Whether you love wallpaper or refuse to put it up in your home, we can all agree that it is a pain to take down; at least the older stuff is. But don't let that scare you! We have some tips and tricks below that will help you de-wallpaper your home, as well as some ways to install easy-to-remove wallpaper if you decide you want to spruce up your walls again. (Really, it just peels right off. It's a dream.)

Okay. Are you ready? We're in this together.

Removing Wallpaper

Step 1: Protect What Can't Get Wet
Your floors and electrical outlets have nothing to do with the wallpaper removal, they are innocent bystanders. Since you'll be using water on the walls, make sure you put painter's tape over the outlets (leave the cover on) and lay a painting tarp over the floor. Use painter's tape to secure it to the top of your trim to protect that from the water as well. Once you have the wall's basically done, remove the outlet cover and take care of the tiny pieces behind it.

Step 2: Time to Pry
There is an outer layer (the texture you feel or see of the wallpaper) and an adhesive layer that is secured to the wall. Grab yourself a scraper or putty knife and find an edge; it's as simple as that. Peel as much as you can with prying it and scraping it off the wall. (Fingers crossed it comes off in big pieces!)

Step 3: Score
To help make the removal process easier, you’ll need to apply a hot water solution to the paper to reactivate the adhesive and allow it to come off of the wall. Some types of wallpaper may even repel water (this is why we try to pry the top layer off first). A scoring tool will slightly perforate the outer layer of wallpaper, allowing the hot water solution to penetrate the adhesive and help it loosen itself from the wall.
Tip: Don't apply too much pressure when using the scoring tool. It isn't necessary for it to work and you also risk damaging the wall underneath.

Step 4: Hydrate (the paper)
Once you feel you've sufficiently scored the wall, it's time to use your hot water solution. These are two combos that work best:

  • 1/4 fabric softener to 3/4 hot water, or
  • 1/3 household vinegar to 2/3 hot water

Whichever solution works best for you, just make sure the water is hot, hot, hot. Put the solution into a spray bottle and soak the wall.

Step 5: Back to Scraping
After you've wet the wall, wait two to three minutes to allow the solution to re-activate the adhesive. Then grab your trusty scraper and get to it!

Step 6: Remove Remaining Adhesive (if applicable)
If you notice some remaining adhesive on the wall after you've peeled everything off, remove it by going over the walls one more time with the hot water solution and scraper.(Make sure to re-cover your floors, trim, and electrical outlets if you've already removed the tarp and tape!)

Photo: HGTV

Peel and Stick Wallpaper

It's the wallpaper of the future! You can usually install peel and stick wallpaper in minutes and remove it in seconds. 

Step 1: Determine how much wallpaper you need

Step 2: Remove all electrical outlet covers. (Be safe and turn off power first.) Use a sponge or cloth and a gentle cleanser to remove dirt and dust from walls, and allow them to fully dry before proceeding.
Tip: If walls are newly painted, wait a minimum of three days before applying peel and stick wallpaper.

Step 3: Starting from the left side of your wall, use a tape measure to mark the wall lightly on the right with a pencil to show the width of your wallpaper. Put your level on this mark and draw a straight, level, vertical line. This is the guide for your first strip.

Step 4: Measure and cut strips of wallpaper with your razor blade to fit the height of the wall. Peel back about 12 inches of the backing on a strip, line up the top of the paper at the ceiling, then slowly peel and stick the paper down the wall.
Tip: If you're working with a pattern that needs to be lined up, take this into account when cutting your strips.

Step 5: Use a plastic smoother to get rid of the air bubbles and create an even look.

Photo: Home Depot Canada

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