There is always a time when you walk into your kitchen and realize that it’s time for a change. The kitchen is, after all, a sanctuary for you and your family. It’s where the day begins, the breakfast being the starting point for everybody. You collect your thoughts for the day while sipping a cup of coffee, while the kids chomp down quickly their bowl of cereals before heading for the school bus. In these pandemic years, with many of us forced to work at home the kitchen has become even more relevant to our daily life, often the only break we take is in this room. We cook, we prepare a sandwich, we make that phone call finally standing up after hours spend crouching in front of our computers. It’s a place that sees a lot of our life and therefore it’s subject to some wear and tear. Now, in an ideal world you would simply walk into a specialist store, pick a new kitchen, and wait for the contractors to come and put into place. A great plan, if money is not an option. For the most of us however, a new look means a more modest redecoration plan, keeping the furniture while giving the room a fresh look.
Whether you are planning to renovate it because you are tired of its look or are maybe planning to put the house on the market or maybe simply because you want to make it more attractive for new tenants for your rentals, when it comes to redecorating the big question that often arises is which approach is the most appropriate: will you opt for a simple coat of paint, go for tiles or install a wallpaper? Until not so long ago wallpaper and kitchens, especially by the countertops or in splash areas were a big no no. The idea being that wallpaper is far too delicate for humid areas subjects to dirt, grease and hot temperatures. Luckily technology has evolved and nowadays it’s possible to purchase specialized kitchen wallpaper cladded in a robust vinyl coating, able to withstand the abuse that comes from being placed near the cooking areas. The benefits of wallpaper over tiles are clear: it’s cheaper, it comes in a wider variety of motives, and its impact on the look of a room vastly exceeds a mundane tile.
The same can be said for the comparison between wallpaper and paint. What stops most people is the preconception that wallpapering requires effort and special skills that are in the realm of a professional and not for simple folks. While this might have been true in the past, when old paper-based wallpaper models required precise soaking times, nowadays this is simply no longer the case. Installing modern wallpaper to a wall is something that can be done with ease with minimal DIY skills. The world of wallpapers opens up an almost endless range of decoration styles and materials. When it comes to finding out which models are available you can rely on the web as there are many online wallpaper stores with filters for models, colors, materials and tools to find out how many you need for your project.
It goes without saying that before ordering you need to measure the size of the walls you want to decorate and keep in mind the chromatic style you are aiming for. Once you have picked the model you want make sure to check if the wallpaper in question is in stock, otherwise the waiting times might be longer). It’s now time to get to started!
Make sure you have all the tools you’ll need
Installing wallpaper can be a relaxing and enjoyable pastime, as long as you make sure you have all the tools you need for your decorating project. Let’s go through the checklist
These are the tools you want to have at hands:
- - Step ladder
- - Trestle table
- - Folding yardstick and tape measure
- - Wallpaper scissors
- - Cutter knife
- - A pair of sharpened pencils
- - A plumb line or chalk line
- - Pasting brush, paste roller, paste bucket and a few sponges
- - Seam roller
- - Pressure roller
- - Wallpaper spatula
Most of these tools are not particularly expensive and easy to source in any DIY or hardware store.
Cover the floors the kitchen fittings you cannot move
You want to make sure that nothing gets damaged or splattered on. Ideally, the room you want to decorate should be empty, but this is a kitchen so we know a number of elements cannot be moved. Invest in a superior quality and sturdy protective sheet and make sure all elements fitted to the wall are properly covered as well as the floor. Laying wallpaper requires glue, and you don’t want to show off beautifully decorated walls combined with stained floors.
Also, very important, remember that the electricity should be switched off in the room, not just the lights but also for all elements. You will be mixing water with wallpapering paste, and we all know it doesn’t play well with electricity. Safety first.
Check the state of your walls before installing wallpaper
Wallpaper needs to be installed on smooth, even walls. If this is not the case, you might need to use a primer beforehand. Also check there is no trace of mould before starting. Using a plumb line, draw a guideline for the first sheet to ensure that it is vertical. Apply the glue to the wall using a paint roller to avoid splattering. Apply the glue evenly and lay the sheet onto the wall immediately afterwards. Now use a clean, dry wallpaper brush to flatten the sheet, starting from the centre outwards. This should be done using a pressure roller, without using too much force. The important thing is to work methodically to get rid of any air bubbles that may be trapped. If the edges don't stick well, you can add a little glue with a fine brush. Take your time to install the first sheet, as this will be crucial to the success of your project. Once this is done proceed to lay the other sheets and let them dry. A little effort goes a long way and you will soon celebrate your amazing decorating skills!
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