DIY: How to Remove Wallpaper

I’ve recently moved into a new house.  The house is a 1980’s “U” shaped bungalow.  It has all the interior design trends of the 80’s.  Fan shaped plastered walls, textured brown glass, carpeted on-suites, archways and oh did I mentioned the textured wallpaper?  The house needs totally modernising.

The Master Bedroom has a feature wall.  I’m making it sound elaborate however elaborate it is not.  The previous owner had painted over the textured cream wallpaper to create the so called stand-out wall.  The colour, pure blue.

Stripping wallpaper is a simple, easy and inexpensive job.  Even the most novice weekend DIY’er can have a go and succeed.  There are different ways to remove wallpaper, from renting a wallpaper steamer to good old fashioned elbow grease.  The latter was my choice and below is a simple step by step guide.

Time: half a day per wall.

Tools: bucket, sponge, fabric softener, scraper, Stanley knife, plastic sheeting, small step ladder.

The feature wall.

The textured wallpaper.

Step 1:  Get your kit ready.  Mix your solution 50:50.  I used an inexpensive fabric softener and hot water. 

Step 2: Score the wall lightly with a Stanley Knife.  Then wash the wall down with your soapy mix.  I have found that by washing the whole wall and then going back to the start and re-doing the wash again works well.  The wallpaper needs time to absorb the liquid and the liquid needs time to unstick the adhesive glue. (Note you can use a vinegar solution too however I prefer the smell of the fabric softener).

Make sure to put a plastic cover over your floor surface.  I would usually tape the plastic to the skirting board to fully protect however in this instance I didn’t need to as once this room has been fully redecorated the carpet is to be replaced.  My sheet here is just for mess.

Step 3: Using your hands and a scraper tool gently pull the wallpaper off the walls.  Pulling upwards is the preferred direction however some areas do come away easier than others against the grain.

Step 4: Wash down your wall again ensuring no paper and adhesive have been left on.

(Article & Photography / Laura Thomas)

Laura Thomas is Owner / Designer at Laura Thomas Linens 

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