Expert advice from Bob Vila, the most trusted name in home improvement, home remodeling, home repair, and DIY.

Bob's Bloggers

A community of bloggers who live and die to DIY

diy, paint

DIY Room Update with Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper

By House*Tweaking on Apr 09, 2013


Some of you noticed the black and white horizontal wall stripes in the boys’ bedroom. Good eye! Would you believe the striped accent wall is the result of peel-and-stick wallpaper? Well, it is.

The boys’ room is set up to keep the middle of the room open for floor play – a big necessity when the room doubles as the playroom. Originally, we were thinking of DIYing a desk along the wall opposite the bunk beds. But over the last several months, I’ve discovered that it’s much easier to help the kids with homework and crafts out in the main living areas. {Typically, we use the kitchen island or dining table for homework and crafting.} So we nixed the desk idea and opted for bookcases along the wall to hold toys, costumes, books and more. More on those later…


With the bunk and small dresser on one wall and two tall bookcases on the opposite wall, the room was starting to feel a bit galley-ish. I’m sure you’ve heard of a galley kitchen. Is there such a thing as a galley bedroom? I started thinking about adding something to the far window wall to make the room feel wider. That’s when I discovered the peel and stick wallpaper by Chasing Paper. At the time, the company hadn’t rolled out the new product and was looking for DIYers to try it and give them feedback. You know how I like DIY and feedback. One thing led to another. I chose a simple stripe in black and white hoping a horizontal application would give the optical illusion of a wider room. Here’s how it all went down.



To prep, we removed furniture, outlet covers and one of the boys’ book ledges – all of which were on the wall to be wallpapered.


I wiped the wall down with a damp microfiber cloth and let it dry completely. This step ensures good wall-to-wallpaper contact.


The wallpaper comes in 2′ x 4′ precut sections. Essentially, it’s one huge sticker. You just remove the backing and press the wallpaper onto the wall. I’ve worked with traditional wallpaper before and this peel-and-stick stuff is SO MUCH EASIER. No long and winding rolls of paper to get tangled up in, no dripping adhesive. Still, I found it helpful to have a second set of hands. My husband – and the three kiddos! – was/were at my disposal.


We started in the upper left-hand corner of the wall. I used a tape measure, level and pencil to draw a horizontal pencil line to line up the bottom of the first section. My husband mentioned something about leveling each and every section but that sounded too engineer-ish to my impatient self. I figured if the first section was level and we based all of the other sections off of it, then everything would be fine. Maybe not perfect but good enough. {Yes, Everett is wearing a Batman t-shirt tucked into underwear. He has the personality to pull off the look.}


One row of wallpaper in and we were on a roll!


Three sections got us ~6″ short of the entire width of the wall. We used a sharp utility knife {a razor blade would work too} to cut a small piece to get us just past the corner. We decided to leave a bit of overhang at the end of each row in this corner and trim them all together at the end for a nice, straight edge.


At the window, I wallpapered up to the window then my husband carefully cut the wallpaper while I held the wallpaper taut.




Three rows in and we had a good technique down.


I would peel one side of the wallpaper away from the backing, get it all lined up then my husband would slowly pull the backing away from the rest of the section while I smoothed out the wallpaper. We took it maybe 8″ at a time. If we got too ahead ourselves, we found that resulted in lots of air bubbles under the wallpaper. If we did get a bubble, all we had to do was peel back the paper to the bubble, release the air, and re-smooth. Super easy, but even more so if you avoid getting too many bubbles in the first place.


One thing I noticed while we were working…too little overlap of neighboring sections caused a small line of the painted wall to show through and too much overlap resulted in a slightly visible seam. I’m guessing the wallpaper works best on white walls. {Ours was a taupe-y gray.} Now you know.


Once the wall was covered, there was trimming to do – at the baseboard and at the right-hand corner.



We simply cut along the baseboard edge and corner with the utility knife then pulled the trimmed wallpaper away.


Super clean edges and super easy!


When we were done, only a small section of wallpaper remained. Thank goodness for measuring twice! Oh, and for fun my husband checked the rest of the stripes with his level when we completed the wall. Such an engineer! Guess what? They were spot on.


Somehow in the chaos that is DIY + three kids, I managed to not take a picture of the finished product right after. I think we were all hungry. We – the boys included – are crazy over the results. The horizontal stripes really do make their room feel wider and larger. I’ve yet to meet a stripe I didn’t like.

My husband asked what was the benefit of wallpapering the stripes versus painting them. Obviously, removable wallpaper {did I mention you can remove this stuff without damaging the wall underneath?!} is geared towards renters, dorm residents or even those of you in military housing. When you move, pull it up and take it with you if you want. Just save the backing papers! But I have to say, the quality of the wallpaper gives a depth and crispness to the stripes that wouldn’t be exactly the same with paint. The company also offers plenty of other patterns that would be much harder to duplicate with paint.

If you’re thinking of trying this new peel-and-stick wallpaper, here are my thoughts:

*Make it a two person job.

*Start with a clean, smooth, white wall. I don’t think this wallpaper would be a good option for bumpy or rough walls.

*Level your first section of wallpaper and go from there.

*Work in small sections, removing the backing paper and smoothing slowly.

*Don’t overstretch the wallpaper. The paper does have some stretch to it.

*For the cleanest cuts, use a sharp utility knife or razor blade.

*Wallpaper is not only for walls! Try framing it, covering an unsightly outdated appliance, lining a basic tray or adding life to vinyl rollup shades.

Hop on over to Chasing Paper to view the entire product line.

UPDATE:Initially, I thought the wallpaper was constructed of vinyl but after clarifying with Chasing Paper, the wallpaper is actually constructed of PVC free fabric {!} NOT vinyl and printed with latex ink. So sorry for the confusion! Still, I did allow the paper to off gas in the garage for several weeks before installation and aired out the room after installation by cracking the windows for a day or so. When we recently returned home from vacation, there was no odor in the boys’ room even after being closed up for 10+ days. Hope that clears up any concerns!

Visit House*Tweaking »

blog comments powered by Disqus