Wallpapering Our Kitchen Island

Things are getting a little wild around here! It’s all because of the most amazing pink leopard print wallpaper by Eleanor Bowmer that we added to the back of our kitchen island… Let me just say that again: Pink. Leopard. Print. Wallpaper. It’s the wallpaper of my dreams! And it has given our super-white kitchen such a huge dose of personality. We couldn’t be happier.

When we designed our kitchen over three years ago, not long after moving into this house, we purposefully left it a very blank slate. Literally. It’s so, so white. We knew we wanted to have the opportunity to make changes down the road, so white was the best choice to live with until we were finally sure what we wanted to do.

Our island specifically has been a problem ever since it was built. The wood tannins are constantly leaking through the white paint, leaving brown smears on the white paint, which unfortunately can happen even if the wood was primed prior to painting. It could still be a simple enough thing for us to fix — according to Remodelaholic using shellac as a primer is a way to prevent tannin bleeding — but if we were going to the trouble of repainting we’d rather do something different. But what? We thought about painting it a different color… but couldn’t choose a color. For a while we considered tiling it… but couldn’t choose a tile. Wallpaper… but what pattern. You get the idea.

As soon as I saw this wallpaper by Eleanor Bowmer on Instagram I immediately sent it to Andy and said “THIS IS IT!” Well, it was probably more like, “omg I love thisssssss” while I frantically measured the island to find out how many rolls we’d need and how much it would cost. I love how the pattern is both obviously leopard but also abstract and oversized enough to not be kitschy and fussy. It’s so fun and so perfectly represents us and our house, but it’s still subtle enough to not be loud and distracting. Plus, the color scheme is PERFECT in our house — the peach, the blush, the deep charcoal, the grey, and the warmer ivory background that helps to warm up the stark white kitchen… Just perfect.

Honestly, it took me a while, as in, a few months, to get up the guts to actually attempt putting up the wallpaper. I felt like the roll of wallpaper was leering at me everyday saying, you wimp! We did peel-and-stick wallpaper in Joey’s room (well, Andy did while I was hugely pregnant), which was easy enough, but this is the real stuff that requires wallpaper paste. Paste?! I’m so intimidated by paste.

Turns out, paste isn’t so bad. But it wasn’t the by-myself-during-kid-nap job that I hoped it might be. It took me and Andy working together, but it wasn’t so hard once we got the hang of it and it took less than two hours total. The hardest part for me was math but Andy’s a whiz and I would’ve figured it out myself eventually, I swear.

These are the supplies we used:

  • wallpaper paste — this stuff was super gross and messy and dripped all over the floor, but it worked fine once we accepted that it was just going to be messy
  • exacto knife + smoothing tool (the “essential wallpaper installation kit”)
  • lots and lots of paper towels

I’m still half expecting to see the wallpaper lying on the floor every time I walk in the door, but it’s been a couple weeks and it’s still there miraculously. And it looks SO GOOD.

Don’t be surprised if you see some more changes in this kitchen soon! Now that we have our starting point, I’m on a roll, full steam ahead to completing some other long-time ideas in here… maybe even a change of color??? hint hint ;)

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