The Powder Room Makeover Part 2: Beadboard Wallpaper and Molding

I am overwhelmed by the kind words you all left me regarding the powder room makeover! I just love you guys. So so sweet. I’m so pleased you love it as much as I do!

And I know you have lots of questions about the beadboard wallpaper, so let’s get down to it.

Here’s why I chose the wallpaper instead of the real deal beadboard:

It’s soooo much easier. Well, at least for us, who have never really done the real deal before. We’ve just mastered board and batten when we tackled the office, but have yet to attempt beadboard. We don’t really have the tools to cut around all those corners – and to pull out the sink and toilet and everything…it was getting to be much more than just a quick budget makeover, which was all we had planned. That, and the fact that weekends are already busy as it is – my poor husband barely had five minutes to spare, let alone entire weekends to devote to this bathroom. Let’s face it, this whole makeover was MY idea anyway, so to dump all my grandiose plans on a busy guy who busts his butt 5 days a week at work for his family…just seemed wrong;)

But wallpaper…wallpaper was something I could do! And I’ve done it before on the kitchen backsplash. This was something that requires no tools really, with the exception of an exacto knife or scissors. I could totally do this, without the hassle of pulling out the sink vanity, toilet, etc. Now we’re talking! This bathroom doesn’t have a shower, so that’s why I’m cool with wallpaper. I would not use this in a room that gets hit with a lot of humidity – not sure how well the paper would stay up, you know?

We’ve been blessed with a home built in the 1960s, when skinny baseboards reigned supreme. My husband is anti-skinny baseboards, just as I am, so room by room we’re working on banishing them from the house. So he was game to rip these suckers out to make room for some much prettier, wider ones. With his expertise on the trim/molding part, and my work with the wallpaper, we could really turn this powder room into a purdy little space! It was a true joint labor of love…

beadboard wallpaper

I painted the top part of the room first (with Behr Prelude). The room is probably top 1/3 paint, bottom 2/3 wallpaper. Just my preference. You can do half and half, whatever floats your boat. I went as high as I could without hitting the lightswitch. Then I sanded any bumpy spots on the bottom portion of the wall because they will show up. It is just wallpaper, after all. (I had a big ol’ spot that needed sanding where something went down before we owned the house – hence the face mask. Safety first! 😉

beadboard wallpaper

I primed the bottom so it was ready for the wallpaper, and we were ready to go!

So where’d I buy it!?

I found it at Lowe’s, by Allen + Roth. About $18 for a roll. A roll doesn’t give you a ton – I did my bathroom with one roll, and it’s a teeny tiny bathroom.

Is it hard to use?

Nope. The directions are on the packaging, and simple to follow. Basically, I filled a couple inches of water in my bathtub, and cut a strip of the paper. I left it in the water for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, I laid it on a towel, gluey side up, and I folded in the sides. (Again, these directions are all on the packaging, with drawings to help). I let it set for 5 minutes, then put it up on the wall. It says to use one of those nifty straight edge tools to get rid of the excess glue (there’s a LOT of excess glue!). I didn’t have one, and patience isn’t my strong suit, so I ended up using a clipboard to smooth out the glue. Who has time to drive to the home improvement store when you are ready to get started? Not this girl! The clipboard works great – who knew?!

The key is to get the wallpaper nice and flat, so it looks like beadboard and not puffy wallpaper…but not to go crazy. I speak from experience. I was so crazy about it looking JUST LIKE THE REAL THING and it turned out I went overboard and removed too much glue. The next day a couple pieces were showing pockets of air, meaning there wasn’t enough glue to keep it in place. I was not a happy camper. But lesson learned. I peeled those pieces off and stuck new ones on.

Let me tell you a trick I learned when I had to get rid of the excess glue in the ittiest bittiest spots behind the sink vanity – I used an old credit card! Actually, it wasn’t a credit card, more like one of those tip cards or something that I had in my wallet. But same size. There was just about enough room for my arm and that card, and I jooshed that glue up the top with success! I mean – look how tiny:

beadboard wallpaper


Ok, picture doesn’t really do it justice, but it’s about 2 inches at best. Now, this is an after shot. The molding wasn’t up yet when I was doing the wallpaper. That was the final step. Well, painting was the final step – I’ll get to that.

So after your wallpaper is up, you wait a day before painting. As you can see from this pic, I didn’t have any trim up yet, so I wasn’t careful about measuring my strips.  I knew the trim would hide the rough, uneven edges:

beadboard wallpaper 101

So the weekend arrives, and my dear husband added the baseboard. We chose a nice big one – about 5.5 inches high. This was not an easy task – there was a lot of hard to reach spots, the vent to deal with, and uneven floors to boot…

beadboard wallpaper 101

Let’s just say THANK GOD FOR CAULK!! Seriously, it hides soooooo many imperfections. Can’t tell you how many times we said, “the caulk can fix that.” 😉 And it did. We also used white quarter round to give it a nice finished look.

beadboard wallpaper 101

Finally it was time for the top trim piece. We went with a smaller one – it’s almost 1.75 inches. That was much easier than the baseboard, since we weren’t working in such tiny, awkward to reach spots. (By the way – the nail gun wouldn’t even reach behind the sink, we had to just glue that piece to the wall. No one’s the wiser!)

My husband was downright giddy at this point, since his work was just about done, and he was loving the look of it all…

beadboard wallpaper 101

That guy.

He makes me laugh.

So now it was time for me to fill in the nail gun holes and get to painting! I used white semi-gloss on everything – the trim, baseboard, and wallpaper. Now, the wallpaper looks good as is, pre-paint, but it’s very…almost foam-like. Like if you stuck your fingernail in it, you’d get an indent. Not what you want with a family of five using that room all day long. So the paint hardens it a bit, and protects it from those knicks. And gives it even more of a beautiful look. Keep that in mind when you’re working with it – no inserting any fingernails and you should be good.;)

I couldn’t be happier with the way it all turned out. Everyone who has seen it cannot believe it’s not the real thing. It’s genius! I’m planning on putting it upstairs in the hallway next!

beadboard wallpaper 101


beadboard wallpaper

So I guess that’s about it. If I missed one of your questions, leave a comment and I’ll try to answer it as soon as I can. There are more pics and info over at my kitchen backsplash post – click here to check that out.

Happy wallpapering!

*****Curious how it’s holding up two and a half years later? Click here for a beadboard wallpaper update!*****


  1. Wow!! I love it! What do you think about using this as a kitchen backsplash? Do you think it would work? I love your blog!!!

  2. Lisa Marley says:

    Love it! Great ideas! Do you think the wallpaper will work if you don’t want to remove your baseboards? I don’t want it to look like the beadboard is sitting on top. What do you think?

    • Thanks, Lisa! I think it would work, but you’d just have to be more careful about making sure it’s a clean, even cut, lining it up perfectly with the baseboards – good luck!

    • If you’re leaving your baseboards up, I would think you could caulk along the baseboard for a clean line after you’re done installing the wallpaper. Just a thought.

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