Wallpapering Our Guest Bath

Woowoo I did a very fun thing on Friday! Haha just kidding doing it was awful, but now that it’s done it’s SO FUN! I wallpapered our guest half-bathroom into the palm print paradise of my dreams! The wallpaper is Graham and Brown’s Honolulu Palm print wallpaper in green. Oh how I love Honolulu — and this paper — and now this bathroom! Finally.

This itty bitty 4’x4′ room has gone through a round of transformations since we bought our house almost five years ago. It looked like this in August 2016:

The mirror! The beige. And beige. And more beige.

When we renovated our kitchen in the spring of 2017, we decided to run the same new tile from the kitchen down the stairs through the hallway to the front door, including this bathroom, which meant, while we were at it, might as well completely renovate the bathroom because projects always snowball:

Since the bathroom was a bit of an afterthought and we were already overwhelmed with decisions at that point in the process we went really basic — very white with brass fixtures — not much in the way of personality! But in our opinion it was still way better than what was there before. (I remember getting a comment around that time that we actually made it look worse than the old bathroom 🤷‍♀️ but, well, to each their own.) I see now how boring it is, but we were in a super minimalist, new-parents-of-a-four-month-old, overwhelmed-with-everything, living-12-weeks-without-a-kitchen stage of our lives where we wanted the least amount of fuss possible. It’s taken YEARS to get out of that phase, haha.

In February of this year I was hosting a Galentine’s Day party at our house and suddenly woke up the day before with the urge to paint stripes on the wall, similar to the stripes in our cabin. This is the kind of thing that happens to me, so instead of focusing on cleaning for guests I started painting!! (Andy helped clean because he’s the best.) The photos on the walls are postcards from Palm Springs. The stripes were far from perfect but I love the colors! It was cute. But still, the room as a whole was pretty boring.

And that brings us to last week. But to finish the story we actually need to back it up again….

Waaay back in the spring of 2018 I bought two rolls of some really nice wallpaper to put in our kids’ bathroom upstairs, and shared all the plans on the blog. Then I meant to do it… and meant to do it… and never did it. And sometimes when you just can’t quite pull the trigger on a project … it’s not actually the right project. Since we’ve been doing A LOT of projects during quarantine (we owe you SO MANY photos of, like, half our house that’s been changed), we started talking seriously about what we’d actually like the kids’ bathroom to look/feel like, and this just wasn’t it (but ooh, our ideas for that room are so fun). I told Andy I was going to sell the wallpaper rolls we still had sitting in their box in the basement. Then the next day I thought, wait a second! We have a boring bathroom downstairs just screaming for some wallpaper! So wallpaper it I did.

This wallpaper is a paste-the-wall product. The glue came with the paper rolls as a pouch of powder that had to be mixed with 5 liters of water. I applied the glue directly to the wall with a paintbrush and then hung the paper and used a sharp knife to trim it. Helpful tip: use a VERY sharp knife. I bought one of those snap-off exacto-type knives so I could keep it really sharp and even then sometimes the edges were pulling and ripping and shredding and making me cry. That was by far my least favorite part, besides having to match patterns, which was super tricky on this particular paper.

I’ll be honest: wallpapering was horrrrrrible. There is not a single part of this room that isn’t tight, squished, awkward and totally uncomfortable. There was literally only one time I didn’t have to trim the paper in some way, whether for a corner, to go around the vanity, to go around a heat vent, or plumbing or whatever. I had to squeeze behind the toilet, stand on the toilet, deal with the paper crashing down on me after I thought it was all done, match a very tricky pattern, pretty much go a little crazy. It ripped. It sometimes didn’t fit. Sometimes I cut it wrong. I did a ton of patching. I did a ton of trimming. I cried. The edges ripped. The edges curled. My back hurt so bad. I almost gave up before the first wall was half done.

But in hindsight, it all took me less than a day, maybe six hours total, which isn’t the worst. Is it perfect? Not even close. And also, you can’t see in these pictures just because of the nature of what angles we were able to get the camera around, but I didn’t do one wall, to the left of the sink, that has closets because trying to cut around not one but two stacked closet doors just was a level of complicated I was not up to at the time. Or ever. I think having one white wall actually helps to give your eye a break from all the pattern. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself and sticking to it.

Would I do it all again? Probably. Would I hire someone else to do it? Oh heck yes in a second if we weren’t unemployed. Am I really happy I did it? 1000%. Finally this room has some personality. It’s soooo much fun. The paper is gorgeous with a really beautiful embossed texture in person. And glitter!! It’s impossible to see in photos, but there’s subtle glitter throughout and it is fabulous!

I love the flamingo hook that we decided to use to hang hand towels (and just happened to have a flamingo hand towel to match, of course). The hook was a gift from a friend years ago, and I’m so glad I suddenly remembered it just when we were about to hang our old towel bar instead. This is so much more fun. And I love the view from our newly painted hallway. The mint paint in the hallway (Sherwin Williams Aloe) and the green palm leaves are just so good together. What a happy coincidence! I also ordered a super cute flamingo print to go on the wall that hasn’t arrived yet. I haven’t even put the toilet paper holder back up yet. Maybe I should’ve waited to take pictures until it’s all totally done but I was too excited to wait!!!

So what do you think? Did we finally succeed in giving this itsy bitsy room a huge dose of personality? Are you going to try to tackle a wallpaper project in your own house? (Pro tip: HIRE SOMEONE! haha) Let me know if you have any other questions about the wallpapering process or anything else in this room!

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