Wallpaper is possibly the worst invention ever. It was most likely created by someone who was too lazy to paint. This person was probably quite proud of himself until he wanted to change what was on the walls and finally realized what a pain it was going to be to remove it.
The previous owners of my childhood home loved 2 things: 1970’s décor and… wallpaper. Seriously, everything in the house was red, orange, and/or brown, and the sunroom, kitchen, bathroom, and third bedroom were all covered in hideous 70’s inspired wallpaper. In fact, I think the kitchen had 4 layers of it. I remember watching my parents remove the lovely orange and red wallpaper from our third bedroom. Even at the age of 7, I thought to myself, that doesn’t look like fun. I’m never going to buy a house with wallpaper.
And I’ve stuck to that. Sort of. When JD and I first started looking at houses, I rejected a house JD liked simply because every single room was covered in wallpaper… and then we found our house. We loved the layout, the location, the fenced in yard, the size of the kitchen, and although we knew there were a few things we wanted to update, it was exactly what we were looking for… minus the wallpaper border in the 3 bathrooms and the kitchen. I didn’t like the borders, but I knew I couldn’t pass up a house just because of that.
I recently decided that I wanted to take on the project of painting the kitchen. Due to JD’s hectic schedule, I knew that this would be a solo project. Since he had done the border in the half bath downstairs while I was at work one day, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into.
I started last Sunday, thinking I could easily get everything done in one day. What I soon realized is that I could have easily gotten the painting done in a few hours, but the wallpaper border was on a completely different level.
My first mistake was that I didn’t get a steamer. I was using that goopy spray stuff and trying to scrape it off. So I would spray the goop on a section, wait 20 minutes, dig up a corner, and peel back a couple inches (if that). This had to be done twice, because the top layer and bottom layer needed to be sprayed and peeled separately. It took me several hours to get a quarter of the room done. I finally gave up and started painting, which, as expected, I easily finished (minus the part that still had the border) in a few hours.
This weekend, after only a few minutes of the goop and peel technique, I decided it was time to look into a steamer. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I could buy a highly rated one for $50- well worth the investment to finish the kitchen and (eventually) the 2 other bathrooms. Shortly after lunch on Sunday, I filled up the steamer and crossed my fingers that it would be everything I dreamed. I carefully steamed the first section, grabbed a corner of the paper and…. ripped an entire section off at once. I was amazed... and a little angry. Where was this tool last weekend?!
I still had to do the top layer and the bottom layer separately, but didn’t really care since I was getting sections off at a time, rather than goopy pieces. I spent about the same amount of time on the wallpaper border yesterday as I did last weekend, but the difference is that I completely finished the room this weekend. I even had time to finish painting the section near the ceiling, but decided to hold off till next weekend anyway.
Until then, you’ll have to patiently wait for the before and after pictures :)