Sure everyone says it’s easy. A lot of the time removing wallpaper is easy, but you’ll never know until you start so it’s best to be prepared.
We had a tiny second bedroom that had been wallpapered in giant beige floral paper. We decided it was too overwhelming to be in such a small room so we made plans to take it down.
I didn’t want to damage the original plaster walls so a friend of mine came to the rescue. Here’s how we carefully removed the paper strip by strip.
1) We mixed up wallpaper solvent (hot water and fabric softener) in case we needed it for tough areas. We didn’t want to damage the plaster so we didn’t use a perforating tool. But in the hard to peel areas, perforating can come in handy because it allows more steam through to loosen the glue on the back of the paper.
2) We borrowed a Jiffy steamer from a wardrobe stylist. Jiffy’s aren’t made for this task, but the tall upright steamer was great because it had a place to rest the steamer head and it didn’t drip as much as typical wallpaper steamers. Just a little steam and the paper peeled right off!
3) We started in a corner and kept a plastic putty knife handy to encourage the stuck paper loose. Once we started peeling we tried to keep the entire strip intact by rolling the paper off in reverse. The tension of the roll encouraged the paper to lift off the walls completely.
After all the wallpaper was off and the walls were clean and dry, we painted the room a soft blue. It suddenly felt bigger and simpler. The walls faired well and now the old house is new again.
Barbara Schmidt, bstyle, inc., is a nationally recognized interior designer and author whose work is featured in numerous publications, social media and television.