How to Apply Wallpaper; Peel and Stick vs. Regular Wallpaper

Let’s talk about wallpaper for a minute. Whether you like it or not this lovely trend from the 1980’s is back! What I mean is that it’s back in moderation.


We used to plaster walls, ceilings, practically every surface you could touch, with wallpaper.

Today it seems like we are seeing more “accent walls.” In an effort to keep up with the trends (just kidding), I’m adding a little faux brick wallpaper to my kitchen. I’m going to share all about the process of how to apply wallpaper and a few thoughts on peel and stick vs. regular wallpaper.

how to apply wallpaper
budget friendly beach cottage mudroom makeover
vintage chic bedroom makeover one room challenge

Since we moved to our rustic beach cottage about six months ago, I’ve already added wallpaper to a few areas. I love the touch of color it added to our coastal style mudroom and the fun accent wall I created in my daughters vintage chic bedroom makeover. 

My experience up until this point with wallpaper was an easy experience…..with peel and stick wallpaper.

Even though it’s been years since I ventured out into the world of regular wallpaper, I knew it was coming.

Let’s talk about the difference between peel and stick wallpaper vs. regular wallpaper.

Pros of Peel and Stick Wallpaper

  • easy to remove
  • leaves no residue on the wall to clean up after removal
  • doesn’t require paste to apply

Cons of Peel and Stick Wallpaper

  • more expensive than regular wallpaper
  • not as many product options or variety
  • can be difficult to get it straight and smooth with all the “bubbles” that get caught behind the wallpaper

Pros of Regular Wallpaper

  • lots of product options
  • much more affordable than peel and stick wallpaper
  • fairly easy to hang and wipe smooth with a rag

Cons of Regular Wallpaper

  • requires a paste or adhesive to use with the wallpaper
  • the paste can be messy
  • much harder to remove than the peel and stick wallpaper
  • this is a more “permanent” option than peel and stick wallpaper

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Let me show you my “kitchen nook” and the area where I’m going to add wallpaper.

This space was originally used for the refrigerator. Back in the 1980’s when our home was built, a fridge would have fit just fine. Now, 40 years later, our fridge swallows this space up and doesn’t fit. This is why we decided to do something else with it.

Wondering what we did with the fridge? We created a DIY beverage bar and moved it to another wall.

The first thing I did was add peel and stick wallpaper. You might notice this is the same wallpaper I used in our mudroom transformation.

After living with it for almost six months, I decided it wasn’t the “look” I was going for. This is the beauty of peel and stick. Easy on, easy off! I decided I wanted to go with a faux brick look. You can see the faux brick I’m using HERE.

Video on how to apply regular wallpaper;

How to apply Wallpaper and peel and stick wallpaper vs. regular glue down wallpaper

How to apply regular wallpaper

  1. Prepare your wall. This means making sure it’s a smooth and clean surface. Adding a coat of primer is a huge plus because it creates a “barrier” for the glue so it isn’t absorbed by the wall.
  2. Use a level to make sure the wall is straight (most of the time it is not). If it isn’t level, draw a straight line on the top and sides of the wall. The purpose of this is to mark where you will start laying your wallpaper. If the wallpaper isn’t level when you apply it, your patter will be crooked.
  3. Measure and cut your first sheet of wallpaper.
  4. Mix your paste. Most wallpapers come with a suggested wallpaper paste. The paste will have directions on how to mix it.
  5. Apply the paste to the wallpaper with a roller or a paint brush.
  6. Apply your first sheet of wallpaper. Make sure it is level.
  7. Use another roller or a rag and smooth the wallpaper. Start in the middle of the sheet and work your way to the edges to push the bubbles out.
  8. Use an X-acto knife or a sharp blade to cut and trim the edges of the wallpaper.
  9. Cut another sheet of wallpaper and make sure the pattern lines up with the first sheet that has already been applied.
  10. Repeat steps 5 through 8.

There it is, your new wallpaper wall!

Since this post I’ve updated the space with a few DIY shelves and a storage cabinet.

Check out our new kitchen cubby makeover now!

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How to apply wallpaper; peel and stick vs. regular wallpaper

Thanks for following along my little corner of the internet world!


One thought on “How to Apply Wallpaper; Peel and Stick vs. Regular Wallpaper

  1. I have always struggled with wallpaper. I love the clean character it can add to a room, but I am not very successful with the application. After reading this, it jumped out at me that I’ve never used a primer for the wall, I’ve only just cleaned it. I’m going to kick myself if that has been the issue! I’ve got a room that I’ve been putting off, so I’m going to see. Thanks for sharing this with us at the Homestead Blog Hop!

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