Basically my entire design for the bathroom renovation was centered around the Sandberg Wallpaper in Zen White that you can see on my design board from Week 1. I first saw it in Emily’s powder room and have loved it ever since. I wallpapered the room with the vanities and the back wall behind the toilet because it is a focal point of the room.
Sandberg Wallpaper is non-woven, unpasted wallpaper, which has a specific application technique often called “paste the wall”. I read that this is the easiest type of wallpaper to apply. My only other experience with wallpaper was a peel-and-stick mural that we installed in a client’s home. After using this type of wallpaper, I definitely prefer it to peel-and-stick! I learned a lot when installing my Sandberg wallpaper, so I’m sharing my technique and tips and tricks that helped along the way. Here is the process:
- Zinsser Shieldz wallpaper primer
- Rough surface roller cover and roller
- Paint tray
- Roman Universal Wallpaper Adhesive
- Zinsser 4-in-1 tool
- Wallpaper smoother
- Razor with lots of blade refills (I preferred the type of utility knife that came with the wallpaper smoother above, but mine was cheap and it broke halfway through so I resorted to a more tradition utility knife and it worked fine too)
- Laser level
1. Prep your walls. I patched all nail holes and the holes where the vanity lights were previously hung. The Sandberg Wallpaper was nice and thick so it covered over certain imperfections in the walls, but I made sure the walls were as smooth was possible for proper adhesion. When I sanded the patches on the wall, I used my RZ M2 mesh mask.
I wish I had this mask a long time ago! It’s the first dusk mask I’ve ever had that actually fits comfortably AND work effectively. My walls were filthy and covered in many layers of dust from the tile demolition, so I wiped them down with a sponge and warm water (in my case, I wiped them down four times!). Then I primed the walls with Zinsser Shieldz wallpaper primer. Supposedly, this product makes hanging and removing wallpaper easier- I definitely believe that it made hanging the wallpaper easier! It also gave me peace of mind that my hard work in hanging the wallpaper wouldn’t be wasted. I would highly recommend this product!
2. Start in the most inconspicuous corner possible so that if you get all the way around the room and the pattern doesn’t match when you come back to the starting point, it won’t be noticeable. Fortunately, this was not an issue in my situation because two of the corners will be covered by floor-to-ceiling linen cabinets, so I started to the right of one corner where a linen cabinet will be and ended to the left of the corner without having to paper into the corner perfectly due to the linen cabinet. However, if you’re wallpapering an entire room, keep this in mind. Also, I preferred going around the room clockwise. In my mind, it was easier to work from left to right and match up the pattern that way.
3. Measure the width of the paper and set a laser level that distance over to the right of your starting point (or the edge of your last piece). My Bosch laser level was KEY to this project! The laser level will be your guide for hanging the paper absolutely straight every single time, which is of utmost importance. My wallpaper was just shy of 21″ wide, so I measured from the edge of the last piece and made a mark on the wall, then moved the laser level onto the mark. When I installed each panel, I made sure the panel lined up precisely with the laser level from top to bottom, and the panel automatically lined up with the previous panel as well since I used the laser level to get each panel straight every time.
4. Paste the wall. This is an extremely important step and a few tips I will share made it SO much easier. First, roll on the paste using a roller with a ROUGH surface roller cover. I repeat, a ROUGH surface roller cover. This type of roller cover puts the right amount of adhesive on the wall and doesn’t dry out because the fibers are so thick that it holds a lot of adhesive. I wallpapered for 10 hours straight with minimal breaks and my roller cover NEVER dried out!
Second, make sure you have enough paste on the wall. You want to be able to draw a shape with your fingers in the paste on the wall- then you know you have enough!
Also, go a little heavier with the past on the outside edges where your panel will be hung. I made sure to roll a little extra on each side where the seams would be and use a chip brush to generously apply adhesive at the top and bottom.
5. Cut each panel of wallpaper so you have an extra 4-6 inches to work with. My floor to ceiling measurement was 96″, including the 5″ baseboards, so I cut each panel to 96″ so that I’d have an extra 5″ to work with between the top and bottom.
6. Hang the first panel with 1-2″ overlapping onto the ceiling and line up the panel with the laser level. Your ceiling probably isn’t going to be straight or level all of the time, so by starting with 1-2″ overlapping onto the ceiling, you can trim the top of the paper with the Zinsser tool and a razor blade and the panel will follow the natural contour of the ceiling but stay straight because you’ve lined it up with the laser level. For subsequent panels, find the spot on your wallpaper roll where the next panel will match up with the panel you just hung. Then leave room to overlap onto the ceiling and match up the pattern with the previous panel.
7. Smooth the wallpaper and trim the top and bottom. These tools were a lifesaver:
I lined each panel up with the laser level and the previous panel (don’t overlap the panels, just gently make the seams come together) almost all the way down the wall initially to make sure it looked like the panel would be level all the way down. Then I took the smoother tool and gently ran it over the wallpaper to remove any air bubble and excess glue. Finally, I trimmed the top and bottom (or sides for a door frame). The Zinsser tool I linked above is a MUST for this step. As you can see below, I held the tool as tight as I could against the wall and ran the razor blade on the outside edge of the tool.
There’s a detailed tutorial in my Instagram highlights for the bathroom, so be sure to check it out if you want to see videos of the process.
One note: I only had one corner to do, and it was easy, but corners are apparently the hardest part. I recommend Robyn Rebecca’s Instagram highlights where she shows how a professional taught her to do the corners with an easy method. I did not have to tackle any corners because I am building custom linen cabinets from the floor to the ceiling next to each vanity in the corners, so I wallpapered close to each corner but not into each corner.
I am SO thrilled with how this wallpaper turned out. With regard to timing, it took me 10 hours (with a few breaks) to wallpaper the vanity area. It took me about 30 minutes per panel, but I also did this project alone and took my time. To be honest, I was very stressed out when I started because I was worried the adhesive would be difficult to work with and dry out quickly, but my experience was the opposite. It was very easy to re-position the wallpaper or even take it completely off the wall and start over. I actually very much enjoyed the process by the time I was finished. It was repetitive work, but challenging to make sure everything was perfect. I actually can’t wait to do it again!
Special thanks to Sandberg Wallpaper for providing me with the beautiful Zen White wallpaper. It is a pleasure to work with such a wonderful brand. Every wallpaper they make is stunning and I will use it again in the future!
Check out all of the other One Room Challenge guests posts here.