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Guide to Decorating Kids' Rooms

Wallpapering Kids' Rooms

Since its creation, wallpaper has been an invaluable way to add patterns, architectural features, and details to an otherwise ordinary room. Modern children's rooms are no exception. Indeed, with the variety of styles and colors on the market, wallpapering is one of the easiest ways to create a specific decorating scheme in a room. A bonus for children's rooms: Wallpaper is durable and can be quickly cleaned, making it easy to remove smudgy hand prints and impromptu drawings!

What You'll Need
Gather these materials and tools before you get started:

  • Prepasted wallpaper
  • Pencil
  • Plumbline and chalk
  • Ruler
  • Water
  • Wallpaper brush
  • Broad knife
  • Utility knife

To wallpaper your child's room:

  1. Remove outlet covers, switch plates, and other protrusions from the walls.

  2. Next, identify the room's focal
    point. This is usually directly
    across from the door or in the center of the wall you see upon entering the bedroom.

  3. Center roll of wallpaper over focal point, and mark wall on both sides of the wallpaper to determine placement. Snap a plumb line where the right edge of the wallpaper will be placed.

  4. From the plumb line and working from both sides of the piece marked at the focal point, measure and mark wallpaper placement on both sides of each strip around to the dead corner, which is the most inconspicuous corner in the room. This corner usually falls near the door.

  5. Measure and cut several sheets of wallpaper. Roll each sheet with the pattern on the outside. This will help take the twist out of the paper.

  6. Place a rolled sheet of wallpaper into lukewarm water, and let it soak according to manufacturer's instructions.

  7. Remove wallpaper from water and "book" the strip. To do this, fold 1 end of the strip toward the middle of the sheet, pasted sides together, so that the folded part is a manageable size. Do not crease the fold. Now continue to accordion fold the strip, pulling up from where the first end left off. Continue folding until the sheet is a manageable size.

    "Booking" a wallpaper strip

  8. Working from the top of the wall and centered over the marked focal point, unfold the top portion of the booked wallpaper. Align the right edge of the sheet with the plumb line, and press the paper to the wall, leaving a 2-inch margin of paper at the top and positioning the key element in the wallpaper design as desired.

  9. Smooth the sheet with a wallpaper brush, and crease the 2-inch margin at the top of the wall so that the margin flaps over onto the ceiling. Continue to position the remaining portion of the wallpaper sheet. Crease at the bottom of the wall so that the 2-inch margin overlaps the baseboard.

  10. Using a utility knife, trim paper at the top and bottom of the wall. For a smooth cut, use the broad knife as a guide and avoid lifting the knife blade as you cut.

  11. After hanging several sheets, wash the walls and baseboards with a clean, wet cloth to remove any wallpaper paste.

Wallpapering Around Obstacles

Make sure electricity is turned off. Wallpaper over holes in the wall left by outlets and light switches, then cut along the sides of the outlet or light switch. Lift the paper slightly, and trim along the top and bottom portion of the outlet or light switch box.

Covering Switch and Outlet Plates

Match wallpaper to the design on the wall around the opening, then cut a piece for the outlet or switch plate, 1 inch larger on all sides. Use adhesive spray on the outside of the plate and cover with the wallpaper, wrapping sides around to the back. Cut an X in the center of outlet and switch holes to all 4 corners, then fold wallpaper to underside of plate.

Wallpapering Tips

The following tips will help your wallpapering job go more smoothly:

  • Always remove existing wallpaper before hanging new wallpaper. Rent a steamer or buy a chemical peeler, or hire a professional.

  • Start in a basic room with flat, open areas and few doors and windows or in a room where a mistake won't be apparent.

  • Two installers are better than one. Successful installation relies on an assembly-line method, with 1 person cutting and prepping the paper and the other person hanging the paper. Working together in this method contributes to efficiency and success.

  • To prevent mold and fungus from growing underneath the wallpaper, choose a wallpaper paste that contains fungicides.

  • Use yellow chalk to snap plumb lines. Blue chalk can bleed through the wallpaper.

  • Wrap wallpaper around outside corners to prevent having an edge that can tear or lift at the corner. Cut wallpaper along inside corners to avoid puckering.

  • Never overlap wallpaper.

  • Most bubbles disappear as the wallpaper dries. For any remaining bubbles, make a V-cut in the center of the bubble. Lift the flap and moisten, then smooth in place.

  • A stripe or random-match pattern is the easiest pattern for beginners to hang. The next choice is a straight-across match, where half the pattern is at the edge of 1 sheet and the other half is directly across from it on the next sheet.

Stenciling is a fun way to give your child's room a personal touch. Find stenciling tips on the next page.

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