Wallpaper..DIY or Call a Pro?

Updated: Jul 12


Glam dining room Bethesda MD by Margaret Carroll Interiors - Wallpaper by InnovationsUSA

Is wallpaper coming back? Does anyone use wallpaper anymore?


The answer is a resounding Hell YASSS. In my opinion, it never went away. I’ve always been someone who loves to do dynamic, colorful, yet thoughtful design, but some clients are less daring. that's ok too! Even though some aren't as keen on brightly colored mid mod-Jonathan-Adler-Pop rooms, there are plenty of ways to create a fun focal wall in each and every room. That’s where wallpaper comes in!




Wallpaper is a place to add boldness like a gorgeous green jungle theme or a quiet serene classic like a textured grass cloth. How many times have you gone into someone's teeny tiny powder room where it had a gorgeous fun wallpaper and said 'oooooh I need this wallpaper in my life!' (not sure about you but this happens to me all the time!).


Credit: Designer Library -Washington DC - Wallpaper by Elitis

Now, I’m not even CLOSE to the professional paperhangers (yes that's a real word/profession) out there. Paper hanging is a skill that requires patience, attention to detail and lots and lots of years of experience. Something that almost anyone can do, however, is install temporary wallpaper to create a gorgeous statement in your powder room, laundry room, or really anywhere! I just installed one in a client’s bathroom and it looks amazing. (Just make sure to check the wallpaper to see if it can be installed in areas with moisture.)


Bathroom with temporary wallcovering

how do you add texture and interest to a plain wall?


There are so many different styles and variations of wallpaper that there is usually something that fits into someone's budget and style. Some that are $20 a roll and some that are $500 a roll. The more expensive papers that are out there are not the temporary/peel and stick kind but ones that are imported from around the globe and some that are even custom and handmade. Those are the ones that require a professional paperhanger. Additionally, the professionals know how much wallpaper they need based on the repeat, if your wall is level, and if your wall is smooth. They also know how to cut oddly angled corners and how to make seams look invisible.


Can I put up peel and stick wallpaper by myself? Where do you start when wallpapering a room? Can I use peel and stick wallpaper in the bathroom?

It’s SO easy - it really just takes patience and planning. I have personally installed temporary wallpaper in a couple clients' homes as well as my own home. It requires only a couple things…

  • Wallpaper

  • Cutting tool/Exacto knife and a VERY sharp blade

  • Wallpaper smoothing tool (Amazon has a million of them for sale)

  • A level preferably one that is at least 4 feet long

  • An extra set of hands

  • And lots and lots of patience and time

And some of these things to would be good to remember...

  1. Make sure your walls are smooth and level first. This is where the 4 foot long level comes in handy to confirm this. They are surprisingly inexpensive at Home Depot.

  2. Measure twice, cut ONCE! Wallpaper is $$ so this is where patience comes in. I like to measure the wall first and cut the paper at least two to three inches extra at the bottom - just in case you need to shift things up or down. Once one panel has been done, check the next panel for the exact match, and then cut the panel again for the correct length.

  3. Start at a corner - unless it's a mural. If I am flying solo, I use painter's tape on the sides to hold it in place. I then peel off 12 to 18 inches of backing. Then I get that portion in place so it holds the rest of the paper below.

  4. Time for the plastic wallpaper smoother thingy! The plastic tool works out the bubbles from top to bottom. Go over and over it a zillion times just to be sure the paper is adhered to the the wall. Then cut any remaining paper at the bottom with the Exacto knife. I usually use the wallpaper smoothing tool to hold it down and then use it as a guide.

  5. I tend to overlap the next panel by about 1/16 of an inch...usually you can't tell that there is a seam there.

  6. Once you have all the panels in, cut out the voids for light switches or outlets.

I hung this wallpaper! It took about 3 hours.

How long will peel and stick wallpaper last?

When I installed it in my old house, it lasted close to seven years. Since this was in the laundry room, ensuring the wallpaper would hold up in a moist environment was essential. Want to read all about my home as a "before" blog journey - see it here? And then a previous blog to where we are now !

Temporary Wallpaper by French Bull

Mandy Moore's Laundry Room by Sarah Sherman Samuel




Should I hire someone to hang wallpaper?

It may be time to call a professional paperhanger if one or more of the following apply:

  • The wallpaper is not peel and stick

  • You are not handy with an Exacto knife

  • You are doing a more complex wall mural

  • You don’t know how much paper you need

It is well worth the expense to hire a pro to hang wallpaper. They will know how much to order based on the pattern repeat, they will seam it to perfection, and they will sometimes prep the wall and get a Level 5 wall - the nicest, most perfectly smooth level of drywall you can get for the most successful wallpaper install. The most important part about hiring someone is that they will have the experience necessary and be familiar with all the different types of paper - grasscloth, bamboo, and silk.

Teen bedroom - Annapolis MD by Margaret Carroll Interiors - Wallcovering by Jaima Brown

NEED INSPIRATION FOR YOUR NEXT PROJECT? CHECK OUT MY ROUND UP OF MY FAVORITE WALLPAPERS:


What’s a blog post without some eye candy? Interior designers (and some fashion houses!) have been killing it by creating their own wallpaper. Peep the ones below that I am loving these days.

wallcovering by Kelly Wearstler

wallcovering by Orla Kiely
I have been stalking this wallpaper from Calico Wallpaper for years
wallcovering by Christian Lacroix

OHHHH and one last thing. I have been dying to match wallpaper with upholstery or drapery somewhere. If this is something you'd love in your home...contact me today!





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