Successfully Installing Wallpaper as a Novice – ORC – Week 2

For the second week of the One Room Challenge I will be selecting & installing a dark & moody toile wallpaper in our multi-purpose room & sharing tips & tricks for how you can successfully install wallpaper as a novice.

One Room Challenge

If you haven’t heard of the The One Room Challenge® before – its purpose is to encourage and support each other in finishing a room. The spirit of the ORC is solely to celebrate interior design in a positive, supportive environment. The ORC is not a competition, but rather a celebration of creativity, inspiration, and original ideas.

Over 8 weeks, I’ll be a guest participant in the One Room Challenge & you will be able to following along with me every step of the way as I transform an extra bedroom into a multipurpose retreat for my husband, Garrett.

See my previous ORC post here:

Designing an Elevated Sports Lounge & Multi-Purpose Space – ORC – Week 1


Photowall had reached out to me about doing a partnership with them and I jumped at the opportunity. They generously gifted us the wallpaper that we’re using in this room.

Photowall makes top-quality wall décor including wallpaper, murals, canvases & prints that give rooms a brand new look and feel. All of their motifs are handpicked and printed to order. They have thousands of options to pick from and use the highest quality materials and printing for their wallpaper. Assembly is easy and our products are printed to your exact dimensions so they will fit perfectly on your wall.

If you’d like to purchase a wallpaper, mural or canvas – click here to get 25% off & free shipping for following me. Use code: Hospitality25

The code is valid through June 24, 2022.

Selecting a Wall Paper

It was so easy to hop on the Photowall website & begin “favoriting” murals and wallpaper for the room. They had so many beautiful designer quality options and I began selecting chinoiserie inspired prints, clouds, pastels, and ultra feminine & floral options. Then I remembered that this room isn’t for me – it’s for my husband. His overall guidelines for an aesthetic were that it’s traditional, masculine, incorporate nature, be dark, moody & not be too repetitive.

Photowall has thousands and thousands of options – which can be a bit overwhelming at times. An extremely helpful tool that they have on their website is the “similar motifs” button. It allows you to see similar options to the wallpaper you have currently selected. This offers a much smaller and more curated list of options. Rather than looking at what can feel like an endless list, this feature felt like you were diving down a more specific rabbit hole of wonderful wallpapers and is how I actually found the one that we picked.

Narrowing Down the Options

For this multipurpose room the two largest design elements are going to be the couch and the wallpaper. While a couch is not finalized yet, the lead options for a tufted sofa are either brown or navy blue.

We landed on a designer mural which features watercolor inspired saplings and foliage that mimics the view we have of an actual forest in our backyard. Another selling point was that this print was by Summer House – which also happens to be my favorite reality TV show. I’m fully aware this is a bit silly, but something like that can add hint of joy and also serve as a fun talking point. So when I saw that – I took it as a sign that this style was meant to be.

This style comes in six different colors. In terms of picking a color we were between either the slightly turquoise blue gray or the almost olive green colorway. While we liked the blue color more – we ultimately opted for the green because it would give us more flexibility and options for the other finishes in the room. We thought the green would better balance with the wood tones of the vintage furniture, gold picture frames, cream carpet, and the potential navy blue and brown leather elements that we would be adding.

The exact wall mural that we ordered is Wonder – Kaki. Item Number e321490. We selected the premium wallpaper, which has the added features of being scrape resistant, an extra matte finish, antireflective & suitable for cleaning products. I also Customized it to wrap around my entire room without a pattern repeat.

Modifying the Wallpaper

Another fantastic feature that Photowall offers is that they give you the option to edit the images for free. If for example you picked a Chinoiserie Print that features a birdcage hanging from a branch, you can ask them to omit the bird cage from the image, and they’ll send you a proof.

Because we picked a mural, which is typically intended for a single wall, I asked if they were able to customize the mural into a seamless print, so that you wouldn’t see a clear line of when the print stops & starts again. This gave me the best of both worlds as the print only repeats about four times throughout the whole room. It offers consistency and continuity without having a strong and unnatural feeling repeat that you sometimes find in wallpaper.

Once we finalized the custom print, we placed the order & it shipped so quickly! The wallpaper comes with paste, and you can also add on a wallpaper kit, which includes all of the tools you’ll need to install the paper, with the exception of a vessel for the glue.

Prepping for the Wallpaper

The prep work for the wallpaper included power sanding the wall to a smooth finish, filling a few nail holes, and then cleaning the entire wall & leaving it to dry completely.

Upon receiving the wallpaper I also had to select a corresponding color to paint the bead board, doors & trim. We selected “Coffee Table” from True Value. It’s a charcoal color that has green undertones.

To paint the bottom wall I removed all of the outlet covers and vents. As we have carpet in this space, I actually covered the trim guide (included with the wallpaper kit) in painters tape, and used that to hold down the carpet so I could get to the very bottom edges of the trim without painting on the carpet. I was also able to paint the trim very quickly, because clean lines didn’t matter, as the edges would be covered by wallpaper. It took me and my husband about 8 hours over two days to paint the bead board as we had to brush the paint into the detailing by hand & then go over with a roller for a smooth finish.

Installing the Wallpaper

Overall I found wallpapering to be easier than I expected. The room itself made this project much easier for a few reasons. The main one being that the room is pretty small. It’s roughly 12′ by 12′, and it only has five corners and four areas where you would need to cut the wallpaper – one large window, a wide closet door, a traditional door, and a light switch. To make things even easier – we have 8′ ceilings, and the bottom half of the wall consists of bead board trim. The shorter length of the wallpaper, paired with my ability to be able to comfortably reach the ceiling from a bench made installing this paper much more simple.

The organization and labeling on the paper by Photowall made it very easy too. The wallpaper arrived labeled in each box numbered 1 through 3. Upon opening box one it was one continuous spool of wallpaper where each strip was numbered in the order that they were to be applied. This made installation a breeze.

While I won’t go step by step with how to hang the paper because you can see the exact directions here. I will talk through the points where I deviated from the instructions, as well as a few things I learned along the way, that may be helpful if you decide to install wallpaper for the first time.

Half the Glue

The included glue in each box of wallpaper was enough for 20 square meters, which is almost the exact size of the room I was installing. I had a large fear that I would run out of glue. I did not.

I poured the glue powder into a liquid measuring cup, and saw it was 10oz by volume. I then opted to use 5oz by volume of powder and half the recommended water to make a half batch of glue. One batch of glue was the perfect amount to do half the room. It created a perfect stopping point for me on day 1, as the glue ran out just as I used the final strip of paper in one of the boxes.

Two Day Install

It took me about 4 hours on two separate days to install the wallpaper (not including the prep & paint). The first day I did the two easiest walls – no cutting, and only one corner. I did all of it by myself with the exception of the corner, which absolutely required a second person.

Marking out the lines for each panel

There was a large emphasis in the instructions on how important this was to draw a line perfectly straight and level where each seam would be. I strongly disagree. For the first panel – yes – it’s absolutely necessary. Beyond the first panel, I only lined up the paper to the existing paper, so I found the mark sort of frivolous. I did use it as a guide to apply the glue – but a precise level of perfection is not necessary for a glue guide.

Excess paper

When ordering they recommend selecting 4-6 extra inches of paper for your space. Based on how my print was designed, the better visual impact meant I would be trimming about 1 inch off the bottom and 5 inches off the top. Because of this, I began applying my paper from the bottom to the top.

Painters Tape

Due to the wallpaper having 5 inches extra at the top, plus the 3-4 inches of labeling, it was top heavy. Upon applying it, the weighht at the top would cause it to actually fall off of the wall. To prevent that issue, as I got to the top of the paper, I used painters tape to hold the top panel up to the ceiling. Then I would smooth out the bubbles and lined up the seams. Once the paper was perfected, I would remove the tape then continue with cutting the excess paper off.


These were the most difficult part by far. The excess paper at the top of my strips was a leading cause for the difficulty. I pre-trimmed these pieces to only leave about an extra inch or two in order to make it more manageable.

Drying Time

This took much longer than expected. If you are planning to photograph your wallpaper shortly after install, or show people the space immediately – the drying time is something to heavily consider. My wallpaper took almost 3 full days before it was completely dry due to the nature of the thicker, more premium paper.

My Overall Wallpaper Experience as a Novice

I have an extremely sharp eye for detail and am also very type A. I’m the type of person where if a fork is askew on a table, that I have to fix it. The thought of doing wallpaper was extremely intimidating because I knew that if the pattern was not perfectly lined up, that I would only see the small imperfection and not the larger scale and not be happy with it. This drive actually made lining up the paper easier! I knew if it wasn’t correct, I couldn’t move on to the next panel. As wallpaper is essentially a cascading puzzle, I didn’t find it nearly as stressful or difficult as I thought.

Between the prep, painting, and hanging I spent about 16 hours, with some help from my husband, completing this project.

When I consider the cost that it would have been to pay an installer, I must say that I’m very happy with my decision to do it myself in this particular case. My bedroom, on the other hand, would require floor to ceiling paper, has SEVENTEEN walls, NINE combined windows & doors, plus outlets & vents. Under NO circumstance would I wallpaper that myself.

Overall I love how the wallpaper turned out & it has drastically changed the vibe in the room to be ultra dark & moody. The traditional style & color will pair wonderfully with the Ralph Lauren style touches that we’ll be incorporating to create my husband’s classy & elevated sports lounge, office, guest room & gym – a true multi-multi purpose room.

Now we’re one step closer to this room being complete! Let me know in the comments below if you’d ever attempt DIY wallpapering!

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