Some of our readers were really apprehensive about us putting up wallpaper in the playroom, Greta’s room, Faye’s room, and Polly’s room, and usually those people have had terrible experiences with removing wallpaper. Now that we have removed the wallpaper in the laundry room, we completely get it. What a pain! You’re kind of at the mercy of whoever installed the wallpaper, and there’s no guarantee they followed all the proper preparation steps. Priming is key, and if you don’t prime the walls before installation, then whoever decides to remove it will basically have a big sticky mess on their hands. Just to be clear, we have primed EVERY time we have installed wallpaper, and just in case the future-home owners decide it’s not for them, removal should be a lot easier (fingers crossed).
But back to the laundry room. We wanted to give it a little face-lift before selling, and that included removing the yellow, ornate wallpaper that just wasn’t my style. Once we peeled up a little corner and saw how stubborn it was coming off, we had a hunch the walls weren’t primed beforehand. Enter in lots of research to figure out the best way to go about this task, and lots of trial and error. This was quite the project so we wanted to share a few techniques that we tried, and also a possible solution that might work better if you find yourself in the same “sticky” situation.
Google found this wallpaper removal kit from Lowe’s for us. Basically how it works is you first score the wallpaper all over, mix the concentrate with warm water, soak a rag in the solution, and wipe the rag directly on the wallpaper. After about 15 minutes it’s just supposed to scrape off. “Supposed to” is the key phrase here. We didn’t have much luck with that, so we turned to plan B.
We already had this industrial power steamer that we originally got for cleaning floors so we gave that a try. We steamed an area, slowly peeled, and scraped away. Steam, peel, steam, peel… and it was coming off! I mean, it still wasn’t coming off very easily, but it was working better than the kit we tried. We just kept on going with this because it was the best we knew how to do.
After the fact, we actually got a lot of messages on Instagram recommending this removal product called SimpleStrip. It’s a kit that comes with these sheets that adhere to the wall, and penetrate the solution deep into the wallpaper. Plus the sheets are reusable. Hindsight is 20/20, but I do have a feeling we might be using this kit in a future house? Time will tell.
The removal left behind some peeling paint and ultimately we had no choice than to skim-coat the walls afterwards. I don’t think this is a typical step if the wallpaper comes off cleaner but our walls were pretty damaged. Skim coating doesn’t actually take too much time and we do have a little tutorial if you want to try it out, but just a little lesson to the wise; do yourself and future generations a favor and always prime before you install wallpaper.
Our original plans for this room were to try a new wall treatment we’ve never done before – limewashing. Unfortunately, the limewash samples we ordered a month ago have not arrived yet, plus even after selecting the finish we like, we would have to wait even longer for the product to arrive so I don’t think it’s in the trajectory anymore. Instead, I turned to my trusty paint deck and decided on Alabaster for the walls (the same white paint in the rest of our house), and Argos for the cabinets.
A little reminder of what the laundry room looked like before.
…and currently. We also took the trim off the drying racks, and we’re going to add a little siding piece and paint it all the same color as the cabinets. Here’s a little moodboard we put together to better represent the face-lift it’s getting. I think the rug and art will tie it all together nicely.