Wallpaper is Back?!

Using wall-covering again is a controversial issue if you have had that nightmare of stripping and fixing the walls.

Like it or not, wallpaper has made its comeback.  

Whether it's in all of the nicer magazines like Traditional Home, Architectural Digest or Southern Accents, or you have Candace Olson saying it on the Today Show; if you can do nothing else, add wall-covering.  

Wall-covering is this season's decorative touch that we remember not always so fondly. Most of us have had the experience to try and strip the "ugly" papers for the last 10 or so years. The coordinating stripes and florals, and the borders, however, are not back.

The problem is that when wallpapers was installed by builders 15-20 years ago, most of the time the walls were not prepared properly due to the haste when these homes were built.  

Unfortunately, corners were cut, and unless you specifically asked and paid extra, the drywall was not primed and the paper was pasted directly on the surface. This made it nearly impossible to remove without taking off parts of the drywall paper, and gouging into the wall. The only true fix was to completely re-skim coat the walls with drywall mud to get smooth again to prepare for painting.

Another solution to getting rid of old paper was to re-paper over the first layer once or twice. Which made the next homeowner despise paper even more when they are trying to strip two to three layers. When the trend changed to less paper and more paint, homeowners tried to get that quick fix by painting over the paper. It can be done, but it is not always the recommended answer by professionals. It puts a band-aid over the issue, but is not a good solution long term because it can bubble up or accentuate the seams when painted.  

Now that we have addressed the hatred of paper, you have to admit the new patterns and textures are gorgeous. They can add a unique touch to a space, but as with everything else, moderation should be applied. Choose a special wall-covering in a powder room, formal dining room, or bath. It can be used like a fabric to pull several paint colors together. Adding a grass-cloth or textured paper in built-ins or in a coffered ceiling can really make a great statement. It will only require a few rolls, but gives the room that "wow" factor.  

Installation of wall-covering can be difficult, so hire an installer. They do it every day and will prepare the walls, so if you want to change it won't be such a nightmare.  

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The Scarlet Pimpernel October 23, 2011 at 03:22 AM
I painted the wall paper with oil based primer 2 coats, then painted right over it..you'd never know
Judy Putnam October 23, 2011 at 02:32 PM
Theresa, I tried the same methods for removing wallpaper - and got the same results. I don't care how fashionable it may be, I'm not putting wallpaper up again. I think the advice from "The Dude" makes the most sense.
Lisa Kuebler October 23, 2011 at 05:59 PM
I also painted over mine (well, we're still in the process...we bought a house that, unfortunately, was trapped somewhere between 1970 and 1982 as far as decor was concerned). We're getting there. I followed instructions I found online for painting over wallpaper, which involved sealing the seams, sanding, and then painting with two coats of oil-based primer before painting. Time consuming, but I still think I saved a lot of headaches and hassle over trying to remove the paper!
S. Ahmad October 25, 2011 at 11:44 AM
I have heard about a product and then saw it on HGTV where it has now become easier to take the wall paper off. You spray it and leave it for about 20 minutes and it comes off easy. Of course you have to pay a little price for change. Personally, I love the wide variety that is available now and would like to have them somewhere in my house :)
Lori Sawaya October 25, 2011 at 09:41 PM
I love wallpaper. My tip for making it DIY and removable friendly is to prep the walls with GARDZ from Zinnser. It's better than the products intended to "size" the walls. GARDZ helps with installation and is INVALUABLE at removal. For removal I spec a product called Safe & Simple. GARDZ on the front end and Safe & Simple on the back, turn wallpaper into an experience to be enjoyed in decor instead of dreaded.


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