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We tried temporary wallpaper and we liked it

Let’s talk about wallpaper. It has a bad rap for good reason: we’ve seen some serious wallpaper trauma in our tenure as interior designers. Installing (and removing) traditional wallpaper is a majorly messy, nerve-wracking undertaking and requires serious commitment. If you hate it, you’re stuck with it. Literally.


Source: MTV.com

Enter temporary wallpaper.

Used thoughtfully and sparingly (i.e. as an accent wall), wallpaper can lend depth and major visual interest without feeling claustrophobic. Even better? Temporary wallpaper! Temporary wallpaper is self-adhesive. It applies to your walls in vertical strips like big stickers and when (if?) you’re over it, you can peel it right off without damaging the paint underneath! Win.

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Deep breaths. Steady hands. Don’t let ’em see you sweat.

We decided to take our first plunge into the temporary wallpaper arena using it as an accent wall in a guest room/office of our Haywaters project. You can check out another guest room from this project here.

We chose a timeless, graphic design called Kaleidoscope from Tempaper Designs and while the instillation was a little bit nail-bitey (it was our first time!), the finished product was GORGEOUS and oh-so-worth it.


North Fork Design‘s top 5 tips for installing temporary wallpaper

Your supplier will include detailed instructions with your purchase. Here are a couple of our best tips.


1. Go slow.

It took two of us about 2 hours to install temporary wallpaper paper on one wall, which is not too shabby. It’s super exciting to see it going up, but go slow anyway! We recommend taking frequent breaks and stepping back to check your progress as you go.  This is a marathon, not a sprint.


2. It takes two.

This is not a solo project so make sure to enlist a patient friend. Bonus points if the patient friend is the type to enjoy lining up his/her pencils in a perfect little row on their desk.


 3. Measure all of the things.

Before you stick ANYTHING you will need to measure. And then measure again. And measure some more. Measure, measure, measure.

  • Measure your wall height. Measure it again.
  • Decide which part of the pattern you’d like to have at the top of the wall. It’ll be the same all the way across.
  • Measure your first strip from that point. Add 2-3 inches at the bottom of the strip (you’ll trim that part off after it’s stuck), double check your measurements, then cut with an Exacto knife.

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4. Measure all of the things again.

Did we mention that you need to measure? Measure! Make sure that each strip of paper starts (at the top) with the same part of the pattern so they’ll line up perfectly. Use a level and a yardstick to ensure a straight cut with an Exacto knife.


5. It’s all about alignment.

Starting with the left edge of your wall, apply a strip from the top down.

  • Make sure you’ve got a totally straight top horizontal edge.
  • Match the pattern to the pattern on the seam of the strip to the left.
  • Smooth down and out to the right as you go.
  • If you mess up, you can gently peel it back and realign.

Ta da!

Major impact, minor commitment.



More ideas for temporary wallpaper

If you’re not ready to commit to a whole wall, consider using temporary wallpaper to back a bookshelf, or the inside of a closet. You could also use it to spice up a boring laundry room or half-bath.

Have you tried temporary wallpaper yet? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!