How To Survive Wallpaper Nightmares

After having wallpapered dozens of rooms, and of course removed just as much paper, I can tell you I’ve been through dream projects and nightmares as well.

However, between Matt’s and my experience, we can get you through any wallpaper dilemma and have you begging for more….wallpapering that is, not dilemmas.

Surviving Wallpaper Nightmares 11. Can I prime over paper and wallpaper over it?

Well, one of my earlier projects was a bathroom. The builder’s daughter had installed the original wallpaper, but she didn’t prepare the walls correctly. Instead of priming the walls and rolling on a wallpaper sizing, she simply installed the paper to the fresh drywall.

Well, those of you who have come across this know how I was feeling. Your blood starts to boil very early on in this project, and I have to say that I broke down and did the unthinkable. That’s right, I sanded down the rough edges I had created, and I oil base primed over the wallpaper. I know I should get forty lashes for doing that, but it was me or the drywall. And, being just a bit smarter than the drywall, I won.

Once the room was inhabitable again, (I think we all know that oil base primer doesn’t smell like roses) I was able to roll on the sizing, and then start the installation of the wall coverings.

2. Do I have to install the paper like it was shown in the wallpaper book?

I’d been mulling over the decision about where to put the two colors of wallpaper. In the wallpaper book, the darker color was on the top of a chair rail, and the lighter color was below. I was sure I wanted it the opposite way, but I was having the hardest time just doing it. If it was the other way in the wallpaper book, does that mean my way will look wrong? I’ve been an interior designer for nearly 35 years, and I still worry that my decisions might be wrong. If you’ve never made decisions like this before, allow yourself to be a little worried — it’s OK.

Surviving Wallpaper Nightmares 23. At what height should a border be installed in a bathroom?

Well, it just so happened that I was adding a border at chair rail height, and that’s when the third nightmare occurred. What is the correct height for a border in a bathroom? If it’s placed just above the countertop, a large border can look way too high for the commode. If the top of the border is lined up with the top of the back splash on the counter, the border can be hidden behind the commode, with none of the pattern showing up around the sink area. What a dilemma. In the end, I made the executive decision to allow the border to be cut through the middle to show part of it around the sink area and all of it to show at the commode.

You know, I agonized over that decision, asking everyone I knew to step into the bathroom with me, and in the end, the decorating police never showed up to arrest me for doing something wrong decoratively, or for priming over the paper!

Isn’t it awful the pressure we put on ourselves to do just the right thing when in decorating the answers aren’t always black and white. If I could equate it to our food preferences for a minute, just think of decorating as adding spices to your food. Matt loves soy sauce, and he adds it to just about everything he eats. He’s always asking me if I want some, and I always say “no thanks.” I like my food less complicated, and no one ever cares or comments about that, so why should our tastes or decisions in decorating be any different?

So the next time you are faced with a nightmare dilemma during a wallpapering project. Stop a moment and consider this. The decorating police will never show up at your door, it’s OK to put whichever wall covering wherever you want, and since you are the one who has to live with the results, use as much or as little soy sauce as you want.

Shari 

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