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Giving your living space a new look doesn’t have to involve paint. Renters and anyone with a busy schedule can rely on peel-and-stick wallpaper to revitalize their homes instead. Check out how to apply peel-and-stick wallpaper in an afternoon, even if you’ve never done it before. It’s an excellent tool for beginners and anyone interested in ever-changing interior design trends.
What Is Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper?
Traditional wallpaper appeared in 200 B.C. when Chinese artists painted images on rice paper and placed it on their walls. Since then, it’s stayed almost the same. People applied an adhesive on their walls before pressing their wallpaper sheets against it and flattening air bubbles.
The work could take hours, but not anymore. Peel-and-stick wallpaper is a large sticker. You just remove the film on the back of your order and place it wherever you’d like. The easy application is one reason people turn it into prints and panels for modern-day interior design uses.
Where People Place Wallpaper
People put peel-and-stick wallpaper in any section of their living spaces. You can turn it into a statement wall in your living room, cover every wall in your bedroom, make a coat closet pop with color or transform your bathroom walls.
How to Apply Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper
Applying peel-and-stick wallpaper is easy, even if you’ve never seen it before. Use this guide to get everything you need and finish the job in an afternoon. As always, check your product’s instructions to ensure you don’t skip anything specific to your purchased brand.
- A measuring tape
- A box cutter
- A smoothing plane, like a stiff ruler
- A pencil
Read the instructions that came with your wallpaper and compare them to these steps so you apply the product correctly. The few extra seconds of your time could save hours in removal and replacement later.
1. Clean Your Walls
Imagine placing a small sticker on a dusty wooden shelf. It would come right off because it stuck to the dust instead of the wood. You’ll need to wipe your walls with a damp cloth or sponge and wait another 12 to 24 hours for it to dry.
2. Measure and Mark
Use a measuring tape to get the exact width of your peel-and-stick wallpaper. Mark the same width on your wall, starting from a corner point. Use your measuring tape and a hard-backed item like a ruler to make light pencil marks along the wall, so you always know you’re applying the wallpaper at the necessary angle.
3. Unpeel and Stick
Remove the film on the back of your wallpaper and align it with your marked wall section. It should slowly attach from the highest point of your wall to the baseboard. Use a smoothing tool every few inches to prevent excess air bubbles. When you reach the floor, trim any extra wallpaper and set the small piece aside.
4. Line the Pattern and Repeat
Align the next sheet with the newly stuck wallpaper and slightly overlap the edges. A smoothing tool will press them into each other so it doesn’t look like they’re touching. The only reason to skip this step is if your pattern clashes. If so, align them directly next to each other. Repeat the process until the wallpaper covers your selected wall space.
5. Manage Spaces Around Wall Fixtures
You’ll need to custom-fit your wallpaper around your windows and light switches. Lay the wallpaper over these fixtures and use the box cutter to trim their exact measurements. If you remove the light switch plates before reaching them, you can cut less-than-perfect edges and hide them beneath the plate.
6. Remove Lingering Air Bubbles
Some tiny air bubbles may escape your notice while you focus on applying your gorgeous new wallpaper. When you finish applying your sheets, closely inspect your work and use your flat tool to press any remaining bubbles flat.
How to Remove Temporary Wallpaper
The most significant appeal of peel-and-stick wallpaper is the ability to remove it. Check out how you can switch styles if you ever change your mind.
1. Get a New Box Cutter
You’ll need an extra sharp box cutter to slice through your wallpaper. Dull razor blades may not get through the adhesive on the back, so invest in a new sharp tool before starting the removal process.
2. Score the Wallpaper
Slice the wallpaper from top to bottom in a technique called scoring. The vertical edge should be easy to grab with your fingertips and begin to peel off as one layer.
3. Peel Away Slowly
Peel your wallpaper away from the wall in a horizontal motion. If you move slowly, you’ll avoid some pieces sticking to the wall in big or small chunks.
4. Remove Straggling Pieces
Some bits of your wallpaper may rip apart no matter how careful you are during removal. You can peel them away after the large sheet is off or use a steamer to melt the adhesive so it’s easier to unstick.
Enjoy Your Home’s New Style
Anyone can learn how to apply peel-and-stick wallpaper in a day. Read these steps to learn the basics and find a design you love. The product may come with specific instructions, but you can follow this general guide to give your home a new style even if you’re renting.
Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper FAQs
These are some of the most common questions people have when they get interested in temporary wallpaper. See if they help you determine if peel-and-stick wallpaper is your next remodeling project.
Is Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper Easy to Appy?
Temporary wallpaper only takes a few minutes to apply. Measured pencil marks guide your first section as you unstick the back and press it in a straight column. Afterward, you only have to match the paper to what’s on your walls as you navigate around windows and light switches.
How Long Does Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper Last?
Your peel-and-stick wallpaper can last up to three years, depending on the brand you get. Some companies use lighter adhesives so it’s easier for renters to remove when they move out. Others have heavy-duty adhesive meant for years of use.
What Do I Do If My Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper Starts Peeling Off?
You can always press your wallpaper back into place if it starts peeling off. If it peels away again, clean the wall and let it dry overnight before reapplying the wallpaper.
When that doesn’t work either, it might have low-grade adhesive or was part of a bad batch. You could call the brand with your proof of purchase to request a refund or replacement.
How Do I Clean Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper?
Sometimes splashes, dirt and other gross things can end up on the walls. Clean your peel-and-stick wallpaper with a gentle countertop spray or soap and water. Apply only a tiny amount of liquid to the mess to avoid removing the color or paper from other areas.
It’s also best to avoid using bleach on wallpaper. It easily eats through the material while introducing harmful gasses into your home. Your preferred wallpaper brand may have specialty cleaning kits available if you’re nervous about using sprays, soaps or other chemical-based products.
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