This Sneaky Wallpaper Hack For Renters Is Genius!

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Sarah of Sarah M. Dorsey Designs shares a clever DIY to help you create an amazing feature wall in your home that doubles as a unique headboard.

I realized that after Creating with the Stars, I never shared the full tutorials on how we built our grasscloth + nailhead feature wall and our custom upholstered headboard. So today I'll be sharing how we built this massive feature wall and tomorrow I'll share the headboard.

Living in a rental makes it nearly impossible to install classic wallpaper and nailhead, so we decided to build a separate feature wall!

We wanted to incorporate two of my favorite materials, nailhead and grasscloth wallpaper. I love the texture of the wallpaper and the dimension of the nailhead. So I was determined to find a way to make it work!

Want to know how we built the wall? Here we go!

Sarah M. Dorsey Designs

We purchased three sheets of plywood from Home Depot and had them cut to 7' high. Since the feature wall is 12' long, it would need to be built inside of the room. We designed it so that it could easily be dismantled into three pieces to be removed. We tied the seams together with 1x3s and built a frame on the back with 1x3s so it was extra sturdy and straight. We then flipped it over and primed it so that the wall paper adhesive wouldn't soak in. **side note: it was SUPER tight in the room, we basically had about a foot on all sides to walk around and yes, that is the mattress shoved into the bathroom, it barely fit!)

Sarah M. Dorsey Designs

Once dry, we cut the wallpaper to the correct height, placed it to the side and rolled wallpaper adhesive over the primer. We then used a wallpaper smoothing tool to remove any bubbles. The steps were repeated with 4 rows across, lining up the seams. It was helpful to have two people so that it could be adjusted as needed!

Sarah M. Dorsey Designs

For the design, I was inspired by this fantastic headboard by Annie Selke. We created the design in Illustrator, and calculated the distance between the nailhead and printed it on two sheets of 11x17 which were taped together (You can download our version HERE, print on two sheets of 11x17 — design overlaps so use the extra design to help line it up before taping). We then punched little holes through the dots and used a felt tip pen to lay it out on the wallpaper.

Nailhead isn't the most fun thing to apply, but once you hit a rhythm you move pretty fast! Here are a few tips that I found helpful as I went. 1. To help protect my fingers from the hammer and to grab the nailhead more easily, I used rubber finger tips on my thumb and index finger (you know the ones that they sell in the office supply stores for sorting paper and such?) When I did hit my fingers, it hurt a lot less, and they weren't even sore when I was done! 2. If your wood is soft enough, push a few in with your finger first and then hammer. This saves time since you are putting the hammer up and down less frequently. Since our plywood was soft and hard in different spots, this wasn't always possible, but it helped when we could! 3. Lastly, this feature wall took about 2,000 nails. Wow, that's a lot of nails! So it was helpful to have two people or if you have the time, break it up over a few days. Total install time for the nailhead with two people was about 8 hrs.

We installed the trim (we painted first) before the nailhead reached the edge, so we knew exactly where to stop it. We used finish nails to secure the trim and then filled the holes with wood filler, sanded and painted once dry.

Next, we decided that we wanted the wall to sit just above the trim, so we cut legs to height out of a 1x12 and secured it to the back frame. We then installed a few cabinet anchors through the trim into the wall to make sure that it was firmly attached.

This wall was pretty massive! Almost the length of the room, but I LOVE the impact that it has on the space! Just because we are renting doesn't mean that without a little creative thinking we can't have a statement wall!

Sarah M. Dorsey Designs

I love how the grasscloth slightly shimmers depending on the lighting.

Sarah M. Dorsey Designs

The nightstand is from World Market, the sphere from TJ Maxx and I picked up little letters (to spell his and hers) from a local antique store, books were wrapped in paper from the Paper Source.

Sarah M. Dorsey Designs

This week was sponsored by Home Goods, and if you read my blog, you probably know that I'm pretty obsessed with the Home Goods/TJ Maxx/Marshalls brand! I love the thrill of the hunt, designer names and the affordable prices!

I picked up a cute accent chair, fluffy white rug (my puppy loves it too!) and the white sphere!

Finally, here's where we got everything! (headboard resources tomorrow)

Feature Wall: Grasscloth wallpaper, Nailhead (we used about 2.25 boxes), Trim — I found 2.5"wide synthetic trim from Home Depot on clearance for $4/8ft board

Accessories: Night stand (World Market — not on website), decorative sphere (TJ Maxx), His and Her letters (local antique shop), Throw pillow on chair, chair (TJ Maxx), lamp and lamp shade, duvet cover

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