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accent wall?

cole andson

i always get my craziest ideas at night, especially for someone who's a renter. i was just thinking about wallpapering a single accent wall in my home (a small but central one) with paper- maybe something subtle but modern from cole and son or mibo. clearly i shouldn't do this with a rental, but that aside, if i was to do this, how hard would it be to get down (on say a 10 by 7 foot section of a wall) when i move out (or paint over?). also, our walls are pretty old and uneven, is wallpaper a nightmare of an idea if you have old walls? any advice is appreciated. xo, the wallpaper novice (aka, d*s).

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't you buy several sheets of thin luan, wallpaper those and use industrial strength velcro to fix them to the wall. Luan is pretty light so you would only need a few small pieces of velcro, which should peel off the wall when you want to remove it. You should get the effect you want without doing any real long term damage to the walls.

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One alternative would be to buy and paper a large piece of board--like maybe a few pieces of plywood, cut to smaller sizes so they wouldn't bow and warp. It wouldn't cover the whole wall, but if you thought of it as a very large "piece," like a canvas or huge framed work, it wouldn't need to.

I've never actually tried this, only thought about it a lot. As a solution to renting/painting, I painted a couple of large pegboards that I got from Home Depot. Bright, changeable color, really easy to remove, cheap, and usable (with the putting stuff on the pegs).

I can't wait to see more pictures of your new apartment decorating!

7:27 PM  
Blogger Blogging Masterclass said...

wallpaper smooth plywood and lean it against the wall as you would a leaning mirror...tres chic and mobile!

Or...find an old door at a salvage yard, and collage it with wallpaper...



7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never used them but those wall bands at twenty-2 are supposed to be easily removable. I'm not sure if their wallpaper is the same, you'd have to check it out. http://www.twenty2.net/ As a renter I entertained this idea but I ended up just wallpapering the inside of my IKEA armoire (like the closet in the first issue of domino.)I like the idea that I can take it with me when I move.

7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that wallpaper too but it's EXPENSIVE...not to mention the cost of a good paper-hanger-person. Paint the wall a color and spend the money on a great giant piece of art you can take with you!

7:49 PM  
Blogger Vajra said...

omigosh! I can't get over how much I love the new look! Yea! for d*s!

8:21 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

if you're feeling creative, you could make a stencil based on your favorite design and paint it on. a 10 x 7 foot section seems manageable. the biggest plus is that you can paint over it.
i got the idea from nate berkus on oprah:

8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Grace, I bought this cole and son paper through Liberty of London(in London--you get VAT tax back, by the way, so it's cheaper than buying it here...)...If you do not have smooth and really well prepped walls then you will need a liner paper, and it becomes a nightmare to hang. I have the cream and brown paper (which I think Lena has as pictured on her blog), and you must use a wheat paste to hang. I put up wainscotting and painted in Earl Grey (BM paint), so it doesn't go the full length of the wall and feel too wombish. Good luck!

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another option is to use liquid starch as an adhesive to "wallpaper" the wall with fabric. I haven't tried it myself (yet), but I've heard that it peels right off, and you can wash any starch residue off with water. It might also work with certain kinds of paper; I'm sure if you did some experiments, you could find something that worked.

8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how 'bout wallpapering a 4'x8' panel of say masonite and mounting that to the wall with L hooks or mirror mounts or something like that ?
you'd need less, and you could take it down. you can always paint the wall a contrasting or coordinating color.

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It can be very hard to take down, depending on the paper/glue. How about screwing in cool panels of some sort? birch, old chalkboard, etc... very easy to patch a few screw holes, and panels cover a multitude of wall sins. The paper is beautiful and tempting, though.

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Okay, design diva. I've been all take take take feasting upon your site with my eyes so please allow me to repay you.
First off, I would not plan on removing any structural material from a rental. How would you even get a 10'x7' section out the door and down the stairs even if you could remove it? There are much simpler solutions and one that could add new dimensions, literally. Home Depot or any other supply store sell 1/4 and 3/8" sheets of drywall or even panelling that you can screw into the studs behind your current wall. To add dimension you make 1" spacers out of black PVC pipe behind the panel to give it the appearance of floating off the wall. You can run rope lights behind the panel to give it an aura or perimeter glow. You can even add layers on top of the panel by putting smaller panels on top of the large panel with spacers.

Or....you can do what I am doing now. My rental's wall is cinder block and I feel like I live inside a milk bottle..or an igloo. I procured black felt fabric on one of my trips to Asia. Velcro sticks nicely to it on both sides. It is stiff yet flexible. It looks like a hybrid between felt and weathered black leather. It can be painted, mottled, glazed, cut, wrinkled, distorted. I dont want to have the wall be stuck with the same design all the time. This material solves this problem. Because it is velcro-philic you can create thematic components which you can add, replace or remove. Presto Chango.
Currently, I am designing a mondrian theme using squares which are dry-eraseable and magnetic so that either I or my guests can write notes or clip photos to, for entertainment or organization. I am also working on a bamboo design to velcro onto it. Since these design components are one dimensional they can be stored and stacked flat in a closet, under a bed or behind the black material. When it is time to move simply role up the blackground and use Goo Be Gone to remove adhesive off the wall.

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe you could mount the wallpaper on a big canvas, and then hang THAT on the wall, rather than gluing? You could also use fabric, or just get the really big canvas and paint it with stripes or whatnot. That'd probably be easier than gluing wallpaper directly to the wall and trying to remove it later. Plus, yes, wallpaper is a pain, even on nice, even walls!

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why not wallpaper onto thin sheets of ply & then attach these to the wall? You could recess the panels off the wall & put concealed fluro lights at the bottom for ambient light. this way you can achieve the desired effect without having to grapple with uneven walls, plus you won't have to paint over it afterwards.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe a crazy idea... but what about papering a piece of plywood or mdf (even a hollow-core door) and hanging it as really big art? you could take it with you without any hassle, and it would solve the uneven wall issue as well. perhaps not as much impact as an entire wall covered, but might be a good renter's compromise.
or I wonder if you could somehow attach the paper to the wall with an alternate adhesive?

9:42 PM  
Blogger S'mee said...

O.k. I do interior art for a living, so my first suggestion would be to just paint the danged wall and add some kind of artistic flare of your own design or stencil, etc. Not artistic? Well then go ahead and wall paper. When it comes time to remove it, this is the insider's trick: liquid fabric softener. Using a large sponge soaked with a 50/50 solution of water and let's say "Downey" squeeze the solution over the papered wall and allow it to become absorbed into the paper. This should only take a minute or so and then you should be able to peel the paper off easily (think: lather, rinse, repeat). In the interum, DO NOT repair peeling wall paper with white glue... which is a horror to try to get off a wall. Repairs should be fixed with the original form of wall paper paste. Another suggestion is to have a partner help you with the wall paper application. It can be done single handed, but there will be much less frustration if you have an extra pair of hands. You may also want to try a practise session in a small closet or in the garage to decide if this project is for you.

10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the current issue of Glamour magazine, of all places, you will see this exact paper shown as you have suggested - on one accent wall. I love the look.

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Umm, I'm a litle bit in love with Dan. Wow. Great, creative ideas.

11:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why don't you put wall paper on a huge canvas that way it is movable

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a trick we use in visual merchanising is to just dry mount to foam core (cut to size) and either velcro or use paneling nails to mount it to the wall.

I only mention this, becasue even though masonite and paneling would work, most people have the tools to cut foamcore and it is lightweight and if you need to tile it to fit the space, or destroy it to throw away, you most likely already know how, and own a utility knife and ruler.

another trick we use to keep things on the cheap is to print images ourselves.

try- http://homokaasu.org/rasterbator/

8:14 AM  
Blogger Lena said...

our old walls needed to be prepped- otherwise the cracks and bumps show through. but apparently the way they apply wallpaper now, it's easy to remove... i think a mounted piece of wallpaper can be just as nice, or even nicer if you're just doing one wall. did you see the wallpaper story in last month's elle decor? they mounted the paper on foam core board (you can have that done at a framing shop)... and I saw one of the pieces hung at a friend's apt (she works for the magazine) and it looked great.

8:48 AM  
Blogger holly said...

sara jane mentioned liquid starch and fabric as an alternative. i've seen it done ... beautiful. here's a few step-by-step links i found for you. good luck and keep us posted!



9:15 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

i always discourage wallpaper...a great paint color and the right mix of things can do more for a space then any paper! The other idea is BLIK wall graphics...www.whatisblik.com they are modern, fun, and completely removable. Have fun...and posts pics of what you end up doing!!

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The blik stick-ons aren't bad, you can even get the damask look: http://www.whatisblik.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=B&Product_Code=BL-130FL

or you could get them to print something custom: http://www.whatisblik.com/custom.html

There are also some vinyl wallpapers that are much easier to remove that traditional papery ones. However, vinyl isn't very ecological, if you choose to be greener... and the pattern choices might not be very desirable for a design-savvy couple.

good luck!

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh - and you could try the IKEA kvadrant system, and hang the panels, much simpler and lighter than using pieces of plywood.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work for a company that does crazy party houses, We wall paper litterally for a week and then return the house to the owners. I think that the higher the quality of the paper and paste, the easier it is to remove without damaging the walls. we use Cole and Son all of the time.

That said, it likes smooth walls.
How about taking 3 hollow core doors and a couple of piano hinges and makeing a huge screen?

4:37 PM  
Blogger ange said...

A couple of things:

1. Goo gone (that Dan mentioned, and i'm sure others use) is sorta a gimmick. Any eye makeup remover from your (or your gf's) makeup cabinet will work just as well.

2. I know I already mentioned this, but I got the woods curtains from dutch by design (designed by Nicolette Brunklaus) and used them not on the windows but as a cover for an accent wall:


Hanging designer fabric or paper panels behind floating furniture or against a wall is a great way to create an accent styled divider or wallcover that is easy to remove and change up and quite cheap. We absolutely LOVE the DBD woods panels (though not cheap) and i've seen other panels that are cheaper at many stores. Even if you buy the wallpaper, think about wrapping the tops and bottoms around some decorative poles to hold them taut and hanging them from the ceiling. We then hang thin paintings and photographs with fishing line from teh ceiilng in front of it. The effect is quite lovely and easy to change.

5:14 PM  
Blogger silver pear said...

Everybody here has fantastic suggestions! I've also been debating an accent wall using this Cole & Son's tree wallpaper. If you don't have time for a DIY project, a cheaper (and transportable) option can be found at Screen Productions in the UK. I apologize if you've already posted about this company in the past. I love their "classical" options which have that same antique print feel:


They make wall panels too (including custom sizes):

They'll also create screens or panels from your own image.

5:44 PM  

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