Love gorgeous wallpaper but not ready for the commitment? Thanks to creative problem-solvers, we now have peel-and-stick removable wallpaper that massively shrinks the time and cost required for applying the stuff. But why stop at your walls?
We spoke with Elizabeth Rees, founder of removable wallpaper brand Chasing Paper, to learn about a few of the unique ways to put wallpaper to use in the kitchen and beyond.
If your backsplash is nonexistent (read: consists only of a plain wall), a few panels of wallpaper can liven up your kitchen -- and create a real statement piece, too. “I rented in NYC until recently so my backsplash was always a plain white wall,” says Rees. "Every time I covered the space in wallpaper, people commented because it felt so fresh and special.” She suggests choosing a design that mimics tile so that it feels kitchen-appropriate, while still boasting more texture than what you’d get from a basic paint job.
Pro tip: Measure the length and width of your backsplash, and cut the wallpaper panel to that size before installing. For the smoothest result, remove all hardware from the wall including outlet plates, which can usually be unscrewed. And although most wallpaper -- including Chasing Paper -- is flame-retardant, it’s a good idea to avoid papering any areas directly next to a gas stovetop. When it comes to food stains, Rees suggests using a wet paper towel without a cleaning solution.
Upgrade ugly appliances
When blogger Aunt Peaches wallpapered her refrigerator (twice), the end result exploded into an internet sensation (both times), reminding us all that our appliances don’t have to be boring. Covering the fridge in a pretty pattern is particularly great if you have an older model, or a black or white fridge in a kitchen that calls for anything but. If the fridge is still working just fine, this is a far more cost-effective decor fix than buying a new one. To take things one step further, Rees suggests using Chasing Paper’s peel-and-stick chalkboard product for part of the fridge. “It turns the space into a multi-use surface,” she says, “where you can write the grocery list or have your kids draw while you cook dinner.”
Pro tip: Some refrigerators are boxy in shape, while others have curved edges. Depending on the shape, it may be easier to wallpaper just the front of the fridge as opposed to the whole thing -- but according to Rees, both options work well. To create a smooth surface, unscrew and remove the fridge handle before wallpapering.
Wallpapering the back portion of a pantry or china cabinet allows for a refreshing pop of color or print each time you open it. And if the front door of the cabinet is glass, a bit of that color will come through even when closed. For someone with a minimalist aesthetic, cabinet wallpapering is a subtle way to incorporate color into a room without shifting the existing scheme.
Pro tip: “So many people fall in love with a design,” says Rees, “and then they’re like, ‘I couldn’t put that in my house because it’s too bright or too girly or I’d get sick of it.’ But inside a cabinet, you want that bold surprise.” It’s a small change, but one your guests will notice and appreciate. “Those little moments,” she says, “are what make a house a home.”
Give Trays a New Life
Covering the bottom of serving trays in different patterns can give them new life as decorative touches in a dining-table spread -- a fun twist for the holidays. “You don’t need to go for red and green or silver and blue,” Rees says, “but you might choose a hunter green and decorate with cranberries. Either way, it's an easy way to add visual interest to a table or bar setup.”
Pro tip: This is a perfect project if you find yourself with leftover wallpaper scraps. Applying the paper may be easier on a tray with a flat base, as opposed to a rounded one, but either kind works if you’re sure to follow any curves while pressing the paper to the tray. Rees has applied Chasing Paper wallpaper to both lacquered and wooden trays, and each took well to the adhesive.