Monday, May 6, 2013

Decorate Responsibly

To any person, professional or otherwise, who may choose to do interior decorating:

Use wallpaper with good sense.
Wallpaper can be a quick (if you know how to hang it) way to decorate a room. It may add a pop to a bland space, or perhaps some texture to a wall. It can be a lovely accent around the room. But, please, be responsible in your decorating.

If there is any chance at all that you may get tired of the wall paper, think before you hang it. If you might decide to move out or die before the wallpaper has served its sentence on your walls, think before you hang it. If that wallpaper is just so quirky that only you could love it, think of the people who will one day move into your residence after you have moved out of it. Will they love it, too? Or will it be the bane of their existence?

If you did decide to go ahead and hang that wallpaper, no matter how awesome and shiny that textured wallpaper may be, realize that you may tire of it. Fast forward your life. Suddenly, the teenage kid who really, really needed that wallpaper has moved on. How do we fix this? We have walls marred with your decorating choice. What's that? Paint over it, you say? Easy. No messing with glue removal, no priming the walls, just slap a coat of your favorite grey tinted white paint and you are all done. Now you have painted walls with a nifty design in them! WOW, what a great deal! Who knew that textured wallpaper could serve such a purpose? Your friends and coworkers will be amazed at how easy it was to fix it!

Ahem. Are you kidding me? There is a much better way. I have a friend who told me that the easiest way to remove wallpaper is to spray it with vinegar. The wallpaper practically falls off. Unless, of course you PAINTED it first! Then, of course the vinegar cannot penetrate the paint layer, thus leaving you to tear it all down by hand and THEN scrape off the backing that remains. Don't forget to spray it with the vinegar. It helps eliminate the leftover scraps on the walls.

One more thing.
If you have hung a lovely wallpaper border around the top of your walls, and then later decide to change the wall color, while leaving the border hung, mask it off. If you are afraid that painters tape will later tear the border when you remove the tape, then use a putty knife or other straight edge to cover the border when you paint up to the paper. You will then have less chance of leaving the old wall color showing and also leave the paper unpainted. If, however, the border is slightly peeling at the seams or top/bottom edges, it is time to remove it (using vinegar) before you paint. Then you may purchase a new border to apply after the paint has dried--you may even use the same one!

These tips may help you enjoy the time you have with your wallpaper. You won't look at it and wish that there weren't paint blotches all over the border. You will be happy with they way that awesome textured wallpaper looks as it drifts to the floor before you repaint the room. And it will ensure that the future residents of your current home aren't spending hours (4) peeling and scraping off your mistakes. Wallpaper can be a good thing if used responsibly. But it can also be a nightmare if it is not. Thank you.


Elizabeth said...

So, Jill, did you take wallpaper down from the kitchen? And/or other places?

I haven't seen your basement re-do yet. I think I need to come and visit.

Also, good tip about the vinegar. Very good indeed.

You know, they make this nifty vinyl stick on stuff for borders now. It is easily applied, easily removed and doesn't leave a residue behind.

xo -E

Jill said...

Nope, it was painted, textured wallpaper in the basement bedroom, the only room that we didn't put up new walls in.
But the kitchen border may be next...