The New House Gives us a Gift

There were three rooms in the new house that were wallpapered. I avoided dealing with them for the first week that we were in the house, but by the second weekend, it was time to attack them. I decided to start in the dining room. The wallpaper only covered 3/4 of the wall and I figured I would ease into the work downstairs before moving up to two bedrooms with wallpaper.

I got a phone call just before I started and while talking, I decided to pick at the edge of one strip of the wallpaper to see how hard the job would be. I groaned when I saw that there were two layers of wallpaper. I was so afraid that this job was going to take days.

I was so shocked at what happened next that I put the phone on speaker and grabbed my camera. The wallpaper came off in a huge patch and it was barely attached to the wall.

I decided to tug on the whole strip to see what would happen.

I was amazed. Maybe this first strip was just an anomaly. As I worked around the room, I wondered if the original layer of wallpaper, the 70s layer that was closest to the wall, was the reason this was so easy. It was very thick, almost as thick as vinyl.

It only took about 30 minutes to have a pile of wallpaper on the floor. I felt like I had hit the DIY jackpot.

I never used any tool. There was no steaming. I never sprayed any water. I just picked at the corners and pulled from there.

Has anyone ever seen this happen? I feel like after having so many problems with this house, I finally got a little gift from it.


  1. Doyle @ Total WallcoveringAugust 5, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    Hi Jeannine,

    Great article, I really enjoyed it! It proves the point that we have been trying to make for several decades: when wallpaper is properly prepped and installed, it comes off very easily.

    The main reason why some many people choose not to use wallpaper is because they have feverish nightmares taking it down, either for themselves or helping someone else do it.

    When people skip the initial prep work then they or the next homeowner who buys their house down the line will have an aneurysm trying to take it down.

    One of the best methods I have found for prepping a wall is to shellac the walls. This was taught to me during my earlier paperhanging days. It creates a hard and smooth surface for easy installation and easy take down. It adds a little more time to the job but is well worth it in the end.

    Doyle Sumrall

  2. @Jess I'll ruin the surprise. It didn't.BUT I'm thrilled for the small victory.

  3. @rouquinne Oh! I have to go check in on them. I haven't in a little while. :)

  4. @eileen | leaner by the lake Probably the best moment of owning this house so far. It's been a bear!

  5. @amanda a Seriously. You should have heard me on the phone.

  6. After the rediculous process you went through to get this house, I hope more of your projects go this smoothly!

  7. The last house my parents owned in Maine had a lot of wallpapered rooms (9 out of our 16 room house) and most of them literally had the wallpaper peeling off in full scrolls with no help from us. It was all similar quality to what you describe, the old thick vinyl-like paper. I have to wonder how much of that had to do with the quality of the paper, and how much had to do with a poor application.

    Any news on the rest of the wallpaper in the house? If the same person applied all of it, maybe you'll have the same luck with the other rooms :)

  8. Awesome. I hope the paper in the other rooms is just as easy!

  9. Wow! Given the wallpaper trials Sherry and John are having over on "Young House Love", this is a fabulous gift!

  10. Ummm, lady this is awesome! Coming from someone who stripped MANY rooms of wallpaper, this is a dream.


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