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7 Steps to Prepare a Wall for Wallpaper (& my tip for priming dark walls!)



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This weekend I started wallpapering the toilet area of our primary bathroom for the One Room Challenge! You can find more about the challenge here as well as my mood board plan for the space. I chose this Wallpaper from Rifle Paper and could not be more excited to get it up on the wall.


I have previously hung a wallpaper mural in Penelope’s room and stripes in our Pantry but both were peel and stick so this is my first time tacking traditional wallpaper.

Rug | Chair | Hardware | Book | Wallpaper (similar)
Table | Bookshelf | Hamper | Rug | Chair | Wallpaper Mural | Basket (similar)

Here are the main things to remember when preparing the wall:

Step 1: Remove any objects

This includes light switch plates, electrical coverings, and in our case, the toilet paper holder. See my tutorial here for how to wallpaper those light switch covers!

Step 2: Repair the wall

Spackle over any nail holes or wall imperfections. Wait for it to dry and then lightly sand for a smooth finish.

Step 3: Sand

While you’re sanding those nail holes take a few extra minutes and give the entire wall a light sanding. This leaves you with a nice smooth finish to work with when it’s time to apply your wallpaper.

Step 4: Clean the wall

After repairing and sanding, give the wall a good once over cleaning to make sure it’s free from all dust and debris.

Step 5: Caulk

My baseboards were in desperate need of caulk. I put together an Instagram Reel tutorial on how I learned to caulk the fool proof way with clean lines and as little mess as possible!


Step 6: Paint

Before you add your wallpaper consider the trim and ceiling!

TIP: pick a paint color that matches somewhere within the pattern of your wallpaper. I chose the navy blue because I wanted the space to have a calm feel and it’s a color I can bring into the main part of the bathroom on the cabinets. I could have gone with green for a more fresh take or even the brighter blue or red if I wanted it to be more bright and lively.

Step 7: Prime

I know you might be tempted to skip this step but don’t skip this step! It will make life a whole heck of a lot easier when it comes to hanging your wallpaper and potentially someday, removing it.

TIP: Have the primer tinted to the background color of your wallpaper to hide any small gaps that may appear in the seams.

My Learning: The primer comes in White or Clear. The white should be used to tint light or medium colors while the clear is for dark colors. HOWEVER, from the directions on the can only 4 oz of color can be added to the gallon. Apparently, my navy blue had 8oz. So after a bit of research and running around, I found the solution. Paint the wall in a regular paint first then go over that with the clear primer. Yes, not ideal to add yet another step in there but again, it will be worth it! And if your wall is larger than what I did here, you could always roughly plan where your seams will be and just roll a wide enough line there.

Also the clear primer looks white when you open the can! Don’t worry, it dries clear.

And there you have it! Now you’re prepped and ready to get that beautiful paper up on the wall.

Read the Comments +

  1. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something that I think
    I would never understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me.
    I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get
    the hang of it!

    • Claire Kinney says:

      You got this! 🙂 I think the key is taking the time to watch video tutorials, read blog reviews, do research, and fully prepare before you dive in.

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