dry fit the wallpaper with the pattern. Use your fingers/fingernails to gently score a line to show where the corner is on the pattern.
Find an open space on the floor to smooth out that scored corner line.
Cut slightly beyond where the corner lies, so that you can have an easy time matching up the cut off section.
You’ll find that the corner is very easy to install with just a small overlap to manage.
Use the “cut off” piece to match along the edge of the newly installed corner wallpaper.
Wallpapering Around the Door Frame
Don’t stress about making cuts in “L” shapes for the door frame. It’s not worth the time. I cut a small piece to match the wall pattern, ending the top of it just slightly above the door frame. I did extend it above, but then cut it quite close to the top of the door frame.
Then, I used a short, full width piece to match the pattern and cover over top of the door. Again, I extended the length an inch or so above and below the door frame and ceiling to make clean cuts.
The Kill Point
Do you see why I was so intent upon making the kill point happen above the door?!?!
It has to match on both sides. There’s a lot going on with this floral wallpaper…the details would either my demise or my success! I decided to put a piece in place that would continue the pattern over from right to left–and just *see* what it would look like.
The right side matches. The left does not. This is not a surprise. So, I got the scissors, and I tried to cut around the flowers on the left side.
I didn’t like the way it looked. So instead, I cut the flowers that I liked on the right side, making the kill point even smaller.
Now, my idea was to match the pattern on the left side.
I had my fingers crossed that the next cuts would bring both cut edges together.
It worked! The floral wallpaper sections fit together nicely…but not quite perfect.
That top flower looked a little too patchy for my taste. So, with a small section of leftover wallpaper, I cut out another one of those detailed “middle” flower sections to put over top.
You’ll see it in the design, and if you know what you’re looking for, you’ll find it. But, if you don’t? It’s honestly hard to even notice. This was the magical ending I had dreamed of–and never thought I would achieve!
Since I did the wallpaper early on, I can show off how it looks with the board & batten. I’m in love!
The Final Bathroom Reveal turned out so good!
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