Three weeks ago, I stood before you and asked a simple question: “have I lost my actual mind?” At the time, I was talking about my newfound love of (read: borderline obsession with) vintage vegetable-shaped dinnerware, but I was thankful to find that most of you were like, “nah girl, you’re okay, you do you!” Today, though, I’m kind of worried that your opinions will shift a little bit…because guys, I installed permanent wallpaper in my apartment. A LOT OF IT. But my (temporary) loss (of sanity) is your gain because I learned a ton about the whys, hows, and how much-es of installing wallpaper that I’m eager to pass on.
The Quick Debrief
You’re probably familiar with all the different types of wallpaper applications (you know, since you’re on a design blog and everything), but I wanted to share some quick pros and cons for each. (You can scroll all the way down if you’re just like, “LADY, HOW MUCH MONEY DID YOU SPEND?”)
Peel & Stick Wallpaper
Think of this like a giant sticker, in both the good AND bad way. You can DIY an install and oftentimes it is removable and reusable…but if your walls aren’t properly primed, pulling it down can do some damage. Anecdotally, our pals at Pen & Napkin recommend their designers work with thinner, more affordable peel & stick options as they’ve found that the glue is a little more forgiving and the paper isn’t meaty enough to, you know, bring a chunk of a wall down with it upon removal. Getting bubbles out can also be kind of tricky, but you can’t beat the price and flexibility here (especially for renters).
This comes with glue already attached to the back, and you’ll activate it by hitting it with a spray bottle or dunking it in some warm water. This is a dream as you don’t need to spend money on separate tools (pasting tables, actual paste, etc.) and it’s a little more forgiving with application – you can slip and slide it around to match up seams – but the hanging process is therefore way more technical. You also need to hit this with some steam and water to bring it down, so you’ll need to plan a whole day for removal.
This is the preferred permanent wallpaper method for most DIYers since, well, you’re just throwing glue on the wall. Paste-the-wall paper is often constructed a bit different because it’s made of non-woven material that won’t expand when it gets wet, which means that hanging is a bit easier – what you see is what you get. That said, it’s super easy to go a little heavy with the glue which (you guessed it!) can make removal a pain.
All three wallpapers I selected were paste-the-paper, which is definitely the most involved and nuanced application method. I really, really, really recommend going to a professional for this type of wallpaper – they’ll have a full slew of tools to make sure that your paper is evenly covered in paste (it’s very Goldilocks – you want it to be just right) and they’ll be able to ensure that your wallpaper won’t shrink up or peel off as it dries. Coincidentally, this was hands-down the type preference of all the wallpaper installers I grabbed quotes from – their general consensus was that if prepped and installed correctly, this would be the easiest type of permanent paper to remove.
Make sure to always store your wallpaper horizontally - standing it upright can lead to creasing and subsequent headaches during install! (Learn from my above mistake, please.)
Let’s break down some frequently asked questions, yeah?
Why not just get peel and stick for a rental?
Peel and stick is GREAT for most renters and there are so many incredible options out there, but I after months of searching, I just couldn’t find anything that quite compared to the permanent options. And while there are ways to make regular wallpaper removable – this tutorial by Studio DIY that uses a grid of double-sided tape is awe-inspiring – I lack the DIY skills necessary. If I was going to go with some high-end wallpaper, it deserved the high-end installation treatment, you know?
Did you ask your landlord?
AH, YES. Zach, my landlord, came over to re-ignite my pilot light and saw a ton of wallpaper samples I had taped up to the walls. I was anticipating (and dreading) an emphatic “no” from him, but when I expressed interest in maaaybe hanging some wallpaper in a few rooms, he was just like, “cool, email me some pics to show my family when you’re done decorating, bye!”
I’m not sure if it’s always that easy or if he gave me extra leeway because I am a normal, quiet tenant who hands him a stack of rent checks every few months (pro tip: postdate your checks, send them all at once, and you’ll never be late again!) but either way, I am very grateful.
Is wallpapering a rental worth the investment?
Right now, my answer is a VERY emphatic “HECK YES.” It was not cheap (we’ll get there) but my mental gymnastics led me to three big points:
- I’ve paid $1,900 a month to live here since July of 2019. That’s almost $50,000 (OH GOSH, do not calculate how much you’ve spent on rent if you do not want to have a mini existential crisis)…so if I’m already dropping THAT much money, why not make my home a place that I really want to be, regardless of how long I’m here?
- Thanks to WFH, I’m now spending 8 STRAIGHT MONTHS PER YEAR inside these walls. I’m home for at least 16 hours per day – 8 hours for work, 8 hours for sleeping, and you know all I wanna do on the weekend is lay on the ground and look at the internet – so when I did the math, it felt like a nice investment in myself to commit resources to my space, you know?
- I didn’t even consider the impact it’d have on my mental state and not to be dramatic, but BOY, it has made a huge difference in my mental state!!! I actually do my skincare routine every night because I love standing in the bathroom. I’ve lost 9 pounds (!!!) because now I actually like using my kitchen. I’m ready to hop on a Zoom 24/7 because sharing this dining room makes me so happy.
Weren’t you like, trying to buy a house or something?
YUP. And I’ll be back at the end of the year with an update. It’s very complicated (somehow more complicated than the dilapidated house/not house on the hill, if you can believe that), but this apartment will be my LA home base for a while. I can’t wait to share more with y’all!!! 🙂
So you’re considering taking the plunge – where do you even start? SAMPLES. I bought over 70 (maybe a little excessive, but I’m glad I did!) from Wallpaper Direct. The first two were free, but the rest were about $1 each and the shipping time was super fast.
I know that maybe this is pretty obvious, but I just remember being so surprised that samples don’t always come in slices that represent the whole strip. Case in point: the above sample of Cranes in Flight, which, uh, lacks the cranes. This is SUPER common no matter where you buy samples from (and some brands cut a set sample that they’ll send out, so buying more won’t help – learned that the tough way!), so it’s just important to manage your expectations – you may not be able to predict EXACTLY how every color will look in person. 🙂
Obviously, I now need to take a second to call out a few EHD tried-and-true favorites to fulfill any sourcing/dreaming/web-stalking desires:
- Wallpaper Direct: I mean, they have EVERYTHING. If you’re looking for something classic, it’s here. If you need something modern, it’s here. Their prices are unbeatable, too.
- Work & Sea: This is an LA-based studio and the place where I sourced my bathroom wallpaper. Their designs are so fun and special (plus, they can help you figure out how much you need to order…and they’re STILL very nice when you send them numbers that don’t make sense because you don’t understand how to measure your walls).
- Bien Fait: Remember Charlie’s nursery? That’s Bien Fait, baby. If you want bright, happy, and modern, this is your go-to spot.
- Hygge & West: I mean, they’re iconic for a reason. Their Back To The Future Toile (you read that right) makes my heart skip a beat.
- Rebel Walls: NO ONE can do a bold floral or a serene tree line quite like Rebel Walls. Case in point: Birdie’s first nursery, Birdie’s LA Tudor room, the LA “playroom”, this magical rainbow-colored little girl’s room…you get it, right? BEAUTIFUL.
- Minted: If you’re dreaming of a mural, STOP LOOKING. It’s here.
- Farrow & Ball: I’ll never get over that hand-painted paper in Em’s old LA powder bath, primary bath, and the kids’ Jack and Jill bathroom. Plus, you have coordinating paint options right at your fingertips – what else could you ask for?
- You can also grab wallpaper via a few other classic go-tos: Target, Lulu & Georgia, Rejuvenation, Serena & Lily, Wayfair, Chasing Paper, Tempaper, Sheila Bridges, and Juju Papers. (If you have any favorites, please drop them in the comments!)
So you’ve figured out your dream wallpaper, you’ve ordered a sample, and it looks stunning in your space. CONGRATULATIONS. Let’s break down what to do next in order, yeah?
How to Order
Time for the nitty-gritty stuff: figuring out how much wallpaper you actually need. I am going to EMPHATICALLY recommend this calculator with the caveat that you should order ONE more double roll than the number it suggests. And yeah, to make things even MORE fun, wallpaper is often bundled into “double rolls” (a fun turn of phrase, because they’re on the same tube!), so you need to buy 2 at a time.
My rooms were kind of complex – walls of windows, walls of cabinets, alcoves galore! – so figuring out how much paper I actually needed was TOUGH. At the end of the day, here’s where I ended up:
- The Dining Room – 15′ x 10′ with 2 doors to the kitchen and hallway, a wall of windows/doors to the balcony, and a 6’x7′ entrance to the room next door: 5 double rolls of Flamenco Fan (10 rolls total). The calculator suggested 8 (so 4 double rolls!) but Mark, my wallpaper installer, asked me to grab one more to allow for my weird, occasionally lopsided ceilings and for the doorbell cutout you saw earlier.
- The Kitchen: 15′ x 8′ with a 10′ wall of cabinets, a 6′ wall of cabinets, a built-in ironing board cabinet, and two windows. The wallpaper calculator suggested 8 rolls of Orange Blossom (which shocked me, because the cabinets take up SO MUCH real estate – I thought it was going to be much less!) but it’s because the paper I used wasn’t as wide. Upon giving his quote, Mark again just asked me to grab another double roll so we had a little more room for error. (If you find that you need to order more wallpaper, the batch number should be available somewhere on the packaging – you can request from the same batch so your colors match!).
- The Bathroom: Measuring this room is a freakin’ nightmare, but it’s about 9’x8′ at its widest point. The kind folks at Work & Sea did the math and sent over the right amount and I am forever indebted. Being able to ask for help when you need it is a real perk of sourcing directly from a small, local business!!
It’s also worth noting that a ton of the wallpaper installers I had out told *ME* how much paper to order, because they didn’t realize that I had already ordered my supplies. If you’re feeling totally lost, it’s VERY common to have someone out for a quote before you even have your materials – they can help you navigate the process and save you from some sticker shock on the backend (it’s coming, we’ll get there!!!).
How to Find an Installer
Yeah, sure, Yelp is great, but I’m about to go REAL gung-ho for word of mouth here. Now is the time to ask for a recommendation on Facebook or to post an Instagram story asking if anyone has any leads. The best installers are often too booked to need to worry about marketing themselves. Case in point: Mark, the installer I hired, is THE go-to guy in LA for those ~in the know~ (which now includes me and you – lucky us!!!).
You’ve seen a ton of his work on the blog before (he’s been Em’s favorite for years and he told me that they go all the way back to Design Star!) but he’s also worked with almost every LA-based design influencer (Oh Joy, Amber Interiors, etc.) and he’s constantly on-call for TV shows and celebs (whose names he did not disclose, because he is good at his job). The best part? When you google his name, NOTHING COMES UP. Emily mentions him in a 2014 blog post (!!!) and that’s pretty much it. Mark is #bookedandbusy, and I never would have found him without asking for someone’s recommendation. (If you want his email, drop a note and I’ll send it to you!) In any case, just put out a FEW feelers first. For what it’s worth, I also got nine quotes from installers I found on Yelp but nothing held a candle to Mark’s attention to detail – he was the only person to bring up priming and prepping the walls for smooth application and safe removal.
How to Prep
This is where we get VERY into DIY territory, which is NOT MY MINISTRY. I ended up hiring Mark to sand and prime the walls, and he paid special attention to the rooms that were coated in semi-gloss paint (read: the kitchen and dining room). I just wanted to be as cautious as possible, you know? He did say that I could save money by doing it myself, but I’m not playing games when it comes to drywall damage. If you ARE a DIYer, check your wallpaper retailer to see if they have any suggested primer available – it can vary depending on the type of paper you choose.
How Long It Takes
AH, okay. This was my big question: can you knock out all three rooms at once? How long does hanging paper actually take? In my case, Mark came over 3 different times, but installers who work as a team may be able to knock out a project a bit quicker. Budgeting a day per room feels like a safe bet, though. Here’s my timeline…
Day 1: Sanded and primed all the walls, hung all the bathroom wallpaper. He arrived around 7:30 AM and was all packed up and outta here by 1:30 PM. (I know that’s VERY specific, shoutout to timestamps on all my photos!)
Day 2: We decided to tackle the dining room and about 1/4 of the kitchen. Mark arrived at 7:30 AM and left at 2 PM. He decided to come back the next day and was gracious enough to trust me with his pasting table, which saved a ton of setup time the next morning!
Day 3: Mark finished the kitchen in a flash – he arrived at 7:30 AM and was outta here by 10 AM.
I also wanted to take a second to show y’all a pasting table, since I had never seen one before. It’s neat, right? Mark would measure, cut, and roll a bunch of pieces and store them all on the lower shelf. That blue portion up top is filled with wallpaper paste and when it was time for install, he’d run the paper through – kind of like how you’d run a sheet of lasagna through a pasta maker – and he’d get the whole thing evenly covered in paste. Then he’d fold it over onto itself and let it fall naturally – it’s hard to explain, but there’s a Boomerang of him doing it on Em’s stories this morning 🙂
The How Much
AH, YES. The moment you’ve been waiting for: the big number reveal. And guys, it’s PRICEY. (At least it was if you’re operating on my budget, which can best be described as “I only buy vintage home goods and anything over $400 starts making me anxious.”) A good rule of thumb that I found to be true, at least in our major city: wallpaper installation will cost you about $4 per square foot.
Every quote I received was between $1,900 (the lowest) and $2,500 (the highest). This is how my actual spend broke down:
- Sanding & Prep: $260
- The Bathroom: $550
- The Dining Room: $650
- The Kitchen: $700
- LABOR TOTAL: $2,160
In a very fortunate twist, Mark’s bid was tied for the lowest and I would have saved almost $300 had I prepped myself, but I do feel WAY more confident knowing that a professional took the reins. The normal range I got was $500-$750 for the bath, $500-$950 (!!!!) for the dining room (a few installers balked at some of the tiny spaces between the windows, which Mark handled like a dream!), and $600-$800 for the kitchen.
I ended up breaking it up into two installments – Mark did the prep and bath in July and the latter two rooms earlier this month – so I could save up over time. That still doesn’t include the wallpaper, though, which was SO GRACIOUSLY gifted by Wallpaper Direct and Work & Sea. (I asked them both for help after buying samples from each and am eternally grateful for their generosity – it’s because of them that I’ll be able to reveal these rooms this year!!!). Had I paid, here’s what the numbers would have looked like:
- The Dining Room – 5 Double Rolls @ $185: $925
- The Kitchen – 5 Double Rolls @ $154: $770
- The Bathroom: ?????? This was a custom amount and I’m not totally sure of the retail value, but it’s SO beautiful and special that I know it wouldn’t have been cheap, you know?
- OUR GRAND TOTAL VALUE: At least $3,855!!!!
Looking at that number is kind of scary, but it’s still absolutely worth it to me – I would have saved up either way (and revealed my rooms in, like, 2023, hah). I don’t spend on furniture (you can do it too – I wrote all about it here!!!) and only grab decor from the flea market, so I feel more comfortable investing in wallpaper – it’s my lone big splurge for this home.
I feel so lucky to live in an apartment with such beautiful bones (like, you saw my dining room moulding, right? PINCH ME!!!) and even luckier that I had the means to make it feel even more like home – I’m only young in LA once, you know? I wake up every day feeling SO jazzed to live in my own little movie set, even if it seems wild to invest in a temporary space. In a weird way, I almost feel like that makes me appreciate it even more – I know I won’t be living in this little 1930s deco dream forever, so I better get to enjoying it now!!
GEEZ. Got a little navel-gazey while thinking about how much this all means to me, but it’s super earnest. (Which may make it worse??? HAH. Just so lucky, you know?! :)) Signing off for today from my bathroom and anxiously awaiting your feedback: HAVE I LOST IT? Was this too much to spend on a rental, or would you have done the same thing? Anyone have any other specific questions that I could help answer or pro-tips for other wallpaper-ers out there? I’d love to see some of your spaces if you’re open to sharing, too 🙂 LET’S CONVENE, YEAH? xx
Opening Image Credits: Photo by Tessa Neustadt | From: The Griffith Park Master Bedroom Reveal
Beautiful wallpaper choices! No wonder you wanted to invest in them
thank you!!! 🙂
Whoa this is exciting!
ah thanks karen!! i’m glad someone else thinks so!! haha
Beautiful! You definitely left me wanting more pictures of the spaces! Can’t wait to see the reveals of each room!
thanks, jenny! we’re finally shooting the bath in 12 days (!!!) and i can’t wait to see how sara works her magic!!
You went full-on! And love it! I especially love the dining room.
All of the rooms look waaay better with the paper. I’m not into the bathroom paper, BUT it still looks better with it.
Is it a heapa money yo spend on a rental? Y-U-P!!!
Would I do it? Nope. But I might’ve done just the dining room…and kitchen…or maybe I’d just paint the kitchen.
It’s a big cash commitment and then to have to take it down when you eventually leave? Hhhmmm…maybe your landlord will let you leave it there coz you’ve improved his property so much??(hope so!)
Caitlin…enjoying your home is so important and since you’re cashed up, who cares?!
Your home has improved massively and … we see that cheeky sneak-peek of your balcony … so bring it on and show us the whole dang thing!!!💥
I think the bathroom paper is sophisticated and fun! Color tones are great with the tile and Caitlin!
that tile was the BANE of my existence – butter and salmon, seriously?! – and now i can’t imagine it any other way. wallpaper miracles!!!
I don’t hate it, I just love the other two!😊
HA, that’s what mark said about my kitchen, too – “someone would be nuts to take this down!!!” i would LOVE to pass off this place to someone who loves wallpaper as much as i do, several years down the road 🙂
I think your landlord will love it, see the value and NOT ask you to take it down.
I’d want to rent it more with the beautiful paper than without.
My sister did up a rental house over the years she lived there (with permission) and when she left, the landlord had an agent value what she did and paid her for her efforts!! Win-win! 😊
Hope that happens for you, Caitlin.
OH MY GOSH. 😍
I am just head over heals for these prints. And I’m usually a “minimalist quiet calm white-wall lover.”
Also the price tag is totally reasonable – probably less than many people’s annual vacation costs. For something you enjoy EVERY DAY it seems like a great investment.
I cannot wait for your reveals!
ah, thank you vera!! :’)
You have a career in design and got the paper for free and can use these photos in your portfolio, etc, etc. So for you, this probably all makes sense. And it looks beautiful and brings you joy. But should civilians (who would have to pay for the paper) spend $5k+ to wallpaper their rented apartments, rather than save/invest it? Nope.
If you are a long-term renter it’s totally important to invest in your space.
absolutely a fair point – would love to learn if any other renters have taken the leap and if they think it’s worth it if they’d be willing to share their thoughts!!
This looks so, so great, and you should do what makes you happy! I’m also a renter in LA and added wallpaper to our bedroom and dining room. I spent about $650 total and am so satisfied with the results (we did it ourselves with paste the wall type paper). It adds so much to a space and has a lot of bang for the buck, and I thought about how much I would have to spend on statement art or something else to fill the space so it was worth it to me.
I added pre-pasted paper to my old place and it came off the wall in 5 minutes with no damage, so I’ve had good experiences. Can’t wait for the full reveal!
I spent $1100 having the living room, bedroom and bathroom painted in my NYC rental. It was all through my landlord, which was super convenient & it included the supplies, labor & eventually repainting it white if they choose.
I think it was SO worth it. Although now seeing your pictures, i wish i had done even more/ possibly considered wallpaper! It’s interesting that my colorful bathroom (which like yours, really made the existing bathroom tiles pop!) is my favorite! So I might save money in future rentals and just go big in one or two rooms to save money? Not sure. Either way, I’m happy with my decision & totally get why you did this! kudos!!!
Annie I agree with you. For renters painting / DIY with cheaper paper is much more reasonable. Not only for cost, but also many landlords really don’t want wallpaper, and expect you to remove it when you leave. I was so broke/ cheap I had an opposite hack from Caitlin’s – I always paid my rent a just a few days late on purpose even when I had money to train my landlord in case I ever HAD to pay it late due to cash flow LOL. That trick served me well a few times… One thing I did with a rental butter and maroon tiled 1930’s bathroom with white plastic tile walls, acoustic tile dropped ceilings , and flourescent lighting was starch paste the walls – and cover the ceilings – with ultra discount pink and brown tiki bedspreads. It lasted for years looked fabulous, and was easily removable. Starch pasting with fabric works surprisingly well and often fabric is lot cheaper – and easier to install and remove – than wallpaper !
Id put 5k in a house fund or 401K or take a fab vacation and DIY paint the whole place for $700 ish
People could save for their whole lives and never do anything but feel the comfort in having a savings.
I think it’s common for people to splurge on things that make them happy – one could say an annual gym membership is pretty steep when you could just run outdoors for free.
Or people could save for their whole lives and use the savings when they have an emergency!
I am one of those people who runs outdoors for free LOL. Im not judging spending on this I’m just saying since she asked for opinions, that for most renters its not a great investment.
I did that too in the house i owned and it was fabulous. I was really a moneyless newly wed and it made all the difference. Glad you brought that up. I LOVE wallpaper too.
That’s a great old trick used by military wives in base housing for eons! And a good one!
i looooooooooooooooooooove the wallpaper you picked! all of it. and i would agree, totally worth it!
thank you, pal :’)
The wallpaper looks great! I love it and I’m glad you are enjoying it. My favorite is the dining room.
Are you crazy? I don’t know, this is your job, I’m assuming you are building your design portfolio or building your brand or something. So this seems like an investment in your career as well.
I’m glad you’re not planning to move right away, though!
Would I invest this much in a rental? I don’t know, it depends on how long I was planning to be there. If you replace it in ten years because you’re over it, does it matter if you own or rent the walls?
Or if you put this up in a home you owned and then had to sell and move, you probably would not see any return on investment on it. I don’t think fancy wallpaper is on the list of things that increase the market value of a home. It would probably ding it bc many people don’t share your exquisite taste and they would want to remove it and paint the walls grey.
It would likely detract from the value of a home if not in actual numbers, in an increase in the time it takes to sell the house. People have a hard time seeing past other people’s highly personal choices. These papers are all very bold and hard to live with if you don’t love them because they don’t fade into the background. And most of my clients are either intimidated by how much time and work it might take to remove it, or how much it will cost to pay someone to do it. With ALL of the wallpaper I’ve removed for clients, there hasn’t been a single wall that didn’t need repair of some kind. Not that the repairs are hard, but you never get to just remove the paper and paint the wall. Some walls have even required me skim coat the entire thing and sand it all down because of improper installation.
wow, this is such a great point about homeowners and ROI that i hadn’t even considered. “does it matter if you own or rent the walls?” has left me reeling!!! (ps. no influencer ambitions here, am very happy being an entourage member and not my own brand HAHA)
Please! I need the source of the bathroom wallpaper. I LOVE it!!!!
i got you!!! right here – http://www.workandsea.com/wallpaper-collection/busted
i truly love it SO SO MUCH. the sample was great but seeing it on the whole roll was mindblowing 🙂
Taking the advice and asking for recommendations for installers in Oakland, CA.
Asking a good wallpaper store for names is a really good way. I got my Caitlan’s match here in Phoenix. terrific detailed installer, great guy, listens to his clients and never fails to ask pertinent quests at the the start and during the job.
I don’t have a wallpaper installer rec for you, but I know THE BEST tile guy (who also does cosmetic projects – he gutted a bathroom for us) in case you ever need one of those!
Can you share the installer? We are down in Los Gatos – Oakland might be a bit outside his range but who knows? In any case, it’s always good to have a good tile guy!! You can send it to me via email if u like. Thanks!!
Here is another way to look at the cost of spending money on a rental: In the 1980s I rented a house where the landlord had gotten some free neon paint to use in the kitchen. It was awful. I painted the kitchen and other rooms, along with doing stuff to the yard. People gave me grief for paying for the paint and “doing work the landlord would profit from”. When I moved a couple of years later I figured out how much I spent on “fixing up” and it came to $5.00 per month (in 1980 dollars). That was probably the cost of going to a movie at the time. Well worth it to me. I love the wall paper and am glad it has come back, not sure if I will do it again, though.
AHH this $ counting strategy has made me feel MUCH better – thank you for sharing 🙂
Elizabeth, I love how you broke it down to a weekly amount! So much better than a fancy coffee! 👍
I think painting and yard stuff is kind of different …Wallpapering seems to be an exponentially larger investment… My boomer mom used to DIY wallpaper everything, but only in places she owned. I’m GenX wallpapering seems so…involved. With self stick and living that Pintrest lyfe Millennials and Z seem to like it tho…
Glorious!! This was probably less than you would spend on a vacation during normal times! You invested in something that makes you super happy, which is fabulous!
thank you, liz 🙂
Love this post and was looking for someone to hang my wallpaper! Can you please send me Mark’s info? Thanks so much!
OF COURSE! just sent you an email! 🙂
Also would love Mark’s info if you don’t mind!
Love all your wall paper selections and that crown molding is fire!
FWIW as a long time renter I totally think this is a worthwhile investment – ESP the home office since that’s where so many of us are spending most of our time these days.
Hi Caitlin, could you send me Mark’s info? thanks so much
I would love Mark’s email as well!
Wallpaper is so highly personal, I’ve yet to meet a painting client who bought a house with wall paper who didn’t ask me to please remove it. As others have said, because this is your job, it’s worth it for you to have this in your space. I get free furniture from the side of the road, fix it up and sell it all to fund my outdoor gardens which we only have for about 4 months each year (thanks Lake Superior). This maybe sounds crazy to someone else but brings me a TON of joy each garden season. My point is, we all spend $ on things that bring us joy. It’s how we get through life. Thanks for sharing!
ooooh i would LOVE to see your garden – those four months are probably SO special and lovely!! 🙂
Susan, since I’m on my own now, I live in an expensive house, but have little $.
I still keep a beautiful garden and will do anything my scruffy dawg needs.
When people ask why I spend on those rw8o things instead of ‘me’, I say they’re my “hobbies” and somehow, it shuts ’em up! Hehehe 😁
Exactly! And people who CAN garden year round often don’t bother or have someone else put in the same old plants all the neighbors have because that’s what is at the Big Box- rather than look at seed and garden catalogs, planning.
Rifle Paper Co has some drool-worthy wallpaper! So pretty!!! 😍😍😍 And Serena and Lily
ahh rifle paper co – how could i forget?!
Your “tell-all” couldn’t have come at a better time for me! I’m looking at wallpaper for my LR and your experience will help me a lot! I think you are simply the most sincere and genuine person! Good for you for knowing what is best for you and investing in it! I love all the wallpaper choices – they’re interesting and happy.
SHUCKS, wow, that’s so kind of you to say!!! :’) hope your living room turns out amazing.
Gorgeous! Considering all – what your job is, how happy wallpaper makes you, etc, I think this is a very good investment! Enjoy!!
thank you, kelly 🙂
Caitlin, I LOVE all of this! I adore wallpaper and 100% support installing it in a rental if you’re planning on being there for awhile. My partner and I live in a rental where we’ll likely be for a total of ~8 years (about 6 years in now) and we’ve replaced all the window panes, meticulously painted every wall and molding, and installed shelving that suits our needs. The paint is reversible, and the shelving can all come down when we leave, but it cost a lot of dough and was a million percent worth it. Your wallpaper choices are freaking gorgeous, and I love that they’re all different but work together well somehow. Your dining room is easily my favorite–the wallpaper really sets off that incredible molding you have. Can’t wait to see all the full reveals!!
i think it may be my favorite, too – being in here and watching the light bounce off the gold is SO SPECIAL. gah! and so glad to hear about the shelving – i’m hanging some in my apartment this weekend!!!
Having shelves is life changing! The storage! The styling! Hope the install goes smoothly 🙂 🙂
I understand all of your work, except replacing the window panes. Surely the landlord should do that!?
Hah yes, in an ideal world, the landlord should replace the window panes. The seal was broken and there was streaky dirt inside them, so you couldn’t see out any of the windows clearly! When the window guy was replacing the panes, the super commented that he “used to” do that, making me think that the landlord “used to” provide him with the replacement panes and they no longer do. It’s a rent-stabilized building in Brooklyn, NY, which are not always as well-maintained by their owners as they should be. Our super is great though–he takes as good care of the building as he can, given the resources he is given.
I get it now. In Australia, leases tend to be for 12 months.
I definitely don’t think you are crazy, and I love hearing how much joy this has brought to your life! If you have extra money to spend, then it always comes down to what’s worth it to you. Some people buy $4000 computers or $120,000 cars. Some save for years for travel. There is no “right” or “wrong” to what you choose to spend your money on. We all have different priorities for what matters most to us. I would think people spending time reading design blogs would probably totally get it. But even if they don’t, who the hell cares!!! You are the one smiling more throughout the day and that is worth everything.
More to that point, a lot of people spend money on vacations to essentially “escape” their daily lives for a short period of time but if you’re spending money on improving your daily life, that seems like a greater ROI to me!
Ooof, that is a beautiful coil base floor lamp 😍
I lived in an apartment in Santa Monica for 15 years. Rent control was very restrictive at the time and landlords wouldn’t do much. It was very common for renters to paint, wallpaper, refinish kitchen cabinets, replace carpeting, light fixtures, window treatments etc. and I did all of it, too. However, we were generally paying below-market rents so money-wise it made sense. The grand total for Caitlin’s 3 rooms of wallpaper is on the splurgy side for me but I could see doing a room at a time.
I used to live in Cleveland (Cleveland Heights) and we had a very traditional house where every single room except kitchen and baths was wallpapered. I had a painter/paper hanger. I saved a lot in one room by taking the old paper off, washing the walls and putting sizing on them. But having the paper made the house EXTREMELY hard to sell. Even though I loved it, evidently most buyers did not. Now, I just moved into a new house last year and I wanted to paper my small powder room, which is painted and has wainscoting up to about 4′. I had picked out a paper of the cutest woodland creatures. The paper would have been about $1000 and the hanger quoted me $1000. At that point, my husband said it was not worth it to spend $2000 on a tiny powder room when it looked “just fine” and he warned me not to “ruin this house”! I still dream about it, though1
It’s so sad that buyers don’t have imagination. I have a 1912 Craftsman that when I bought it had full wallpaper in two rooms, and a wallpaper frieze in three other rooms. We wanted the house and knew we’d decorate it to our liking. While the wallpaper was historically accurate, I’d have chosen different ones. We removed it and painted according to my personal design, as well as refinished floors, prior to moving in. I understand a lot of people want something “move-in” ready, but grey, beige, and white throughout a house is not everyone’s choice either. I think you should paper the powder room since you still dream about it.
ry fining a loved fabric and starching the walls. It really works and is fairly easy, easy to take down but gives the joy!
Well shoot missed some of the letters in my post. Find some inexpensive but pretty fabric and starch! Et al. ))
Get another quote for install, $1000 to do a powder room is ridiculous. My powder room paper was $650. and only $350 to install.
I dont think its that hard to diy wallpaper in a small space! My mom does and has done ALL her own wallpaper!
Practice in a closet.
Just really happy for you, Caitlin, that you’re living in a space that makes YOU so happy! Clearly your landlord trusted you to do it right. Looks incredible. Can’t wait to see the reveals!
$4k seems so reasonable for the professional installation and overall impact the wallpaper makes! Gorgeous!!
Gorgeous! I really want to see all of your samples laid out in a grid, or at least links to everything you considered. We have the same wallpaper taste!
I’ve long said I’d never do wallpaper again after having to painfully removing it in the past. However, I’m converting back. Caitlin, your dining room is so amazing! That wallpaper properly highlights the architectural details. And the bathroom wallpaper with that tile is so good. As for the kitchen, lemons forever! I cannot wait for the full reveals on these rooms!
I’m remodeling my kitchen soon, and debating wallpaper or all over stenciling in the nook. It’s a 1912 Craftsman, and I love both options. My husband is leaning toward the stenciling because of the aforementioned wallpaper ban. The wallpaper is picked out (Garden of Eden in original by Charles Voysey – https://www.charlesvoysey.com/store/p73/Garden_of_Eden_Wallpaper.html), but I have yet to find the perfect stencil, although so many possibilities exist. I’ve also considered doing a block print, essentially stamping the wall, because I’ve been so drawn to them. The stamp or stencil would be some traditional rose pattern.
That wallpaper you picked is stunning!
Thanks, Sheila! My teen daughter loves birds, so I really wanted birds in there somehow. The nook also leads to the backyard and garden, so I really wanted a garden feel, too. We also got the sample for Apothecary’s Garden (https://www.charlesvoysey.com/store/p64/Apothecary%27s_Garden_Wallpaper.html), but my family and my sister’s family all liked the Garden of Eden wallpaper better.
Does Emily have a wallpaper installation recommendation for Portland yet? I’ve been sitting on rolls of Hygge & West wallpaper for my dining room for months trying to work up the courage to install myself. Probably time to bring in a professional.
Hi! Can you share Mark’s contact info? I’m in LA and looking for an installer. Thank you!
I support this 100 percent!!! I lived in an apartment for 10 years and regret not doing the things that would have it made it feel more me. I really appreciate your explanation but really, no explanation necessary since this is important to you and it’s your home!
Also, random thanks for unknowingly being my guru. I was house hunting at the same time as you and referred to your loan officer and agent post often. And now I’ve selected a wallpaper for a bathroom but hadn’t taken the steps to find an installer yet. Don’t know what I’d do without you!
I do NOT think you’re crazy for putting so much work into a rental! I have a smallish apartment, but it has a huuuuuge garden. The garden was completely empty when I moved in, and I’ve spent the last few years filling it with plants, building raised beds, etc. I’ve probably spent at least $2000 on it. Am I going to be able to take any of it with me when I move someday? No. But the joy my garden gives me has been absolutely worth it.
It’s looks gorgeous, and I can hear your happiness and joy while reading. WORTH.EVERY.PENNY!
It’s expensive but they all look BEAUTIFUL and it looks like you made such good choices to tie in with existing tile, etc. Can’t wait to see the full reveals because I’m crying over that citrus wallpaper. It clearly makes you so happy! Worth it!
You absolutely need the green vegetable dishware for that gorgeous dining room! Beautiful papers, very well done! Enjoy it in good health!
Your choices are beautiful and daring.?They add an elegance to every room! Especially love the bulk/white Art Deco paper by Farrow and Ball. Thinking of that for my dining room above the chair rail. My home was built in 1937 and while it’s an English cottage it has an Art Deco influence. Thank you for sharing all this information.🙏
Lovely, lovely choices and I’d love Mark’s info for a small project in LA. Thanks!
Wow! Love every single one of your wallpaper choices. It looks fantastic…and cheerful.
Such good wallpaper choices, the spaces turned out amazing! I’ve been wanting to wallpaper a room in our rental house and this might be the push I needed to do it. Would love Mark’s contact info when you have a chance!
Hi Caitlin! I’m also in LA looking to add a bunch of wallpaper—I just searched for your email address in your bio and couldn’t find it—I would *LOVE* Mark’s email address if there’s a way you can get it to me.
Also the papers you chose are so magnificent I’m now wondering where else I can add paper. So so so gorgeous!
Lovely! Did you end up needing/using the extra double rolls that you ordered?
ALL THE HEART EYES! Wowzers, these are fantastic.
Gorgeous! It breathes new life into an old apartment. Good choices!
I love every room. Too bad you can’t buy that apartment. The bathroom is my favorite.
For other renters out there, while the idea of knocking out all your check writing at once is appealing, banks do not care if checks are postdated. If your landlord decides to deposit all your checks at once, the bank will accept the checks, and pull the money from your account. If you don’t have the funds in the account to cover the checks, you and/or your landlord may face fees for bounced checks.
It sounds like Caitlin has an easygoing landlord, but this probably isn’t the best practice for all renter/landlord relationships.
It’s amazing!!! More photos please!!!
I wholeheartedly support all of this. Good for you for investing in yourself by enhancing your space. These rooms look amazing and are understandably a pleasure to spend your precious time in. Enjoy!!!
I’m curious if there’s any concerns about future issues with the wallpaper in the bathroom due to the heat & humidity. My absolute dream would be to wallpaper my ensuite bathroom but I’m worried the wallpaper would peel off over time. Is it an issue? Does it depend on the type of wallpaper or paste used? Any info would be appreciated!
I absolutely love the papers you picked! So gorgeous! The floral one in particular is one I would totally use. I just bought wallpaper for the first time, and plan to install it myself under our kitchen island. We rent in NYC and probably will for the foreseeable future. When we moved recently, I knew I wanted to get some removable wallpaper ASAP because it would make me so happy and I wanted to at least enjoy it for as long as possible in our time there (I very much hope we will stay in this space many years!!). We are also painting pretty much every inch, so I very much believe in doing what you love in a rental. That said, I probably wouldn’t have swing for wallpaper even the affordable Spoon flower stuff I bought, if it was more than the kitchen island space. The amount required would just me so much! I’d have to make a serious case for it and I don’t know if I could even be confident enough in it myself to do that. But I LOVE it for anyone who can make that decision or has the means. I picked a William Morris… Read more »
Fabulous! I recently had some wallpaper installed in my office, which right inside my front door, so it makes a welcoming impact! I used Wallpaper Direct for almost all of my samples. Then I found LA Design Concepts, which carried my chosen paper in more colorways and at a better price. One thing I did not anticipate needing, that was only mentioned in the fine print of the insert on my rolls, was LINING PAPER?! Luckily, my paper hanger was a 3rd gen pro (with a wooden pasting table!) who caught it, and also provided the lining paper. This did increase my costs for materials and labor though. The hanging process was twice as long! Still, I love my paper everyday and would do it again in a heart beat! Cost was about $2k all in for one room.
Whether or not it’s “worth it” in a rental is debatable, I think it’s very easy to spend money on haircuts, makeup, takeaways, holidays, clothes and 3 years later have nothing permanent to show for it so why should your apartment decor not be able to be a “consumable aesthetic experience” . We moved into our apartment 6 years ago and didn’t plan to stay there more than a year, we did paint but in retrospect I wish we had invested more on new light fittings, splash backs and other fixtures that we could have spent 6 years enjoying. We are finally moving at the end of this lease and will remain long term renters so I plan to go into our new place with the mindset that we will spend at least 4 years there.
Also, bold wallpaper is so impactful compared to paint, you can spend less on art and other decor. So there is value there.
I would never in a million years have picked that bathroom wallpaper but it’s absolutely stunning and totally works with the tiles. This is a house that will feel happy on even the greatest of days. 😍
*typo. Happy even on the GREYEST of days
There is NOTHING more beautiful than a proper wallpaper installation. It is all about the details. I love the patterns. Well done, enjoy.