Just because I’m an interior designer doesn’t mean I know everything about everything when it comes to home decorating. I learn a lot (and I mean a LOT) as I go, through trial and error and making mistakes. On the Bust Out of Boring show last week, I shared what I wish I’d known about removable wallpaper before using it for the first time. And I promised y’all a deeper dive here – with photos.
(Wait, you’re not tuning in to Bust Out of Boring on Monday mornings? Catch me live on Facebook and Instagram every Monday at 9amET answering your design Q’s and helping you create kickass homes you love.)
If the word “wallpaper” still conjures up bad memories of scraping outdated floral prints off of every surface in an older home, you’re not alone. Wallpaper has gotten a majorly bad rap because it used to be SO TEDIOUS to install – and take down.
Thankfully, wallpaper has come a long way.
Wallpapers are now easier to install, and much easier to remove than they used to be. But regardless, traditional papers are still quite permanent. When you glue something to a wall, it’s gonna be there for a while. That’s why I totally love removable wallpaper. It’s basically a giant vinyl sticker strip that’s stuck to the wall – and can then be easily peeled off with no damage to the wall surface underneath. Removable wallpaper is awesome for renters, or for an office where you can’t make any permanent changes.
Despite its advantages, here’s what I wish I’d known about removable wallpaper before I used it for the first time.
#1. Removable Wallpaper Isn’t Necessarily Cheaper
Oh, did you think giant stickers for your wall would be way less of an investment than traditional wallpaper? So did I. But that’s not always the case. If you’re thinking about using a removable wallpaper only because you think it’s gonna be cheap and cheerful, think again. The price may be more similar than you think to regular ol’ wallpaper. (But since you can DIY and don’t need an installer, it may work out to be more affordable in the end.)
#2. Installation Can Be A Little Tricky
For the wallpaper installation above, I hired a professional installer since the room has 10′ ceilings (and also because I didn’t want to mess it up!). My installer surprised me by saying this was one of the most difficult installations he had done.
Traditional wallpaper – installed by wetting a floor-to-ceiling length strip of paper with water and paste – has a lot of wiggle room to slide into place on the wall. If the strip of wallpaper is slightly crooked, it’s easy to shimmy it straight while it’s wet.
Removable wallpaper has no forgiveness. It’s gonna stick to that wall exactly where you place it. If it’s slightly crooked or the pattern doesn’t quite match, you’ve gotta peel up the whole strip and re-position it.
#3. Vinyl Is Stretchy.
I would have never thought of this unless my wallpaper installer had pointed it out, but as he was pulling and re-positioning the removable wallpaper, it would stretch ever so slightly. It may not look like much of a change, but when the vinyl stretches just a little bit, the pattern may not quite line up with what’s already been applied to the wall. He did a stellar job with the installation, but he admitted to me that there was one area he just could not get to match up properly. (Thankfully, it’s hidden behind the brass credenza.)
Most removable wallpapers are touted as “removable and re-positionable”, meaning they can be removed and re-applied somewhere else. However, experience has shown me that once they’ve been pulled off a wall, they’ve stretched enough to be nearly impossible to re-install well.
Removable wallpapers are cool, quick to install and remove, and super awesome for anyone who wants to jazz up their space but can’t make a permanent change. All of the wallpapers shown here are from Walls Need Love, one of my fave wallpaper vendors. They’re not sponsoring this post – I just dig ’em and think you might too.
What I wish I’d known about removable wallpaper is that it has its own quirks with installation and removal (so be prepared!), but it’s an awesome option for major impact with minor commitment.
👉 Don’t make the same mistakes I did! Learn from a design pro – check out more of Lesley’s hard-earned wisdom in the What I Wish I’d Known series.
I’ve been so excited to share this before and after of a fresh and cozy Waco living room with you! This client loves farmhouse vibes but wanted more color, pattern, and energy than just white, grey, and shiplap can bring to a space.
This living room was a total snooze-fest before, and didn’t reflect the client’s vibrant personality at all. With three kids and two dogs, this young family was craving a home with more function and waaaay more style. And I seriouly couldn’t wait to rip down that awful ceiling fan.
Here’s the living room, before:
The moodboard, to give the client an idea of what the finished space would feel like:
And of course, the living room after:
We intentionally kept the main furnishings neutral, so if the client ever wanted to change things up, new pillows and
Oh yeah. And just for fun, we designed this client’s stairwell too. It’s away from the main living area in the home, so we had a lot of fun choosing wallpaper and lighting for this “secret” space! These 20′ ceilings used to just be painted grey. NOT ANYMORE, KIDS.
For the view coming downstairs, we snuck in a couple of cool mirrors since there was so much height to work with. You should’ve seen the scaffolding our wallpaper installer had to build to make this happen.
My first apartment boasted a hand-me-down beige plaid sofa from my grandparents, a structurally unstable bed purchased from IKEA, and was shared with my suuuuper messy ex-boyfriend. As an interior designer and neat-freak, let’s just say these were not my ideal living conditions.
I never thought I’d be jealous of two boys under the age of 10, but let me tell you, their mom hired me create a Design Kit for the coolest kids playroom that puts my first apartment to shame. This spare bedroom was a majorly under-utilized space that needed to become a playroom, video game hangout, homework space, and guest room all in one.
An awesome orange sleeper sectional is the bold and badass centerpiece of the room, and it’s where the boys and their friends will get comfy to play video games (and wrestle and build forts and stuff). We swapped the totally impractical double closet doors for a pair of curtain panels mounted on a tension rod which freed up the floor space to add a hip industrial desk big enough for both kids to share. And if they can’t share, there’s a laptop table for some extra work space.
The boys are also getting a major bedroom and bathroom makeover too, in their favorite team’s colors of orange and grey. I’m not a fan of literal theme rooms (no sports logos here!) but taking inspiration from the colors and styles of a favorite sports team, book, or movie is an awesome starting point when designing a space for kids.
There’s nothing better than a satisfying “after” photo, and I’ve been dying to share this colorful kids craft room with you! You may remember the “before” photos from this space in Waco, Texas:
Yup. Snooooooozefest. But don’t worry – some funky wallpaper, chic furnishings, and gorgeous original art has totally transformed this space.
We kept the existing paint color – Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter – since it’s such a classic, pretty grey. And it was the perfect neutral backdrop to allow the bold color and pattern of the wallpaper, art, area rug, and accessories to be the star of the show.
The kids each have their own personalized workspace, complete with adorable desk lamps and industrial-chic bulletin boards to display homework, crafts, and artistic creations.
And lucky mama, who’s an entrepreneur and works primarily from home, gets this UHHMAZING workspace. The brass and white lacquer desk is beyond chic in person, and the original artwork by Lesley Grainger brings such a fun energy to the room and ties in the bright wallpaper and area rug.
And can we please take a moment to savor this incredible custom floral arrangement from Tenfold Floral? Adair and Aelish from Tenfold are flower-loving geniuses who used the moodboards for this project as inspiration to create this stunning centerpiece as a thank-you gift for my client.
I’m so grateful when clients let me play and push the envelope with color, pattern, and design. I think this colorful kids craft room is a smashing success. (And big thanks to my rockstar photographer Jeff Jones for translating this space into these gorgeous photos.)
I can’t tell you how much I love getting inquiries like this from new clients: “I have a playroom that I would LOVE to transform into a super bright (pinks, golds, oranges), super functional craft/art/office area.”
HELLS TO THE YES. Bright color, bold pattern, and a super-functional organized space? I’m your gal. This colorful kids craft room in Waco is going to be da bomb. 💣 But we’ve got a long way to go. Want to see what the room looks like now?
Yawwwwwn. While it’s definitely a pretty room with a great neutral wall color, classic espresso floors, and gorgeous French doors, it’s not at all where this hip mama and her three rad kids want to hang. Plus – hello, clutter. Nothing has a home or a proper place to be stored. And as a former Professional Organizer/total neat freak, I totally get how mom is dissatisfied with this room as-is.
Okay now, get ready. This space is about to get a totally kickass, colorful makeover. Here’s where we’re going with the design:
Each kiddo is getting a chic white lacquered Parsons desk and unique lamp; Mom’s getting a glam desk with acrylic and brass accents; there’s going to be THE BEST ACCENT WALL EVER (I’m so obsessed with that floral wallpaper!); and that badass hammered brass credenza is going to be the most freakin’ chic storage you’ve ever seen in a kids craft room. Check out our design selections (and some alternate ones too) on the Colorful Waco Kids Craft Room Pinterest board.
We’re still in the early stages of this design project so it’ll be a while before the transformation is complete, but I’ll be sharing sneak-peeks on Facebook and Instagram throughout the process, so be sure to follow along.