How to Hang Removable Wallpaper

Removable wallpaper can be a low budget-big impact design choice for any space. Learn how to install in this easy step by step tutorial.

White and navy geometric removable wallpaper as a feature wall in an entryway.

I never thought that I would be picking out removable wallpaper for every room in my home but here I am.  Raise your hand if your childhood home boasted at least one room with wallpaper? What about a border? I think that’s where I draw the line. My childhood bedroom was light yellow paint with a blue and yellow gingham and flower themed border.  SWOON!   

I wasn’t in the market for wallpaper, but when I found this blue and white geometric pattern, I had the perfect spot for it.  I thought it would make a great statement in the entryway or our split level home- quick and easy DIY with big impact and that’s my kind of project.

Choose the Right Removable Wallpaper for Your Space

Roll of removable wallpaper before application.

With any design choice, you want to choose a color and pattern that tie in with the aesthetic of your home. Since I was picking a wallpaper for our entryway, I wanted something that I could easily wipe down, so I chose a smooth finish.

It’s also important to think about the environment of the wallpaper. Extreme heat or cold could impact the longevity of your install. For example, I did a small section of wallpaper in a travel trailer renovation. The wallpaper did bubble after winterization. The good news is I was able to easily reapply the wallpaper using the smoothing tool.

Prepare for Installation

Having the right tools on hand and taking the steps to prep your space can make all the difference, and save some frustration. Here are is the complete list of tools I used for installation.

  • Measuring Tape
  • (2) Rolls of Removable Wallpaper
  • Exacto Knife/Blade and Scissors
  • Wallpaper Smoothing tool
  • Level
  • Ladder

Measure– Determine the square footage of the wall, room or object you plan to wallpaper.  You will want to round up, having extra wallpaper is important to make sure that the pattern aligns in each strip. Most websites offer a tool to determine the amount of wallpaper needed for your space based on your room/wall dimensions. For my entryway project, I was only applying peel and stick wallpaper to one wall which required two rolls of paper. I had a small amount of excess. Keep reading to see how I used the leftovers.

 Prep your space– Remove anything hanging or secured to the wall including picture frames/hooks, nails, railings, etc. Fill and sand any holes to ensure you have a smooth surface. Finally, give your walls a quick wipe down to make sure there is no dust or dirt on the surface.

Installing Removable Wallpaper

  1. Measure and cut your first strip of wallpaper allowing for 1-2 inches of overhang.
  2. Start in the center of your wall, use a level to ensure your first wallpaper strip will be placed correctly. Note: I am the queen of eyeballing it- but now is not the time. Getting this first strip of wallpaper level is a critical step.
  3. Working from top-down, remove only a small section (6 to 12 inches) of paper backing to reveal the adhesive side of the wallpaper. Secure to the wall starting at the ceiling snug to the point where the wall and ceiling (or molding) meet.
  4. Once your top section is secure to the wall, double check to ensure your wallpaper is level.
  5. Continue working from top to bottom, slowly peel the backing off as you smooth the peel and stick wallpaper to the wall.
  6. Use your wallpaper smoothing tool to work out any remaining air bubbles. Note: use your exacto/razor plade to poke a tiny hole in any remaining airbubbles. This helps to smooth out any final stubborn spots.
  7. When the wallpaper is smooth and secure, trim excess paper along the baseboard of the wall with a sharp blade for a clean finish.
  8. Once your first strip of wallpaper is applied, continue to work outward with each strip, lining up the seams of your wallpaper pattern from top down. Important: you want to include the slightest overlap of the wallpaper seams to avoid gaps between your strips. After install, wallpaper can shrink. Follow the instructions for your wallpaper brand- they often indicate the frequency your pattern will repeat!
  9. Regularly use your level to ensure that your wallpaper and pattern are even. This is especially important if your pattern has consistent vertical lines.
First two strips of wallpaper applied to the wall starting in the center.

Maintaing Wallpaper

Follow the instructions for your specific brand or manufacturer of wallpaper for cleaning and maintenance. Depending on the wallpaper and the application, you could damage the print or the color by using the wrong type of cleaner. For this entryway project, I selected a smooth peel and stick wallpaper so I could easily wipe away dirt, fingerprints and dog fur with just mild soap and water on a gentle cloth. Also, be sure to keep any excess wallpaper for future repairs or patches.

Peel and stick wallpaper has so many benefits! It can be a low cost, big impact way to freshen up a space. Most peel and stick options are also removable wallpaper- a great way to personalize a rental space.

I have used wallpaper in several projects. The entryway wallpaper has been in place for over two years now. It has held up to dogs, kids and all of the New England seasons!

Comment if you have suggestions for peel and stick wallpaper! Tell me about your favorite wallpaper project!

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