So this week I have been decorating my livingroom. When we moved into this house it had horrid wallpaper and I wanted to replace it. However there was a problem. Mimi was going through a stage of wanting to pick and rip at the wallpaper every time your back was turned! So I had to sit on my hands and put up with the paper I didn’t even like, never mind love, knowing that it was at least saving me from having Amelia pulling off nice new paper.
As much as it was naughty she was quite amusing with her wallpaper removal. At one point when asked who ripped this piece of wallpaper off she tried to tell us “Belle Belle did it”…. shame Belle Belle was in another room and the paper was in Amelias hand!
Anyways, this week I decided she hadn’t touched the walls in a long enough period of time that I could get the room done up in time for Christmas! I wanted to love my livingroom for Christmas. Think of it as a gift from me to me.
I had originally hoped my father in law would come and paper but he has hurt his back and so I had to accept that the job had fallen on me. I’d never papered before but how hard could it be? I remember my mum decorating our house when I was a child and so I figured I would be grand plus I always like learning something new.
I got a loan of a wallpaper stripper and started stripping the old paper off, thankful that my parents decided to come spend the afternoon helping me get it all done in one day. At this point I realised just how bad the walls in the livingroom were. Cracks, old wall plugs everywhere, uneven surfaces and even a broken bit of plaster that the last person had just papered over. Argh!
But I had started so I had to continue and decided to start with the ceiling. Painting a ceiling is easy right? Err to an extent. I was stood on a decorating stool and painting around the edges with a brush and then rolling away with a wee roller but it made it hard to actually see the job I was doing as I was so close to the ceiling, plus I was getting lots of paint on my face! So we taped a mop handle to the roller. MUCH better. You may wonder why is it like applying fake tan? Well you know when you put fake tan on you just keep rubbing it in to be sure you have got everywhere? Yeah, well, I did the same with the ceiling, just kept massaging the paint in with the roller and went back over areas when I wasn’t sure if it was all painted evenly enough. In the end I can say the ceiling looks lovely and is all a fresh white colour with no patchy bits. Emmy did good.
The next thing to do was go get the paper for the walls. I picked it online but when I got to B&Q they didn’t have it in that store and it wasn’t available to order in! Argh so off I trudged to the wallpaper aisle to start the paper picking process all over again. If you have ever picked wallpaper you may know why this is painful. I needed two different papers, one feature paper and then a plain colour to go with it. I spent a good 20 minutes unraveling sample rolls and holding them up together to see what I thought might look good.
A family started looking at papers half way through my selection process and after a few minutes they had stopped looking at papers but I realised they were still stood there… looking at me. At this point the woman admitted she was just going to wait and see what I picked because she liked my taste in paper and as we will never see each other again she didn’t care if our livingrooms were exactly the same. Blunt, amusing and slightly flattering I guess.
Once I picked my papers I grabbed the bits I needed and headed to the till…. with the woman and her family behind me buying the exact same papers lol.
I decided to start with the easiest looking wall that needed plain paper. Mainly because if you mess up with the plain paper its a less expensive mistake than messing up with the feature paper. This was when I realised wallpapering isn’t as easy as the videos make it look! And it really would have been easier to have somebody who knew what they were doing there to help with the first few sheets to get me started. Ah never mind, I got there in the end and then started on the feature wall.
That night I sent my mum a photo of my papering to show I wasn’t making a hash of it and that was when she realised I was actually doing it myself (I’m not exactly sure how she hadn’t realised this earlier?) and offered to come help the next day.
I was highly grateful when my parents arrived as the bits left to do included all the corners, the window, that broken bit of plaster that needed a quick fix and an archway.
So how do you fix a broken bit of plaster that has a great big crack without plastering you ask? Gorilla tape. I’d never heard of it but a family member who is a builder said to use it and although I was dubious, it did the job well and so I happily have papered over it.
Once the detailing was done and the edges were trimmed we roped a friend into helping us move our 3rd sofa from the back room into the livingroom (this involved carrying it out the back, around the outside of the house, over our garden fence and then back in the front door) and this morning I am pleased to say my livingroom is a sea of tranquillity. Well almost… I still have to share it with Mimi the wrecking ball who insists on shouting rather than talking.
So what did I learn from this experience?
- Expect the unexpected when you strip a wall, it really might be a thoroughly crappy surface.
- Use a long handle to paint your ceiling and if in doubt just keep rolling on a bit more paint to get an even coverage (like with fake tan).
- Sometimes you paste the paper, sometimes you paste the wall. I didn’t realise different papers had to be pasted differently before this experience.
- Practice with the cheaper paper so if you make a mistake it isn’t too costly (I had to bin one strip that I messed up).
- Patterns are a bugger to match up so be very careful matching it before you cut it (I had to bin one strip of this paper to as I somehow cut the bottom of the pattern about 6 inches too short?)
- If you can get help from somebody who has done it before, take it and learn from whatever they already know!
I’m well known for regularly moving house because I get bored easily and get itchy feet but I think I will find it hard to let go of this livingroom if/when the time comes. I can hand on heart say I love my new livingroom and I sincerely hope that the family who copied my choice love theirs just as much… of course if they don’t that will teach them for not picking their own paper haha.
Now to get started with the Christmas decorations…