A Whimsical Wallpaper + Five Hours = A Bold Entryway Refresh
For the past year, my entry-way went through its awkward teen years.
Since I finished my kitchen reno (which was nearly a year ago to the day), I had intended to do something with this wall along my entry. In the reno process, I updated my electrical and painted, and because I intended to fix this wall much sooner, I was sloppy with my paint and never patched or painted around the electrical plates.
Then a year passed.
But I’m glad I can finally say that it’s done! It took a year for me to figure out what to do with this span of wall, but better late than never! Why did it take so long, you ask? Well, I knew I didn’t want to paint it the same hue I used everywhere else, but I also didn’t want to keep it as a painted accent wall. Somewhere along the road of life, I decided I don’t like painted accent walls — but, that I do enjoy feature walls when they’re outfitted in wallpaper, a wood feature like shiplap, or a mural.
I fell for the idea of wallpapering the run of wall, and then fell even harder when I found Unison Home’s Sashi Geo wallpaper. So when I found myself with a day off last week, my mom came over to lend a hand (thanks mom!) and we transformed my entry-way in mere hours. The rest of this post will show before and after shots, and near the bottom, I’ve shared my process, tips, and tricks.
Marvel at this Before + After!
The screen-printed copper pattern wallpaper looks hand-painted and imperfect in a perfect way. I just love how it reads like polka-dots from afar, but it’s still very bold and mature. It’s whimsical while still being sophisticated. Win-win.
I literally kept everything else you see in the before shots. All credit for this transformation goes to the wallpaper! I did however spray-paint my coat hooks in Krylon’s ColorMaster Metallic paint in Rose Gold to match. (I can’t find the rose gold online, but this copper metallic paint one would be a lovely substitute.) And fear not, the rack isn’t authentic Eames, so don’t panic, guys! It’s actually this $80 reproduction I found on Amazon, so I didn’t feel bad painting it.
The bag is from Opelle and the artwork is by James Jean. And for anyone wondering about my greenery, the little plant is a Mother of Thousands and the big one is an Umbrella Tree. I found the wire cage house from a thrift store, and you can buy the wood figurine here.
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty process of wallpapering, shall we? Hint: It’s not super fun.
First, you have to figure out how much wallpaper you need and gather your materials. I got two rolls and have plenty of leftover, but do order about 15-20% more than your surface needs for waste. This particular paper was very forgiving in terms of lining up the pattern, but some papers require you to toss out whole sheets in order to find the one that you need to match up.
Here are the materials I used: a cutting mat, a square (or stiff square paper to use as a square like I did), a sharp utility knife, a long straight edge or ruler, a measuring tape, wallpaper glue, a stiff flat bristle brush, a seam roller, a good sponge, and *not pictured* a smoothing brush or tool, stepstool, and a level.
Next, I cleared off the wall in question. That included removing any electrical outlet plates, patching any holes, and then doing a wipe-down with a damp cloth to give the paper a good solid surface to stick to.
Next, dry-fit your sheets of wallpaper and figure out the best solution seam-wise for your space before cutting and committing! You can start from either left or right, and we decided to start from the right because starting from the left meant ending the paper with a 2″ strip — which would have been a big blunder.
Once you have your start point, cut the paper to length leaving a half inch or so on all sides for wiggle room (you can trim it perfectly once it’s in place)!
Note that if this is your first piece, you can place the sheet on the wall as is — starting right at the top of the sheet. However if this is any other sheet and you’re matching up to the first few sheets laid, be sure to factor in the repeat pattern. This may mean trimming off a foot or so depending on your paper. Once trimmed, dry fit it once again to ensure no mistakes.
Next is glue time! This particular paper is not pre-glued, so I mixed my own batch of glue using a powdered wallpaper adhesive and water.
Apply the glue to the back of the paper and be sure to get it everywhere — especially along the edges. Then blanket the paper by folding it onto itself over and over (as seen above) and let it rest for 5-7 minutes.
After it’s rested, place your sheet on the wall, top-first. It’s handy to have a helper hold the middle and bottom of the sheet away from the wall while you get the top level. Once it’s level and at the right spot pattern-wise, gently help it fall against the wall from the top down.
This process is messy, and don’t fear the glue everywhere — you wash it off later! Above, you can see where we landed after applying two strips. As you can see, we left overhang on the top as well as the right side along the opening. This photo was taken just after trimming the paper to fit the opening (see the thin floor scraps).
After applying each sheet, smooth it out with a smoothing tool to get rid of any air bubbles. Try not to push too hard or you’ll stretch the paper. Be gentle and ease the air out in the direction of whatever side you have yet to match up to. In my case, that meant pushing the air out on the left side.
Once the paper is smooth, use a seam roller along any edges and where two sheet meet to get them flat and seamless.
Repeat the above steps until you’re done! Once finished, wash the paper down with a damp sponge to get rid of any excess glue and do any remaining trimming.
And you’re done!
Now decorate, place furniture, and accessorize.