Special feature

Wallpapering to create an accent wall

Posted on Aug 25 2021 in DIY
Room with wallpaper accent wall

By Mary Sexton

The current DIY boom is a result of millions of remote workers being reminded daily of the need for home improvements. After structural fixes and replacement needs are met, the focus moves to aesthetic enhancements. Accent (or feature) walls have been popular for years, but they’re not just about using an alternate paint color for a single wall anymore. Today’s accent walls can add definition and punch with modern wallpaper designs. Find your perfect one, then follow these steps and grab the supplies needed for a fun accent wall(papering) project. 

Clean and repair

To prevent trapped dust or dirt, first go over the entire wall with a duster tool, making sure to go down the inside corners to catch those hard-to-see cobwebs. A stepladder and long-handled duster are needed in rooms with cathedral ceilings. Next, gently clean the wall with a damp sponge. You can use warm water and liquid soap, but make sure to remove any soap residue with another wipe down of fresh water.

Next, it’s crucial to start this project with a smooth base, so fill in nail holes and minor nicks or cracks with lightweight filler or spackle. Once it’s completely dry, lightly sand those spots with fine grit sandpaper until the surface is flat and smooth. Go over these areas once more with a slightly damp cloth to eliminate any sanding dust.

Get primed for paper

Applying wallboard primer will make the wallpaper easier to install. It creates a hard seal that keeps the wallpaper’s adhesive slightly wet and allows you to push the sheets into alignment during installation. Without proper priming, the wall will quickly absorb and bond with the adhesive and make it much more difficult to remove. Apply a thin layer of primer using an angled brush to cut around trim, corners, and edges and a roller to fill in the rest. Let it dry overnight.

Start from the middle

It may be tempting to start from the corner of the wall with its straight edge but hanging paper from the middle ensures a professional-looking finish. Measure the entire accent wall with a quality tape or laser measurer and mark the center point. Then use a plumb line (or a level and pencil) to make a vertical line at the wall’s center point.

If your paper isn’t pre-pasted, mix wallpaper paste with water as directed and let it stand for a few minutes. In the meantime, cut your wallpaper a few inches longer in height than you need. Begin applying paste to the back of the wallpaper, working from the middle outward and paying special attention to the edges and corners. Pre-pasted or not, let the wallpaper soak up the paste for the recommended amount of time. 

Following the vertical line you marked earlier, hang the paper with an overlap at the top and bottom of the wall. Glide across the paper with a wallpaper smoother to remove any bubbles and creases. Then use a wallpaper razor tool to trim off any extra and create a clean edge. To make sure your next strip matches the pattern already hung, hold dry paper up against it first before marking it for cutting. Repeat this process until you complete your feature wall.

Different accents

An accent wall adds personality to a room without being overbearing. If the thought of wallpaper makes you shudder, recalling decorating trends from a bygone era, we get it. However, wallpaper has come a long way. But if it’s not for you, there are many accent wall options. Try removable wall decals, modern (and actually chic) paneling, or popular shiplap with subtle designs or textures that define a space and give it purpose. Whichever you choose, the right tools and a little patience will result in a successful home décor DIY.

Visit your local Do it Best store or doitbest.com for thousands of the best home improvement products, including wallpapering supplies. 

MARY SEXTON is the manager of Connolly’s Do it Best Hardware & Rental’s Illinois Road location in Fort Wayne. Connolly’s is a member-owner of Do it Best Corp., a Fort Wayne-based cooperative of thousands of hardware stores, home centers and lumberyards throughout the U.S. and around the world.

(This article is for informational purposes only. Indiana Connection and Do it Best Corp. assume no liability for the accuracy or completeness of the information contained herein, or for injuries, property damage, or the outcome of any project.)