Wallpapering With Decorative Paper

When I repainted the front hall and stairs this summer, on my to-do list was to also clean up the small little cabinet that holds the mail. This was a bright spot in an otherwise drudgerous task.

This little recessed nook, which is behind a cabinet door, was nasty. The plate that used to cover the interior side of the mail slot had gotten knocked loose and the mud and paint job looked like it had been done in the dark. 

I knew that this was a perfect spot to dress up with paper. Instead of using wallpaper, I instead opted to use sheets of decorative paper. I did this for a couple reasons. First of all, the space has 5 little walls, plus the ceiling -something that necessitated a lot of cuts, so the long format of wallpaper was actually going to be a burden. Second, I needed a pattern that was going to be forgiving with all those connecting corners, which meant that the less linear and more random the design, the better. 

I had all the tools and glue that I needed for this project from my earlier map wallpaper project. First though, I squared out the inside corners with a little bit of drywall mud, primed everything, and painted the floor and trim with satin paint.

After a mind boggling internet search, I decided on this paper, which came in 20x30" sheets, every one unique to the other. I very roughly estimated the footage I needed and ordered 7 sheets, erring on the side of plenty in case I screwed up (which I did).  

The paper had a deckled edge, which I initially thought was going to be an obstacle but in the end was a good thing for blending the seams. If I had been papering a space that was absolutely square, I would have re-cut the edge of the paper straight with a razor and aligned my edges. Instead I used a long metal ruler and a putty knife to tear all my cuts, which created a slightly feathered edge. The wankinesss going on in the corners called for some slight overlapping, which suited the fuzzy edge. Additionally, this paper is pretty thin and saturated easily, making it very fragile which made the edges almost pulp together in a way.  

I was glad to have ordered extra because I did make a mistake -on the ceiling. I made a template of the ceiling outline, and then when transferring it, I traced it onto the right side rather than the back side of the paper, which of course made it the mirror image of what it was supposed to be. Derp.  

After I finished papering, I made a wooden frame to cover the ugly inside slot. I thought it would be easier to add the frame second, rather than having to paper around it. I cut the mitres on my chop saw and filled the gaps with painters caulk. Primed and finished with satin paint. There's a tiny little spot on the inside of the mail slot which needs to be touched up with pale green to match the color of the exterior trim, which is how the rest of that slot interior is painted.

Using decorative sheets of paper as wallpaper worked well in this nook. There is no doubt that the variances in the paper are detectable if you are looking for that. This probably wouldn't look good on a large accent wall but for here I think it looks great. This small wallpapering project is also pretty easy technically, with a little practice, almost anyone could do this. 

As a side note, whenever I'm looking for more technical info when acquiring a new skill, I turn to Youtube. This guy was very informative about wallpapering in general.

I had also promised a little while back that I would photograph the finished entry hall so I am throwing that in here with this post.

Except the front door, which is vanished and is holding up nicely, I painted everything here -walls, ceiling, doors and trim.

Finally, without pontificating too much, one last note on "styling" because for some reason I feel compelled to say it. Obviously, when I'm posting photos, I've taken some care that there not be piles of life's debris lying about. On the other hand, I do not generally "style" my photos with additives that are not true to the reality at hand. I do this because I am more personally interested in looking at unfluffed spaces than ones that are completely manufactured for a pretty shot (and assume that others are too). I feel that with thoughtful design and reflection on how a space really functions, spaces can be inspiring while at the same time reflecting the realities of living, and that can be a good thing! 

So yes, I am aware that if I were acting as my own stylist, I would have placed a few pairs of Wellies next to that basket, and perhaps a nice copper umbrella stand next to the table, but in real life that would drive me nuts -at least the boots would. Anyway, I'm rambling.

Please weigh in if you have thoughts on the styling thing.


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