So I know I said I was focusing on getting our bedroom closer to done, but I got side-tracked with Maya’s closet. “Oooop-ieeees” as Maya would say.
All of our closets have been pretty much a disaster since we moved in. We made sure there was a rod and a shelf in Maya’s closet, but then just shoved things in, including two small dressers we had from the old house. In all honesty, it was still probably the best closet in the house so far – some don’t even have shelves in them yet. Mine just has plastic drawer units and some old clothes racks.
Anyway, I wanted to do a few things in tackling this closet:
1 // Make it functional. We need smarter storage in here. Baskets, shelves, etc, with a dedicated spot for everything. Right now, random stuff is just shoved into drawers and stuck up on the top shelf with no order.
2 // Make it pretty. I LOVE a gorgeous closet, I really do. I haven’t ever had the opportunity to actually decorate the inside of one, so I want to have fun with this guy. I want Maya to love it, and have it be something that will grow with her.
3 // Test out my wallpapering skills. So you guys know that I’m working as a brand ambassador for Graham & Brown this year. Well, I have used their papers so far in small scale projects (my IKEA Latt table hack, and this shadow box art project), but I hadn’t actually pasted any up on the walls yet. It was time to start, but since I’m a total novice I figured that starting somewhere like a closet would be a good idea. If there was a slightly imperfect seam, well, you won’t be starring at it from your bed day-in and day-out, you know?
Here is how the closet was looking from the outside….
But the inside was a whole different story.
First step was to take everything out (you really don’t want to see the state of our guest bedroom right now… it’s straight out of an episode of hoarders!).
Once that was done, we gave the shelf and baseboard a coat of PARA paint’s Whitewash White (the door & trim paint line). We hadn’t gotten to it earlier when the closet was being finished, so it was still just the raw MDF. All of a sudden the closet already started to feel so much more fresh.
Next up was the wallpaper. I chose the ‘Isabelle Blue’ paper after using it for the Latt table. It really is such a beautiful pattern, and the colours went beautifully with the mint accents in Maya’s room.
My adventure in wallpapering actually went pretty well, all things considered. I had heard that it can be a frustrating and long DIY, so I was a little nervous. Including the prep and clean-up though, I’d say the closet took me about 2.5 hours in total. And I wasn’t totally wanting to pull my hair out at the end of anything. Not bad!
Here were the things I learned about wallpapering along the way:
// Start with a perfect line: The first step is REALLY important. You want to draw a vertical pencil line on the wall surface at your chosen starting point. You are going to line up your first sheet of paper along this line and all the rest will follow it, so if it isn’t level, then everything is going to be off and potentially look crooked. Check that your line is perfectly level a few times before you get started.
My first piece overlapped a corner (you always want to do that in corners, rather than having a seam there). It looks a little crooked in this photo for some reason, but it was actually a fairly good plumb line.
// Seams are important, and work with a partner: The seams of side-by-side strips of paper should butt against one another, not overlap. Particularly if you have any kind of pattern in the paper that has to match, you don’t want to have overlap as the pattern will look off. You also don’t want any kind of space between your two strips. Getting things lined up perfectly is what I struggled most with. If you can wallpaper with someone else, then I think that would make it a lot easier (one person holds the paper up top, while the other carefully lines it up down the seam). That was a lesson learned for me. Doing it on my own = not the best idea.
// Dealing with bubbles: Carefully push any bubbles out toward the borders. You want to use whatever smoothing tool your wallpaper kit provided you with. The one from Graham & Brown was nice and big and I was easily able to smooth out the paper toward the edges, then wipe away any excess glue with a damp cloth as I went. I got no bubbles or wrinkles in my paper and was actually surprised by how easy that part was.
// For cutting edges: I used a good quality exacto knife to trim the excess paper at the top and bottom edges. I would hold up my smoothing tool, which held the paper nice and tightly against the trim seam, and then ran my exacto along it. This ensured a crisp line and was pretty easy to do. Going around any corners or wonky areas can be a challenge, so take your time to make sure you get a good cut.
// “Paste the wall” wallpapers for the win: This is obviously my first time at the rodeo with wallpapers, but I have to say I’m a huge fan of the paste-the-wall type that I used from Graham & Brown. You mixed up the glue, and apply it on the wall with a paint roller. Then you take your strip of paper, place it on the wall and smooth down. I imagine it would have been a whole bunch trickier to be holding wet gluey paper and trying to get the placement right on the wall, without getting glue all over my hands and making a mess. Maybe some of you other seasoned wallpaper-er’s will disagree with me — let me know! I’m curious.
All in all, I’d say my first shot was OK but not perfect. There are a few seams that bug me, and a corner where I was trying to go too fast (you can see it in the photo below). However, it was all in the name of learning and I feel like my next go will be better!
Now that it’s looking all kinds of pretty in there, I can’t wait to get it organized! We had been talking about custom building some shelving, but we just measured out some IKEA stuff and think it’s going to be a good option. Look out for a post next week – we plan on shopping this weekend!
You guys done any wallpapering before? Any tips or tricks to share with this newbie? Seriously, I plan on doing a bunch more in our pad, so I’m all ears.