GUEST ROOM REFRESH: My Experience Wallpapering With Rebel Walls

This post is a sponsored post in collaboration with Rebel Walls.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted on the blog! Corona kind of caught up to me in the sense that my job as a nanny has evolved (as it always does) to accommodate a lot more time with the girls since their summer began. We’ve spent a lot more time indoors, and that’s brought to light a lot of the things about my own home that I’ve been wanting to change.

First up: our guest bedroom.

It’s not you, it’s me.

Our guest bedroom is one of my top-pinned posts of all-time. People love it every time I post it on Instagram. I think this is because it’s a fun, easy DIY that has a lot of visual impact without being too over-the-top or intimidating. It’s very much an entry-level project, and that type of thing always has a sort of appeal.

I loved it, I really did! But then it got boring and stale for me. That room — from the nightstand to the bed to the rug and the chair and the lamp — were all thrifted, heavily bargain-hunted, or gifted to us. It all kind of worked together, so it was fine while it lasted, but over time I began to get a little sick of looking at it. The bed was too tall, I didn’t care for the rug placement, the nightstand was bulky. For those of you that know me or have been following me for any length of time, this will come as no surprise to you, as I’m prone to changing my mind.

Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve even begun to contemplate changing this mural too… ha.

So, it’s not you, Internet-beloved guest room, it was me and my ever-changing taste.

Why wallpaper?

I chose traditional pasted wallpaper because I was after a modern look, but also something that was calming and geometric in nature and forgiving. Pasted wallpaper, though it involves the extra step of applying paste, is actually quite easy and more forgiving than peel-and-stick and vinyl wallpaper options.

Plus, Rebel Walls has SO MANY OPTIONS. From small murals to large projects, like entire rooms, there’s an option for everyone.

I love the look of clean spaces with fun accents, and that’s what this room didn’t have a lot of. I found this wallpaper from Rebel Walls, and I was immediately smitten. Their website has a ton of valuable information that I used to do research with, like what tools to use, how to do doors and windows, and one I had skimmed over but definitely should’ve spent more time on in retrospect: how to wallpaper in corners. Don’t worry, I’m going to get into the good, bad, and ugly in a minute. I’m even going to show you the ugly.

I have a few friends who have done traditional paste wallpapering jobs in their homes. Most recently, my friend Fariha of Pennies For A Fortune wallpapered her dining room back in April. I was incredibly nervous going into it, but her post about wallpapering calmed a lot of my fears.

So now, it’s my turn to calm wallpaper fears.

Was it easy? YES. I swear.

I will admit, I’m a pretty adept DIYer, but this is a project that doesn’t involve power tools or niche know-how. It’s pretty straightforward, and like I said, it’s pretty forgiving. Traditional wallpaper definitely gets a bad rep, but it’s totally not warranted.

Jake used to hang vinyl window clings for a living when he worked in professional stage rigging and his boss drilled a valuable bit of advice into their head: if you don’t start right, you can’t make it right. This was Jake’s first and only bit of advice he gave to me when I embarked on this wallpaper journey. I used a self-leveling laser level to ensure my first panel was straight on the right side since walls and ceilings aren’t always straight. This made sure that the rest of my application would go smoothly and straight.

This wallpaper did not come pre-pasted and I chose to apply the paste to the wall per Rebel Walls’ instruction instead of onto the paper. I used a small 6″ wide, 1/2″ nap roller to roll it on in bigger sections. This ensured that enough paste was picked up for application, but not so much that it was goopy and seeped out. I also used a Wooster Shortcut short-handled brush (my fav!) to cut in around the edges and near the ceiling and baseboards to reach the spots the roller couldn’t reach.

My work benches and work stations are often hilarious and not professional, and this time was no different. I used my ironing board as home base, but I ended up not even needing it and took it out when it got in the way. Applying the paste to the wall works more or less like painting a wall, so you’ll just need space for a roller, a tray, a brush, and a pail of wallpaper paste.

Can I wallpaper alone, or do I need a friend to help?

This probably varies, but I did it completely on my own. Jake hates projects (h a t e s) so it was all me, baby. We have a friend who wallpapered with his wife and thought I was insane for doing it alone, but I really don’t think it was so bad. I had a five foot ladder at my disposal and enough room to maneuver effectively around the space.

Hindsight is 20/20, so let me offer you some.

First of all, preparation is KEY. You have to have all of the correct tools to wallpaper. This includes a laser level or a plumb line, a wallpapering tool (basically a smoothing straight edge), an actual straight edge or ruler is helpful to cut the top and bottom portions, a razor, etc. Rebel Walls makes it very easy to know what you need if you look at their recommended list on this page.

Second, make sure you research how to cut around windows and doors, as well as corners. I researched windows and doors plenty, but unfortunately didn’t pay the same attention to what to do in the corners. This led to a few minor issues, like having to create a patch in one corner and running out of wallpaper at the end (this was entirely my fault because I did the corners incorrectly). Overall, you can barely tell, but you can see it if you’re looking for it.

The reason why this happened is because when you order wallpaper, you measure by wall. Rebel Walls knew all of my walls were adjoining, and instead of sending me three separate packs of panels (one for each wall), they sent me three packs of panels that were supposed to go over the corners as well. Like, DUH. This obviously makes sense, but I’m a dingus and didn’t think of it until it was too late and I had already messed up. See below for my patch job (thankfully this wallpaper hides imperfections very well).

My seam of shame.

Like I said, hindsight is 20/20, y’all. But I’m not even mad, the room still looks fabulous.

Another thing I would *highly* recommend is cutting your panels ahead of time, one wall at a time, and then lining them up in panel order. In my room, I had about eight panels per wall, and I would line them up accordingly. Like this:

Drumroll, please.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the moment you’ve been waiting for (did you just sing that like you’re in Hamilton, too? Okay cool).

Reveal pics!

This room went from being a cozy, thrifted space into a grown-up, cozy, let’s-read-books-in-here relaxing oasis.

These birch-colored beachy nightstands worked great for this space. Since they don’t have a true “front,” I turned one sideways for the other side of the bed so it still sat against the wall, but allowed room for guests to climb in and out of bed when there are two people sleeping in here. I also used Command strips to attach the on/off switch for these bulbs to the bed frame for easy access.

It feels so much more inviting, relaxing, and airy now. I’m thrilled with how it came out, and how the wallpaper allowed for the room to have that spa-like retreat feeling.

I’m sure this room will keep evolving and I’ll continue to add some color and swap out the art. That’s how I roll.

What do y’all think? Do you like it more now, or did you like it more before? Let me know what you think in the comments!

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