When we moved into our new house, I had grand plans for our master bedroom. I envisioned a fabulous textured wallpaper accent wall, a new bed with upholstered headboard, and a cushy area rug to greet our feet in the morning. Two years later, and the accent wall is blank, the drywall is our headboard, and the hardwood floors are bare. Now that the kitchen makeover is complete, it’s time to give our master bedroom the attention it deserves!
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A few months ago, I put together an inspiration board for the master bedroom of my dreams. My husband decided he didn’t like the navy blue and gray color scheme (*sniff*), so my challenge now is to work with the red and beige we already have.
The first step to injecting some new life into the space was to install a wallpaper accent wall behind the bed. I purchased this amazing textured wallpaper by Graham & Brown when we first moved in. The rolls sat in the corner for almost two years before today!
Materials for Applying Textured Wallpaper
How to Create a Textured Wallpaper Accent Wall
I brought a sample of the wallpaper to Home Depot to be color matched for paint. All the walls of the room were painted the lightest color of the wallpaper pattern. If the wallpaper shrinks or leaves a gap, it will be camouflaged by the matching paint underneath. Our upstairs bathroom was wallpapered by the former owner, and you can see the wall color in the seams. Have no fear, this ugly wallpaper’s days are numbered!
Once the paint was dry (I waited a full day), I marked up the wall for the first strip of wallpaper. This wallpaper is 20 inches wide, so I measured out 18 inches from the corner. I used a level to draw a straight vertical line from floor to ceiling.
Next, I used painter’s tape to attach the wallpaper to the ceiling, then just let the roll drop to the ground. Leave a few extra inches at the top and bottom. Cut off the first piece and set aside, keeping it flat.
This type of wallpaper calls for pasting the wall, which makes installation super easy! Using the wallpaper paste brush, coat the section of wall from your marking to the corner. Paste slightly further than the marking as well so there is plenty of adhesive at the seams. This will prevent the edges from curling up.
Line up the edge of the wallpaper with your marking, making sure to keep a few extra inches at the top and bottom. This first piece will wrap around the corner, and that’s ok. Walls are never perfectly straight, so trimming to fit is easier than trying to line up the edge of the wallpaper with a wonky corner!
Be careful when smoothing out textured wallpaper! I used a wallpaper smoothing brush rather than a hard plastic smoother to prevent smooshing down the texture. Brush out any air bubbles or wrinkles, making sure to brush from every direction, not just straight down.
With everything smooth and straight, trim the excess. Using a straight edge, like a wide putty knife, press down tight into the corner. Slide the razor blade along the edge, then keep the point in the wallpaper while you move the putty knife down to the next section. This creates a continuous cut rather than a series of jagged stops and starts.
Keep that blade sharp! I switched out dull blades after every 2-3 strips of wallpaper because it would get gunked up with wallpaper paste. Snap-off blades make this process easy!
Wipe off any excess wallpaper paste with clean water and a wallpaper sponge. This is also your last chance to get those air bubbles out before applying the next piece!
For the next strip of wallpaper, find the repeat in the pattern and match it to the strip already on the wall. I found it easier to apply the paste first, then pull the wallpaper up from the roll on the floor until I found the match. The paste dries slowly enough to allow you to slide your piece around until you get everything lined up exactly.
One word of warning: Try not to stretch the raised sections of this textured wallpaper when matching up the pattern. I found that the long L shaped parts wouldn’t match up with their counterparts on the adjoining strip until I puffed them back up a bit. Brush from different directions to avoid stretching.
Our weird house has an electrical outlet mounted on the outside of the wall, with conduit running between the two outlets. I appreciate having outlets on both sides of the bed, but would it have killed them to run it through the wall? I decided to cut off the wallpaper at the conduit and leave the section below painted. No one will see it behind the bed anyway, and it was a lot easier than trying to match up the pattern!
When I got to the other corner of the wall, I only needed a two inch wide strip to finish it off. Rather than wrestle with a huge sheet, I used left over pieces. I cut down each scrap to 2 inches wide, found the match and stuck it in behind the door trim. No one will see this part of the wall behind the door, and it was easier than trying to attach an 8 foot long sheet!
Boy, was I sore when I finished this project. Hanging wallpaper turned out to be a good arm workout! It took about three hours to complete this wall by myself, but it was totally worth it!
I can’t believe it took me two years to get up the courage to install this amazing textured wallpaper. The final result completely changed the feel of the room!
Edited to add: To protect our new textured wallpaper from scratches and bumps in the middle of the night, I created an upholstered leather headboard that attaches directly to the wall. I used the pattern of the wallpaper as inspiration for the stacked wood trim. You can see the complete tutorial here.
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