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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Henderson
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I’m going to take a guess and say that your blood pressure skyrockets when the phrase “do-it-yourself wallpaper installation” is uttered, am I right? But guys, the days of fussy, paste-y paper as your only option are SO far behind us and thank goodness because EHD loves their wallpaper. Now, it’s so much easier to find peel-and-stick varieties in very very cute patterns, and I don’t just mean at specialty retailers. What a time to be alive where you can swing by your local Target, grab a few rolls and completely change the vibe of a space in as long as it takes you to put it up.

For any of you out there that are renters, commitmentphobes or just generally scarred from bygone installation (and removal) methods, this post is for you. But before getting into the nitty gritties of how we did what we did (and some other fun DIYs), let me walk you through where we are right now…

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Large Gingham WallpaperTwill Stripe WallpaperDelphinnia Floral with Metallic Ground Wallpaper

Threshold reached out to see if we’d be up for working with their new neutral removable wallpapers (available in-store in the home innovation section of your local Target and Target.com). They sent us samples of three new patterns (above) and because it was hard to say no to that super cute large gingham, we set out to find a space we could makeover and Emily Bowser offered up a room in her home that was sitting pretty unused.

Because we didn’t have a “real” live-in client, we created one based on something we felt we had a firm grasp on: a design student. I think the part of the team that attended design school would agree that the space they’re crying and stressed tinkering away in most of their free hours needs to be streamlined and organized with just enough style to provide a springboard for ideas without being cloying (back me up here EHDers).

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Wallpaper | Desk | Desk Chair | Task Lamp | Leather Basket | Rug | Planters | Bookcase | Resin BoxWire Baskets | Clock | Plant Shelf | Message Board

A good office should be a few things: comfortable, effective, organized, inspiring, regardless of what you’re studying/where you work, so we split up this space into a few different zones: the desk is Grand Central for work and projects, the seating corner is a great place to kick up your feet and flip through magazines/Pinterest when you’re in a creative slump (cat absolutely vital here) and the shelving in between is there to keep you tidy.

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Chair | Ottoman | Round Pillow

Because we opted to keep the furnishing plan and pieces simple, the room was going to need a little punch by way of textiles, which is where the large gingham comes in to bring it all together.

Let’s dig into some things to keep in mind with peel-and-stick paper because, while it is as simple as peeling back the liner and adhering to wall (i.e. no messy, pastes or glues and no need to activate it with water), we learned a few installation notes along the way to make this relatively easy task even more efficient for you.

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Supplies needed: one or two sets of hands, a step ladder, a straight edge, scissors, a sharp box cutter and a squeegee

  • First things first, buy more than you think before starting! No matter how perfectly you think you’ve measured, there will be waste, and you can always return an extra tube or two if you don’t open them.
  • This is not something I would recommend doing alone. The paper can be applied, removed and reapplied a surprising number of times but you will definitely need an extra set of hands, especially if your ceilings are high.
  • Prepping the walls is important both for ease of installation, as well as the eventual removal. If your walls aren’t smooth, sanding down bigger bumps is a good idea because anything that causes the pattern to be off means the pieces you put on thereafter will also be off and a few sheets in, the inconsistency can really start to show. Also, don’t try to paper around faceplates and outlets. Simply remove the faceplates, apply the paper over, then (carefully) cut off the excess paper and replace your plates. Same goes for windows. It creates more waste, but your pattern repeat will be way more accurate. Windows that have casings are going to be a bit tricky, though, so making a cardboard or paper template may be a good idea to trace onto the paper and cut before applying.
  • Take the time to squeegee before moving on to a new sheet to ensure all your air bubbles are out and you won’t have to adjust.
  • I recommend leaving an inch or so extra at the top in case your walls are uneven so you can adjust as you go on. At the very end, just take a sharp box cutter to the ceiling edge for a clean line.
  • All that said, a lot of people don’t have level floors and therefore the walls can be a bit wonky. Think about it like tweezing your eyebrows, though. Up close, you’re going to see all the imperfections and keep plucking past the point that is flattering, but if you step back occasionally and look at the “big picture”, you’ll hardly be able to point out the things that drove you nuts up close.
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In total, we used 7.5 rolls for 170 square feet and the whole process, start to finish, took us about 2 hours (though maybe budget twice that if you’re a Type A perfectionist).

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If you’ve never installed removable wallpaper before and have questions about ANY part of the process, how to figure out how many rolls you need, etc., pop into the comments and let us know what you need us to talk more about. The first wall is the most intimidating because you’re not sure where to start (we recommend hanging your first strip top to bottom from a corner), but once you get going, it’s like anything else…you just feel more confident as you’re figuring it out.

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Speaking of things to figure out, we’re moving on to another DIY part of this makeover. We had the idea to add in a clear inspiration board as not to cover up our newly installed paper, and instead of buying something, we did what any overachiever would do and set out to make one ourselves after searching “clear eraser board” on Pinterest and studying the plethora of simple DIYs we found.

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Here’s what you’ll need: A piece of acrylic (which you can buy at most home improvement stores) cut to whatever size works for your space, 3/4″ wooden dowel cut to size (noted below), 2.5″ wood screws, hot glue gun

Now for how to do it: 

  1. As most of these acrylic board DIYs are made with sign standoffs (which we thought was our plan, at first), it turns out you have to order those online because not many stores carry them, so we improvised, and now you can, too.
  2. Cut your dowel into four, 1-inch pieces and four, 1/2-inch pieces.
  3. Predrill the 1-inch pieces for your screws to avoid splitting.
  4. Measure and drill holes into the four corners of the acrylic, then screw through the acrylic and into the predrilled 1-inch dowel piece. This will attach everything to the wall. (Quick note: when the screw was just barely through the dowel, one of us held the acrylic up while the other screwed the four corners into the wall, making sure to hit a stud. If you’re going into drywall, you’ll have to think about anchors.)
  5. Once the whole thing is secured to the wall, put a dab of hot glue onto the screw head, add the 1/2-inch dowel cutting, hold for a second until dry. (We tried super glue at first, but it didn’t work as well, so we recommend the hot glue, for sure).
  6. To get extra fancy, we finished it off with a 3M magnetic strip to attach a pen cup to hold our dry erase markers.
Emily Henderson Blog Threshold Message Board Gif

And finally, a DIY that Bowser and Julie dreamed up which is SO creative and super cost effective…the pin-up shade:

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All we used for this was some gray Made by Design curtain panels, Threshold drapery clip rings (with the rings pulled off) and some simple nails.

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Simply measure your window, cut your curtain panel to size (be sure to leave a little extra for the hem), clean up the unfinished sides with iron-on hem tape, clip on the ring clips to the top, bottom and middle, then hammer in three nails at the top of your window (where the clips loop into) and BOOM, you have window treatments. How genius is that?

And there you have it. An empty shell of a room transformed to fit any budding design student (or anyone, really!) with a few smart and simple DIYs, and of course, that cute and neutral yet punchy peel-and-stick Threshold wallpaper. What do you think? Can you see yourself working in this space?

*This post is in partnership with Threshold but all words, designs and selections are our own. Thanks for supporting the brands we love that support the blog.

  1. I think we can all agree the main takeaway of this post is that Bowser’s cat should be a cat model.

    1. Yes to this!!

    2. GAH!! He is the BEST. We were fostering him for a few weeks and he is such a little love nugget and loves people so much that he wouldn’t leave us alone on set so we were like FINE YOU ARE THE STAR. I would have kept him (and regret that I didn’t every day since his adoption) but I’m one cat away from crazy so I gave him to a VERY loving and amazing family (sobbing emoji here)

      1. he looks like my siberian forest cat! he is his twin!

        I love people and cat models!

    3. Yes, I do agree!! Such a beautiful cat!

      1. *Starts chant* more cat content MORE CAT CONTENT!

  2. Do y’all have a source for that awesome abstract print? It’s gorg!

    1. Hey Ashley – it is actually Target! It’s not online but is still available in stores, I’ve seen it recently. I don’t know if it’s old? I don’t think so because obviously for work I’m pretty well versed in Target’s stock and when I got it for the shoot it was the first time I had seen it. Maybe it never was online? I don’t know, but I do know I have seen it around – good luck!

  3. Great post– love the wallpaper choice and the cat (obviously).. I’m a fan of removable wallpaper (no commitment!) and just tried it for the first time in my powder room. Ended up with the prettiest blue gray grasscloth lookalike (ordered online from Home Depot of all places) and it turned out amazing in spite of the fact that I’ve never done it before, I did it by myself and we have crazy high ceilings.

  4. I’d like to talk about the wooden do-dads on shelf 2 – what are they and where can I get some?

    As an aside, Emily H.’s hair looks amazing in this post, IMHO. Also, those booties. I will be looking for them in this site’s Shop section.

    1. Aren’t those wood “do-dads” awesome?? They are a flea market find by Emily. I totally stole them for the shoot! I believe the booties are Nisolo!

  5. Also, where are your pants and jacket from? So cute

  6. Love all of this!!! Quick DIY question: How do you find the studs?!?

    1. A handy tool called a stud finder! 😉 There are a few different varieties, though I personally prefer the studpop kind the most as it seems the most idiot-proof.

      1. We used a stud finder! and honestly, we only needed to hit one on one side. That was enough security to hold the whole thing up very securely!

  7. Just Lively!
    I will be making the board for my chikdren’s chore/message chart. Excited!!!

    I know this is quite specifuc, but I hope you will do an office space that is conducive to providing psychotherapy. I used Giny’s office project from years ago (there was a “man” office and “female” office), but it’s just right for the work that’s done there.

    Thanks for all you do.

    1. This comment made me smile 🙂 Glad that office was an inspiration. xx

    2. As a regular psychotherapy patient, I so appreciate a calm and cozy therapists’ office, and I’m so happy you’re actively thinking about that! From a patients perspective, I’d recommend table or floor lamps for softer lighting, comfortable seating, blankets and cushions, calm colors, and basically anything that makes it feel more like a home than a doctor’s office. And please for the love of God don’t put up any motivational word art – cliche phrases aren’t going to motivate my mental illness away lol. My current therapist’s office is all black, white, and red which is not at all a soothing palette, but has the COMFIEST couches with slippers, blankets, and cushions for all the patients to cozy into during their sessions which I love. I’ve been to ones, however, that are either very corporate or very medical looking with seating equivalent to waiting room chairs and it honestly makes it hard to be comfortable with the therapist!

      1. Ok – just looked at Ginny’s office. Besides the layout, the vibe is PERFECT for psychotherapy <3

  8. I once was gifted a rather unattractive sweater from Anthropologie and having returned it, I realized the sweater cost as much as their removable wallpaper-so I quickly exchanged the sweater for a quirky, safari animals printed wallpaper for my daughter’s room. As Emily says, who by the way looks gorgeous and is always the most welcome prop for all her pictures, it is scary to install at first and then it is super easy. One thing I noticed in my older house, the electric plug plates were of the older yellowish kind and that was jarring with the newly installed wallpaper-somewhat easy rectifiable but still annoying – so my diy became a bit longer and required another trip to home depot to change out the plates. That is all the words of wisdom I have . I would 100% do again-Anthropologie has some gorgeous ones I just wish someone would gift me another ugly/expensive sweater so that I could justify spending that much money on wallpaper.

  9. I would LOVE outfit details! Great colour combo and porportions! Hope this is included in your weekly round up or you can otherwise share the details! Thx

  10. Emily! Your boots are so great! Where are they from!? Also, I would also love to know where the abstract print is from! Great job!

    1. Thank you xx They are from Nisolo and I love them so much. They are the Chelsea boots in “brandy” (currently on sale!!) https://rstyle.me/+T1rLF2-xa0VDaZmn-3yPBQ

      The print is from target but unfortunately not online. Bowser saw it in store recently so maybe try your local target?

  11. Love this wallpaper. I’d like to try in a nursery however the walls are textured (orange peel). Do I dare try as is or should I sand the entire wall first? Thank you!

    1. Hi Lauren! We checked in with the manufacturer and they noted that smooth walls are recommended however it has been known to stay adhered to a slight orange peel so we say try it!

    2. Same conundrum. I’d like to try on an accent wall in a master bedroom. How bad of an idea is it on orange peel walls? I have zero motivation to sand or otherwise even the walls.

      1. I also was the person (persons – shout out to my friend Caitlin!) who installed the wallpaper from our Opalhouse post from last year. They had less smooth walls and also A LOT of crazy angles. It was a lot more work, and less “perfect” but when you stood back it wasn’t noticeable. I say try it!

      2. I have light orange peel walls, and even with clean flat paint, the peel and stick wallpaper did not stick well abnd sagged and fell. I should point out that I’ve successfully hung traditional wallpaper (including grass cloth) in several houses, so I’m pretty sure it isn’t user error. I followed the directions to a “T” and it still fell :(. I wound up pulling down the paper that didn’t peel off the walls by itself and installing a traditional paper using the paste on the wall method and it turned out beautifully.

  12. I’ve been thinking of trying peel & stick wallpaper for the past year and you’ve inspired me to offically try! I may wimp out with just an accent wall, but baby steps! Also the cat and design are sensational, thank you for the inspiration and ideas! Brb as I head to Target…

    1. Thanks Aileen! An accent wall is a perfect place to start! I also think like, the back of a bookshelf or cabinet would be good? This room – other than a little vintage and plants is 100% Target! Crazy, right??

  13. Very cute! The only thing I find distracting are the pinned up curtains, which I think cheapens the look of the room.

  14. Wallpaper technique question! Do you wallpaper through corners of the room or need to match separate intersecting pieces at the corner? (Hope that makes sense.)

    1. That’s a good question! I think it depends on the pattern and angles in the room. We started at a corner so we didn’t have to worry about it there. As for the other corners, it’s little tricky, but we found you can wallpaper through the corners with a little finagling and a couple curse words haha!

  15. I made a DIY valance/drape for my windows using a spring loaded rod inside the frame. Simply ironed on the hemming tape to create seams, hung it on the rod, created folds with hidden pins and then pinned the bottom edge up so it was not visible. Looks like a custom made roman shade. If I want to cover the whole window (which I rarely do as it’s not in the sun), I just pull the pins and let it hang from the rod.

  16. Since this is an office, I thought the clips on the blinds were just standard office binder clips – which would also be cute and probably work just as well (without having to remove curtain rings)!

  17. Love this post! Any thoughts on removable wallpaper and moisture/mold? I recently removed some ugly old 70’s vinyl wallpaper from my kitchen and there was a ton of mold hiding behind it. I guess vinyl wallpaper is not recommended for moist areas and unfortunately most removable wallpaper seems to be vinyl. It’s my dream to put up removable wallpaper in my drab powder room but maybe it’s not meant to be!

    1. Hi Hannah! Here is the manufacturer’s answer on whether this would work for a bathroom: “Target removable wallpaper is resistant to steam and moisture making it perfect for bathrooms!”

  18. I love it every time one of my favorite bloggers uses removable wallpaper. I want to use it so badly in one of my bathrooms. How do you think this would stand up to the humidity of a bathroom? Any different from regular wallpaper?

    1. Just commented this above, but will repost here to make sure you see it!

      From the manufacturer: “Target removable wallpaper is resistant to steam and moisture making it perfect for bathrooms!”

  19. Emily – someone on your team needs to sort out the responsive grid for your website for Macs cause right now (2PM EST, Feb 28) something is UP. Your header is completely blank if not stretched to full screen, the About section doesn’t even show up if you’re on the main part of your blog and if I have the window size at half width (I like to keep you side by side with my Spotify), a white blank square covers have the screen. :S I hate to be the one to tell you!

  20. Oh, F*CK yes!!! This is brilliant, accessible design. I nearly spat out my coffee when I saw that top pic. THANK YOU ALL for this fabulous content and now I know what I’m doing with my guest bath all weekend! #wallpapertime

  21. Hi, I hope I didn’t miss it in the post, but can thisnwallpaper be applied over large mirrored closet doors? I am renting a room from a gal and her daughter, and I like living there. Problem is, my room seems to have been done when the kill-me-now style was all the rage. The curtains, wall paint and carpet are hideous — and then, just in case not enough pain was yet inflicted, it came with wall-to-wall mirrored closet doors. Trying to figure out what to do with those, as well as handle all the other challenges my room and wallet represent.

    1. Hi Tina! We checked with the manufacturer and here’s what they said:

      “Repositioning and aligning the print might be tricky on a mirror. We also can’t guarantee that upon removal, the mirror wont be damaged. We would say pass on this project…we would hate to lose your security deposit.”

    2. Hi – one thing that worked for me to temporarily cover my mirrored closet doors was to use magnets to stretch some fabric over the doors. The door frames were metal, so I just stretched the fabric around the door and then stuck a million super-strong magnets all along the edge of the frame — the door’s frame edges were hidden by the wall they slid behind, so you couldn’t see the magnets. Good luck!

    3. You could buy some of that decorative privacy film that comes in rolls at hardware stores–no adhesive so less risk of damaging the mirrors.

  22. Does this kind of wallpaper only work on flat walls? I ask because I have orange peel texture on my walls and I’m was thinking wallpaper isn’t an option unless I scrape it all down. But thought I should check.

    1. We checked with the manufacturer, and they noted that it should work just fine on a slight orange peel texture!

  23. Hi Team Emily:
    I am using this room for inspiration on my guest room/office but need a recommendation that is easy on my budget. The wallpaper is a given – loving it.

    I need storage for 2 file cases, printer, and various craft items (I prefer to keep these behind cabinets/drawers if possible. Yet i love the look of the shelves you used but I dont want my quests to be inundated with my “stuff”. It also needs o hold a tv.

    Any suggestions to this puzzle?

  24. This is GREAT. Love the wallpaper, I am just so nervous it would damage the wall underneath when removed. Have these always been put over drywall walls? Or have you done it on plaster as well?

  25. 1) LOVE the cat. More cat posts, please 🙂
    2) I love how you have given great, achievable ideas for renters/those on a budget and included the DIY steps.

  26. I love this post. It makes wallpaper seem a lot less intimidating and looks amazing! I can’t wait to give this a try.

  27. I’d love the EHD team to do a wallpaper roundup! Looking for great kid’s room options 💖

    1. We have one! Some of the actual links might be broken since it’s a little older, but such great companies there to check out: https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/the-best-wallpaper-roundup-ever

    2. At our last house (and we plan to do it in our new one, too) we put up a strip of magnetic wallpaper in our girls’ room. It’s from Groovy Magnets. We did the Giraffe Print (https://groovymagnets.com/en/shop/magnetic-wallpaper/animals-print/magnetic-wallpaper-giraffe-519/) but they have a lot of other animals and prints. It’s not full-room wallpaper, just a strip, but it’s fun and pretty easy to install and also provides a nice space to hang up pictures, drawings, etc.

  28. Love it! More post like this please!!!

  29. ah i would lOVE to see another post about wallpapering! I love all your rooms that have wallpaper and looove that wallpaper is back in in such a fresh way, but it is soo intimidating. I’ve been waiting to wallpaper my bathroom (even have the wallpaper picked out for months) but am too scared to pull the trigger and think i should wait to get it professionally installed. Maybe a post on how to design a room with wallpaper that doesn’t feel dated? Maybe wallpaper for different types of styles – glam, boho, traditional, etc? maybe a video of how to wallpaper for dummies lol?

  30. Awesome! What a great looking room. And I’m liking the budget as it’s right around $1K (all of the linked pieces added up to just about $1055). I’m wondering if Bowser could speak on the comfort of the two chairs in the room (for long periods of sitting)? Thanks

  31. That checkered print is so cute!
    http://www.petiteandhungry.com

  32. I love the look and the clever trick with the curtain is priceless.

  33. In lieu of using a plastic wallpaper bubble smoother thing, I put a clean athletic sock (since they are thicker than a normal sock) over my hand to smooth out bubbles. You can press harder, no worries about tearing the paper or scuffing it (which I always seem to do with a squeegee).

  34. Can you wallpaper over wallpaper? The thought of removing my current wallpaper is daunting, but I REALLY want to try this adorable paper!

  35. Love this inspirational post. Cab you use peel and stick wall paper over wood paneling?

  36. I want to try this! I have old plaster textured walls, though. What do you think about wallpapering over that?

  37. wonderful job! May I ask where the small wooden objects (on the book shelves) are from?

    Many thanks, Ellen

  38. I love this room! Am in the middle (coffee break) of creating my own acrylic note board. It is going well!

  39. The ceiling looks lower than most of the homes featured.. my house has very low ceilings and I’m considering an addition which would give me a chance to redo an entire floor and actually raise it up. How low is too low for a ceiling? At what point would you raise the ceiling on a remodel?

  40. So nice. I just ordered that ikat ottoman for our living room. I already have at least 8 other items from Target in there – they come and go like wildfire but they really have fun pieces that mix well! I also have that three-print blue set you have in your “Hello” bar on your main page LOL – not in the living room though. But that I had before I found your blog and was pleased to feel like I had good taste. ha!

  41. Is the plant shelf 1 or 2 shelves?

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