Why Not . . . Wallpaper?

Apr 23, 2014


Formality, decisiveness, creativity and a story are all things that come to mind when I think of wallpaper. With a resolute certainty, paper covers walls that have seen and heard endless stories of the lives that have walked by them whether the paper is found in homes, museums, estates or community gathering areas.

Wallpaper requires commitment, after all, one can’t simply paint over it or start again without digging deep into their budget and one certainly cannot half-heartedly do the necessary work that is required when pasting and hanging it on the walls. So today, I thought I’d share with you how and why you may just want to find the courage and the gumption to wallpaper. After all, if I can do it, you can too.


TSLL Home Tour continues today, and I am giddy over the last room I’ve been patiently waiting to reveal. While I don’t have any “before” photos, let me try to explain how drastically the hallway in my master suite has changed. Upon moving in eight years ago, the trim, built-in shelves and cupboard were a polished dark wood. The walls were covered with vinyl off-white and gold wallpaper and the light-fixture was dated and flush to the ceiling. Since the hallway was so tucked away and dark, I wanted to lightened it up and allow it to be the thematic hinge that connected my dining room and my master bedroom and bath.

I’ve known for years that I wanted to wallpaper, but it took some time to work up the nerve and make the decision to do. And while I’ve wanted to paint the trim, I was anxious to take it on, wondering if my imagination was leading me astray. Well, the opportunity presented itself in February when the London based interior design company Turner Pocock  contacted me and was kind enough to allow me to choose wallpaper to be spotlighted in my hallway make-over. Choosing the Ibis in Neutral, my goal was to create a tranquil, yet light-infused passage way that led to my bath, boudoir and office – all places where I go to unwind or create.

Upon arrival, the wallpaper exceeded my expectations – top quality paper that was easy to match from one row to the next. And as you will see, each bird has a subtle sheen to it that adds an additional glamour to the simple aesthetic.

“A home should be a distillation of your interests, of who you really are. If you’re happy with your life, your space will reflect that.”Designer Rafael de Cárdenas

While a hallway offers little space to personalize, the inclusion of nature on the wallpaper and a framed picture of my dogs on the Oregon coast were simple ways to remind me of experiences that calm me down and make me smile. After all, our home should be our sanctuary, our place to find comfort and peace.

Since this was the first time I had wallpapered, I wanted to learn as much as I could, so I brought in the help of an experienced wall-paperer, my mother. And here are some invaluable tips I have learned and found to be vital information to know prior to tackling a wall-papering project:

1. Measure, Measure and Measure Again 

Most likely you will need one more roll, and possibly two, than you initially think. I learned this the hard way as I had to order an additional roll after my two quickly ran out. Turner Pocock were very gracious and quickly sent another roll across the pond and the country so that I could complete the project (thus the two week delay in the series). Now if you aren’t matching a pattern, you won’t run up against this problem as quickly and unexpectedly as I did; however, still measure one more time just to be sure.

2. Prep the Wall

Use TSP all-purpose cleaner to clean the walls prior to applying wallpaper. No matter how clean they look, you want to make sure to strip them of any oil, grease, dust or dirt to ensure that the wallpaper stays where you put it.

3. Fabric Softener to Remove Old Wallpaper

If you are needing to remove old wallpaper prior to hanging your new design, mix water with fabric softener, and using a spray bottle, spray the wallpaper to help loosen the dried paste. Some will come off easier than others, but this will certainly help.

4. Use a Steel Square

In order to make sure the lines you draw on your wallpaper indicating where to cut are straight and level, use a Steel Framing Square.

5. Have the Necessary Tools at the Ready

6. Turn the Electricity Off

If you’re going to be working around outlets and light fixtures, turn off the electricity so as not to electrocute yourself.

7. Don’t Skimp on the Paste

I quickly discovered that I should be liberal with the wallpaper paste. After all, the excess can be worked out when you are smoothing it onto the wall.

8. Paint All Trim First

If, like me, you will be painting the trim, do so first before putting up the wallpaper in order to prevent any paint from accidentally landing on the wallpaper.

9. Have Patience

While my hallway could have been done in a day if we had had enough wallpaper, it would have been a very long day. Allow yourself a couple of days so that the job is done well.

10. Expect to be Dazzled

While I love painting as it has transformational powers all of its own and is quite simple, wallpaper offers a powerful change.

Don’t be intimidated by its finality. If you choose the proper wallpaper and accessorize well according to your signature style, you will be glad you made the decision to bring wallpaper into your home. If you’re not sure you want a large room to be wallpapered, start in a small powder room where it will make a powerful statement, but can be tucked away if it seems to be too much.

However, I have a feeling you will quickly discover you too like the presence of the paper. With so many new, beautiful, modern, as well as retro designs now available, finding the perfect paper for your home is easier than ever. Turner Pocock offers a wonderful Bespoke service where you can tailor the color to precisely what will work in your home, and with all of their animal prints laid out in such a formal, subtle manner, you can quickly have a beautiful backdrop that upon closer inspection is an instant conversation started.

Now for the final room tour of TSLL Home . . .

4.23.14b  4.23.14e

4.23.14d  4.23.14f  4.23.14c  4.23.14g

~See the Rest of TSLL HOME TOUR:

~TSLL Office 

~TSLL Dining Room

~TSLL Living Room


~Semi Flush Ceiling Light Fixture – Euclid brushed Nickel with Classic 6-sided Acorn shade from Rejuvenation

~Turner & Pocock Ibis (neutral) wallpaper

~Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee (satin) for the trim, built-in closet and laundry shoot

~Hand-woven Lecce Vanilla wool runner rug via Overstock.com

~Porcelain single toggle switch plate from Rejuvenation

7 thoughts on “Why Not . . . Wallpaper?

  1. Dear Shannon,
    Thank you SO much for sharing this series about aspects of your beautiful home. You have such impeccable – and inspiring – taste. The ibis really seem to symbolise the freedom which a simply luxurious life can bring to all who live it. I am so glad I found your website, and I want to thank you for being such an inspiration. I am also an English teacher, and I love, love, love your blog!
    Thank you again.
    Best wishes,
    Anne in Ireland.

  2. I love wallpaper in a hallway and your hallway looks perfect. I would have selected the same wallpaper you selected. I really enjoy seeing how you have decorated your home.

  3. I think this is my favorite of your redecorating projects. Normally I am not a wallpaper fan, but this makes a dramatic impact and definitely lightens the space. Thank you for sharing your home with your readers, it’s been fun to see how your simply luxurious theories translate into everyday living. Enjoy your lovely “New” home!

  4. What a beautiful makeover! I LOVE your wallpaper choice and admit, I too, have wallpaper in my house. I love it as it as depth and character to the walls.


  5. Shannon, the pictures of your house speak of serenity and elegance. Really lovely! I too love wallpaper but haven’t found just the right spot for it in my current house.

    I do have one burning question: the chandelier in your bedroom is gorgeous. Would you mind sharing where you found it?


    1. The chandelier was found at a small boutique in Joseph, Oregon about 5 or 6 years ago. While I don’t where a similar can be found, what I’ve discovered is that quaint decor shops have surprising treasures. 🙂

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