December 1, 2010

Wallpapering The Bathroom

While Dan's been finishing up the bathroom plumbing under the house, I've been able to resume work on the bathroom ceiling and walls. I painted the ceiling first, and then got to work on the wallpaper.

I'd like to say upfront that I love wallpapering. I know lots of folks don't, and will be quick to suggest paint instead, but I just love wallpaper. I love that it provides visual texture with both pattern and color.  I love the intellectual challenge it presents, trying to figure out how to fit the pieces in odd sized shapes, to fit all a room's nooks and crannies. I love putting it up and then stepping back to see the result. More so than painting. If given a choice between the two, I'd choose to wallpaper. Because this bathroom is the only smooth walled room in the house, this is my only opportunity to wallpaper and I'm taking advantage of that!

This tiny second bathroom, 4.5 x 6 foot, has presented a lot of challenges due to it's size alone. I have a graph sketch of the original floor plan here. More than once we've wished it was at least 6 inches wider. Indeed, there was enough room to make it wider, but the builders made it to accommodate an already existing 34" door, which leads from the kitchen into the addition itself. (Photos of all that here.) That means that the hall itself is wide (40"), leaving the bathroom and (now) utility room narrow.

Back when we were brainstorming about this room, we discussed widening it, but in the end chose the most economical option, in terms of both time and money. If all we had to do was renovate the house, we'd make different choices. But we're building a homestead, so our time and money have to be divided amongst many goals.

Before I got started, DH took the window moulding off, to give me a little more working room. Did you notice the gap around the window in the above two photos?

Good grief no wonder it gets cold in here in the winter. Hurray for spray insulating foam, which will fill in that gap and hopefully make the room a whole lot snugger.

Up until now, all the work in this room has pretty much been the invisible stuff. With the wallpaper going up, we're finally seeing a tangible change and that's encouraging. I know there are actually quite a few more steps to go, but I'm finally starting to feel like we're almost in the home stretch!

Wallpapering The Bathroom © December 2010 Leigh at


Anonymous said...

Ooh, snap! Well, almost. We wallpapered our very first bathroom in a blue-yellow-and-white striped paper, which I think is a lovely combination for a bathroom. It's bright enough to wake you up in the mornings but sufficiently calm not to make you feel stressed!

The Mom said...

It's going to be gorgeous when it's done. I love the wallpaper. We actually have a couch covered in a very similar fabric.

Woolly Bits said...

ouch, you did choose a difficult wallpaper - with all the pattern matching! I do like the job myself, too - but not necessarily so,when it goes very fiddly, around corners, over openings and behind things... we have none in our cottage now, all paint - and not my job anymore:))
we did use a lot of foam here as well - sometimes you only find those draughty spots, when using a room - good, that you found it now, before having finished the renovating!
can't believe your snow-free pix - we are covered in white all over:))

Mama Pea said...

I LOVE your wallpaper! You were big and brave to choose such a bold plaid for a small room but I think it works wonderfully.

My mom was a wallpaper addict like you. We wallpapered my kitchen once in an old, old farmhouse. The walls were very bumpy (bad plaster) but I found a paper with a background of gray stucco-like, uneven bricks with red, black and yellow chickens. Does that sound awful? It was really quite attractive. Anywho, it covered the bad walls like magic. Sadly, I ordered just under what we needed. So my mom took scraps the size of which you wouldn't believe and perfectly matched the spaces behind the refrig and stove!

Leigh said...

Cally, I love plaid and I love blue. Actually I found this paper about 4 years ago on clearance for $2 a roll and have been lugging it around since then!

Heather, as I mentioned I love blue. Sadly, when we bought our couch, blues and cools were no longer "in" for home decor. I figure I can still get blue into my decor somewhere!

Bettina, actually it has worked out quite well. Being a plaid, I've been able to "fudge" in a few places, like the wall that houses the shower plumbing. There is a small change in the pattern in those spots, but not so that anyone will probably notice!

Mama Pea, thank you! I confess I've been holding my breath as to whether or not it would overwhelm the room, but starting to breath easier now. There will be considerable white (sink, toilet, wainscoting, shelves, cabinets), to keep it bright. Hopefully it will look just like the bathroom in my mind's eye. :)

Renee Nefe said...

it's looking so good! I bet you can't wait until it's finished. I like wallpaper, but not many houses are built to have wallpaper anymore, and it doesn't work well on textured walls.

Theresa said...

Great wallpaper and such a nice job matching it. I like wallpapering too, but not more than painting. Part of that is the wallpaper itself. I like the old fashioned true paper wall paper. I've often thought about wallpapering a floor and then putting multiple coats of poly on over it, but it would be a hot mess changing it. :)
My favorite project in a rental was wallpapering the insides of a wall of bookcases, (mine) which gave me a much needed burst of color on all that rental beige.
I used coordinating wallpapers. Something like that might be fun in a room since you don't have smooth walls, or maybe the backs of the kitchen cabinets?
Hooray for home stretches!

Anonymous said...

Great wallpaper! Brave to chose such a bold pattern for a little room.You must be pleased that it is looking so good. Aren't old houses amazing with the huge gaps - wonder where their commen sense was in the olden days!

Unknown said...

Oh Lord are you good or what? Wallpapering scares me and to match LINES in pattern? Let's jist say I admire you! Great job.

Nina said...

Totally brilliant job with the wallpaper! That room will look stunning. I love the way painting or papering a room shows an immediate return on effort, where the drywall, plumbing etc, seem to fade when done and don't seem so noticeable. I love the paper!

Elizabeth said...

I love wallpaper too! I can never understand the people that say they hate wallpaper. It completely changes everything in a wonderful way.

Nice job!

Leigh said...

Renee, its true. Wallpaper doesn't seem to be as popular anymore. It definitely doesn't work on textured walls, you're right about that too!

Theresa, what a great idea! I'll have to remember that for a decorating idea. I do have plenty of scraps left and wall paper is cheap to pick up at thrift stores.

I doubt paper wallpaper is even available today. The vinyl stuff is good though, for kitchens and bathrooms.

Evelyn, pleased? Oh yes, actually relieved is more like it. Not all of my ideas materialize as well as I hope. :)

Toodie, thanks! I will say though, that there's no way I'd want to make a living doing that. :)

Nina, thanks! I admit it, I'm all about visual results. DH always thinks structure, which he's right of course. I'm just glad to be getting to the fun part. :)

Elizabeth, so glad to know another wallpaperer! I think the look of it is what I love too. I could never duplicate that with paint!

bspinner said...

I agree with most people. It's not that I don't like wall paper because I do but putting it up is beyond both Bill and me. For that reason and the fact that Bill loves to paint so I don't have to we're more inclined to paint.

I love the colors you chose!!!!


Your a better woman than I am! Although I like wallpaper just the thought of hanging gives me a headache. I tried once, never again, I'm a paint girl. I love the colors and pattern you choose it should look fantastic when you get done with it.

Lee said...

You guys are making great progress on this room. We kind of ran into a lull when the cold weather set in, and we need to push past that into the unknown of new projects. It's always scariest when you first try something you've never done before.

Leigh said...

Barb, I think you hit the nail on the head; do what you love to do. I'll never say wallpapering is easy. If I didn't enjoy it I definitely wouldn't give it a thought.

Bety, I can't say there haven't been times when I've wanted to pull my hair out!

Lee, we've found lulls for various projects at certain times of year too. This particular project has been abandoned for months at a time, but all of a sudden we have the motivation to get it done. The visual progress is especially motivating!

Robin said...

Nice! Lee's mom loves wallpaper. I've never used it but I love paint. Maybe because it seems easier to change or update if you want to.

Leigh said...

Robin, you said the key word, "love". In the end, what we love to do is really what motivates us!