Even if you know how to hang wallpaper like a pro, it's still a bit of an intimidating task. And removing it — be it by the soak-and-scrape method or with a steamer — is always a big ole, time-intensive pain in the butt. Or, it was, until the Graham & Brown Paste the Wall wallpaper came around.
I came across this novel wallpaper technology, which claimed to make "wallpapering simple, clean, and quick for even the novice decorator," because it peels off in full sheets, requiring no steaming or scraping, and because you paste the wall itself rather than the paper when hanging. Could this be love? I was a little skeptical, so I asked Graham & Brown to send me a roll, so I could try it out myself. To hear my analysis,
- Hanging. Like any wallpaper, you still need to do your measurements, and line up the patterns correctly. I was working with a small area that had a built-in niche, so it was a little hard to manage, but that simply came with the territory. Pasting the wall rather than the paper made the process a lot less messy and time-consuming. No paste all over my fingers, no wallpaper sticking to itself. No muss, no fuss. After mixing the paste, I globbed it onto the wall and then lined up the top of the roll. It stayed on the wall while I lined up the rest of the sheet, and I had a few minutes to get it into place and smooth out bubbles before it dried. When there were areas that needed a little touching up at the base, I was able to peel the sheet up, realign, and then apply some more paste. I'd say it was the least intimidating and streamlined wallpapering experience I've ever had — and I wouldn't call myself a pro.
- Removing. I did actually want to keep my wallpaper in place, so I tested the removal process in another area of my home. Just as described, the wallpaper peeled off in full sheets. I found that removal worked best when I peeled slowly but steadily. But honestly, the directions were quite to the point: "To remove, lift a bottom corner and peel steadily up." Then, I washed off the wheat paste with a good sponge-down of soapy water. This facile removal process makes wallpapering a great option for renters, who up until now, wouldn't be able to get away with making that sort of semipermanent change to their homes.
- Selection. I'm pretty darn impressed with the Paste the Wall selection. There are 195 wallpapers in a variety of beautiful patterns for both modern and traditional homes. Pattern isn't your thing? There are even grasscloths and frescos available in a handful of subdued tones. I chose the Tempting-Turquoise paper ($60/double roll) by Linda Barker. It has a large-scale chrysanthemum design with a feminine palette of soft, apple green, turquoise, and shimmery gold on a grayish-brown background; it goes perfectly with the green paint in the next room.
- Price. At $60 a double roll, I think Graham & Brown offers a great price for a designer roll. To give you an idea, papers by Ferm Living, which do not even use this technology, go for around $94, and even Pottery Barn's only paper, which does pull off in full sheets, will cost you $84. Some of Graham & Brown's other wallpapers cost only $10 less.
I'm impressed on many levels with Paste the Wall, and would certainly consider (and actually am considering) using it again in my home. I highly recommend it. If you think wallpapering a whole room would be a little overwhelming, consider wallpapering a nook or the ceiling.