Say Yes to The Wallpaper!

June 21 - Kathryn Zaremba

Do you want to wallpaper your space but are too terrified to do it? Check out these five tips from our Woman to Watch, Kate Zaremba, for saying yes to wallpaper—and putting it up all by yourself.

Wallpaper is hands down one of the best ways to add an artful, decorative vibe to a home, office or commercial environment. It alters a room’s appeal and adds a cozy feel without taking up any space at all! But like that Chanel handbag you are too terrified to take out of its pouch, wallpaper often sits in a corner until you finally hire a professional to put it up. I am here to tell you that it isn’t that hard and you can do it yourself. Consider these five tips:

It’s just paper!

Unless you fall off the ladder and take the wallpaper with you or have hands made of scissors, I promise you aren’t going to hurt it. As long as you handle it with care and keep your cool, everything will work out fine.

Prepare your space.

I make the kind of wallpaper that gets moistened before you place and smooth it onto a wall. The water activates a nontoxic, non-permanent adhesive on the back of the paper. Even if you are applying a permanent paste to the back of your wallpaper, the process is not as daunting as you think. If you’ve taken the appropriate measures to set up your work space properly and have the basic materials on hand for the job, you should have no problems. See my list of materials here.

Match up the pattern.

All wallpaper is made to be matched up. But don’t worry! It’s a lot like a puzzle. Take a little time, as you would if your were working a 500-piece van Gogh puzzle with Grandma, to see how the pattern aligns and repeats prior to wetting or adding any adhesive. Once you understand how the repeat matches throughout the print, you will be able to see it and match it up with greater speed and certainty as you go along.

Smoothing and trimming is actually the best part.

Here is where you get to admire and put the finishing touches on your work. Small bubbles are no big deal! Leave those. They will flatten as the paper dries. You do want to smooth out large air pockets, but I promise the little bubs are no prob. Trim the bottom edge once the paper has had 30 minutes to an hour to dry. Wet paper is hard to cut.

Take note of switches and sockets.

The paper will expand a bit once it’s wet. So wait until you have put the panel onto the wall to cut around light sockets and switches. Always remove the cover plates before you begin. This means you don’t have to perfectly cut around the edges but rather you can crudely cut a hole for the sockets and switches before covering up the damage you’ve done with the plate. Final note: When trimming around sockets and switches, I always cut a little “X” into the paper to mark the spot where the socket or switch is before I start to trim the final opening.

To learn more about Kate's story and her wallpaper company, Kate Zaremba Company, click here!

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