Photo by Jeffery Cross
Wallpaper an accent wall and brighten up your whole bathroom
- Drywall mud or spackle (if wall needs patching)
- Acrylic wallcovering primer with sizing
- Pre-pasted wallpaper
- Plastic drop cloths
- Ladder or step stool
- Rubber gloves, bucket, and sponge
- Household cleaner
- Putty knife (to apply patch material)
- Paint and water trays
- Roller, 9 inch or mini
- Synthetic-bristle brush, 1½ inch or 2 inch
- Tape measure and pencil
- Carpenter’s level
- Wallpaper brush
- Seam roller
- Wallpaper sponge
- Taping knife, 6 inch to 10 inch
- Single-edge razor blade
- Prep and prime. Position the drop cloths. Wearing gloves, wash the wall with water and the cleaner. Let dry. To patch any holes, apply the drywall mud or spackle with the putty knife. Let dry. Pour some primer with sizing into the tray and prime the wall, using the roller. At corners, switch to the synthetic-bristle brush. Let dry.
- Find the starting point. With the tape measure and the pencil, measure the wall’s width and mark the midpoint. Then, using the wallpaper roll as a guide, mark wallpaper-width increments across the wall from the mid-point to the edges. If less than half the paper’s width is left over at each corner, plan to center the first strip over the wall’s mid-point. Otherwise, plan to have the first two pieces flank the wall’s midpoint. In either case, use the pencil and the carpenter’s level to draw a vertical line ¼ inch to the left of where the left edge of the first strip will be (so the pencil mark won’t show in the seam).
- Cut the paper. Measure the wall’s height. On the floor, unroll a length of the paper. Choose what part of the pattern you want at the top of the wall. Allowing an extra 2 inches at the top and bottom, cut off the strip with the scissors. Unroll another length of wallpaper, line up the pattern with the first strip, and cut to length. Repeat for the remaining pieces.
- Paste. Roll one of the strips so the pasted side faces out. Add water to the wallpaper water tray. Submerge the rolled strip in the water. Grab the paper’s top edge and lift the sheet from the water as it unrolls. Place the strip right side down on the drop cloths. Loosely fold the top and bottom edges toward the center (a process known as “booking”), so no sticky side faces out. Wait the recommended booking time.
- Apply. Unfold the top half of the paper and align it with 2 inches extra at the top, ¼ inch to the right of the guide line (from step 2). Working your way down, smooth the paper against the wall with your fingertips and the wallpaper brush. Brush from the center toward the sides. Prepare and position the remaining sheets in the same way, butting the edges tightly together. About 15 minutes after you apply each sheet, roll over the edges with the seam roller. Wipe the wallpaper with the damp wallpaper sponge.
- Trim. To trim the top and bottom edges, place the taping knife over the wallpaper and press the tool’s thin edge into the corner. Trace against the edge with the razor blade, neatly slicing off the excess.