Many of us live in older homes that have layers of wallpaper that have been there for years. The thought of removing it becomes a roadblock to redecorating because we’re afraid of all the plastering work that will be needed if we take it down.
This is particularly true when you live in a home with plaster and lath construction, which was popular through to the 1950s when drywall was introduced in the US and Canada. If you’re not sure what type of walls you have, try hanging a picture. The nail will go smoothly into drywall, not so with plaster and lath that will crumble with age sometimes turning what was supposed to be a tiny nail hole into a quarter inch diameter mess!
If you’ve run into this problem just hanging pictures, it’s not hard to scare yourself out of removing layers of old wallpaper that may indeed be holding those old walls together. This doesn’t have to stop you from radically changing the look of your room with a new color of paint.
With proper priming you can paint over wallpaper!
Granted, this isn’t considered the “right” way to do things, but does it really matter if the alternative is living in a depressing space that you hate, or losing money trying to sell a lack-luster home?
Given this older home’s plaster and lath construction, removing multiple layers of 20+ year old wallpaper could have turned into a 5 day messy and expensive re-plastering project. Instead this transformation was achieved over a weekend.
After priming, Debra Gould chose a deep caramel color that was painted right over the ugly wallpaper. New and more colorful bedding, and a properly proportioned night stand and lamp that she selected, completed the redecoration of this master bedroom.
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Feel free to add your comments to this story. Have you ever tried to take down wallpaper before painting?
Home staging expert Debra Gould is president of Six Elements Inc. She has staged millions of dollars worth of real estate, including seven of her own homes. Debra has gained international recognition and has been featured in major media in the US and Canada including: HGTV, CNN Money, CBC National News, CBS Radio, GlobalTV, CityTV, The Wall Street Journal, Woman’s Day, Reader’s Digest and more.