I love exposed brick. Every day I wish we lived in an old abandoned warehouse, complete with rats and other super on trend things like industrial piping. I thought about doing an actual brick accent wall, or even using those faux-brick panels, but both seemed really time consuming and expensive. The next best thing was textured paintable wallpaper. I decided to try it in the little bathroom first because it is a relatively small space. More importantly, it was tacky as hell and living in the 90s.
Here’s a nice close-up on that wallpaper:
Blech, that counter. I know tons of people have laminate counters, and I even plan on putting new laminate in the kitchen. But this speckled blue was a hot mess and needed to go far away.
To pull off the chair rail, we scored the top with a box cutter in order to wedge the plastic putty knife and chisel in between the rail and the wall. We used the putty knife as a barrier between the chisel and drywall to keep it from getting damaged as we gently pried it off.
Once we had removed all the chair rail, I ripped off the first (patterned) layer of the wallpaper, and scored the layer that was left stuck to the wall with my fancy tool from Home Hardware.
I used a mixture of 1/4 cup white vinegar to 4 cups really hot water to saturate the walls. I wet one section of paper at a time and would then begin to peel the paper off with the help of my plastic putty knife. I think using a plastic knife rather than a metal one really helped to keep me from gouging the drywall. Stripping the whole bathroom only took about 45 minutes, a lot less time than I thought it would take.
I made a gigantic mess.
After I stripped off all the paper, I cleaned up the trimmings from the floor and wiped down all the walls. I filled any holes with drywall compound and prepared as one normally would to paint.
I decided to do the accent wall behind the vanity. Enter faux-brick paintable wallpaper. It sounds questionable, and I was definitely on the fence about it looking cheap as I am generally not a fan of ‘faux’ finishes. Anyways, I found this Graham & Brown version, and ordered two rolls from Walmart (one roll covers 56 square feet.)
This particular kind of wallcovering is of the paste the paper variety, which means you cut a piece, apply wallpaper adhesive to the back, and then allow it to soak for five+ minutes before hanging it. If you’re a wallpapering novice like me, Graham & Brown has a great video tutorial page that I found very helpful.
The video pretty much explains it all step by step. To begin, I measured and cut my first piece of paper using a square and a very sharp utility knife. It’s very important to cut a straight line, so the square is essential here. If you do not use a square, or a straight edge at the very least, you are insolent and I can’t help you.
Next, I liberally applied paste to the back of the paper and put it in the tub to soak, folding the paper in on itself.
It was surprisingly easy to get it up on the wall, but I made a huge mess for the second time dripping watery wallpaper adhesive all over the place.
I continued this process along the whole wall, making sure to add several inches to subsequent pieces so I’d have enough overlap to correctly match up the pattern. Another thing I would mention is to make sure your utility knife is crazy sharp (I snapped off the blade between each piece) or else your wet paper will tear when you try to trim the excess, and you will be dropping f-bombs loudly and frequently.
Here is the finished wall prior to painting:
I’m really happy with how it turned out and will probably do an accent wall with this paper in our bedroom as well (FAUX BRICK EVERYWHERE!) I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was, and pretty inexpensive too! You can see the whole bathroom makeover here.