Thursday, July 28, 2011

Before and After: Painting Over Wallpaper

Thank you for your kind comments about our dining room saga.  Some of you asked if the color on the furniture complemented the color on the walls - it kind of doesn't.  The color palette in the room is cream/gray/citrine and now I have these stark white chairs and table.  It sticks out like a sore thumb.  Anyway, I'm trying to see if I can hijack a highschool student to help me repaint them!! 

Anyway, before we painted, our dining room had wallpaper.  Actually, it still does.  But now it just has paint over it! :)  The wallpaper was there before I moved in and it is just not me.  See below.

I find the stripes overbearing for our small dining room.  So, let me tell you 3 reasons why I chose to paint over the wallpaper instead of taking the wallpaper down.

1) Condition of walls.  The reason the wallpaper was hung in the first place was because the walls are not in great condition. I was concerned that after taking the wallpaper down I would probably have to skim coat and sand the walls to ensure an even and smooth surface.  This would be a pain.

2) Removing wallpaper is not always an easy task.  Sometimes the paper comes down in sheets and sometimes it doesn't.  And since I am pregnant and have no experience with this I decided not to go there.

3) Time and Money.  I wanted to get this done before the baby comes and since we're moving in the near future, I didn't want to waste too much time or money removing the wallpaper, sanding walls, etc. 

You get the picture.  So, how do you paint over wallpaper?  Well, here is a good tutorial that I followed, but I will give you a quick run down of how I went about it. 

1) Identify all the visible edges, as well as any loose/peeling wallpaper.  With a razor, carefully trim back any loose pieces.  See the seams below.

2) Next, put just a little joint compound (the mud used at joints in drywall) on any uneven spots - so this means all seams, edges, and places where loose wallpaper was removed.  This is the most important part, since you want the surface to be as smooth as possible before painting.

I had our painter do this and the key to having a seamless look is to ensure that the compound is "feathered" out properly (so the seam disappears).  If it is visible or bumpy, you'll need to sand it more.  Use 150 grit sandpaper or finer.

3) Once the compound is dry and sanded, you will need to prime over the wallpaper.  You need to use an oil based primer.  This is critical because the glue holding the wallpaper onto the wall is activated by water.  Putting latex (water based) paint on will just cause the wallpaper to fall off the wall, which is what we're trying to avoid.  Also, the primer is also the first step to hiding the wallpaper pattern, so it doesn't show through the top coat.  Oil based paint stinks ... so ventilate the area well.  

4) Now, you are ready to paint your walls.  The painter used two coats of latex paint (eggshell finish) and voila!

So that's it ... I love the new color (BM White Down).  It's just so much more airy and open.   


  1.'s like a breath of fresh air. Looks great, Fran! (we have that same table and have big plans for it.)

  2. Your reasons for painting over the wallpaper are all really sensible. I think it looks great! I also love the Dwell fabric you picked out on the mood board. I can't wait for the big reveal!

  3. Wow! Your dining room looks so fresh and airy now. I would love to have those corner cabinets!

  4. Oh my gosh, Fran. Such a dramatic makeover! I LOVE it now. I'd want to spend my entire day in there with all of the light. I have a feeling that when you are done with this, you're going to knock it out of the park.

  5. Also, which color will you paint the chandelier? (Although, I have to say that I like it the way it is too.)

  6. So fresh and inviting! I love the change!

  7. Given the circumstances I would have done the same thing-and it looks great! I've done the whole skim coat/sanding thing at our old home and it's a long and messy process. (Probably not the best project to tackle when you're pregnant either.)

  8. Great tips, and a smart move to not go through the hassle of taking it all down. The end result is beautiful--you'd never know the stripes are there!

  9. What kind of fire or heating system you have been using in your house?

  10. You have done an excellent work. The colour combination is very good.

  11. This is a cool and nice post ever.I was looking at some of your posts on this website and I conceive this web site is really instructive.

  12. If what you say in point 3 is true why did your painter use latex paint?

  13. This are awesome wallpapers. Thanks for sharing this........
    Visit for more:
    New Gaming wallpaper full HD 2014

  14. Great tips. Its really helpful for me. we are doing Wallpaper in Chennai

  15. wow! your dining table is so nice and beautiful collection i have related stuff like this visit on my website