Tuesday, January 28, 2014

House Update: Wallpaper Removal

I feel like I haven't posted a house update...um, ever. Sorry about that! The progress on our home projects is slower than I would like, but I have to remember that every little thing is a step in making our house the home we envision. We're trying to focus on making quality updates by doing things the right way, but that also means things take much long than I ever thought possible.

One of the first rooms we decided to change is the family room/office/random room we hardly use next to our kitchen.

Obligatory before shots

Brian really, really hated this wallpaper. He said the grass cloth looked like burlap sacks glued to the wall. While I think some grass cloth wallpapers can look nice, ours had seen better days after at least three decades (probably more like five) on our walls.

There were plenty of sun bleached spots...

...and questionable stains 

...and tears in the wallpaper

So, just a few weeks after moving in, I decided to tackle the wallpaper myself. Here are the supplies I used:

Vinegar, your wallpaper removal bff, scraper, and sponge (which is somehow not pictured)

First, I covered our floors, expecting things to get a little messy. Next, I created my wallpaper removal mixture of half hot water and half vinegar, which makes your house smell great. I used my sponge to soak an area of wallpaper that in theory should eat away at the wallpaper glue.

I started small

Next, I started on a corner and scraped and pulled off wallpaper in as big of chunks as possible, which was usually about four inches at a time.

No, I'm not advertising for Hyde, the sticker refused to come off

After a lot of scraping, my wall looked like this:

 Obviously, I couldn't leave all this junk on the walls, so I used my sponge soaked in my vinegar mixture to scrub, scrub, scrub the paper/paste mixture off the wall. This was the worst part. It took all my upper body strength and about a week to remove it all. And by all, I mean what I could live with after hours of scrubbing.
Scrubbed on the left / Not yet scrubbed on the right

Sadly, in order to remove all the wallpaper from this room, we also had to remove the beautiful built in cabinet in there. It made me really sad to have to remove it since it was one of the things I absolutely loved when we looked at our house, but we saved it so we could replace it if we wanted.

After removing the built in though, the room felt so much bigger that I couldn't see putting it back. We did keep the cabinet though and hope to repurpose it somewhere else in our house. Unfortunately, after we removed the cabinet, we uncovered yet another issue:

Two toned floors!
The floors around the built in had been refinished, making the floor look ridiculous. Luckily, floor refinishing was also on our to do list.
This room still has a long way to go, I literally just removed the wallpaper and have done nothing else in this room, but Brian still thinks it is a huge improvement.

Have you ever removed wallpaper? Was it difficult or easy? Actually, don't tell me if it was easy, I'm not sure I could handle it.


  1. How frustrating! Good thing you had already planned to do something with the floors. That would have been the point at which I burst into tears.

    1. I was not happy to see the giant discolored patch in our floor, but it made us get a move on refinishing a little sooner than we would have!

  2. I commend you on tackling the wallpaper! When we looked at homes, I always told myself that it wouldn't be too difficult to remove wallpaper, until I read other bloogers that did it. It sounds so tiring!

    1. Luckily, it was only one room, I can't imagine doing an entire house!


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