Whether you have pre-primed walls or the wallpaper is glued directly to the wallboard, I have the easiest and best-looking ways to get rid of wallpaper! Save yourself time and a headache with my tips to get rid of wallpaper.

2 Ways to Get Rid of WallpaperHow to Get Rid of Wallpaper (Remove It or Paint It)

Having owned two houses built in the 70’s, I’ve dealt with my fair share of wallpaper!

Did you know there are really only two types of wallpaper when it comes to getting rid of it?

  1. The Easy to Remove Kind
  2. The Pain in the A$$ (what idiot didn’t prime the drywall—oh screw it let’s just replace the drywall) Kind

I’ve dealt with both kinds and am happy to share with you the easiest way to get rid of both! Yes, even if the wallpaper is glued to the drywall (no primer between the two). Grrrr!

In a perfect world, we’d all be dealing with removable wallpaper. Unfortunately, removable paper is a relatively new invention. Back in the day, it was either pre-pasted wallpaper or unpasted wallpaper where you had to apply the glue first.

Today I’ll go over two easy proven techniques for getting rid of wallpaper permanently!

How to Strip Wallpaper:

You don’t need a steamer to strip wallpaper. And you don’t have to buy chemical strippers. All you need are a few things, most of them you can find in your house.


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Let’s go over the easiest way to remove wallpaper. Always test this removal process in an inconspicuous corner first. If the wallpaper doesn’t come off easily, skip down to How to Paint Over Wallpaper tips below.

How to Remove Wallpaper:

This is the easiest way to remove wallpaper and it won’t cost you a lot of money buying a steamer or other tools. You’ll definitely need a scorer though.

  1. Use a scoring tool to perforate the wallpaper with lots of tiny holes.
  2. Fill a spray bottle halfway with cheap liquid fabric softener. Fill the other half with warm water.
  3. Spray the wallpaper with the fabric softener mixture until it’s saturated.
  4. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
  5. Saturate the wallpaper again with the fabric softener mixture.
  6. Let it sit another 10-15 minutes.
  7. Use a flat drywall knife or scraper to gently pull up a corner or seam.
  8. Pull the wallpaper off the wall.

You can watch how exactly I remove wallpaper in this video:

Preparing Previously Wallpapered Wall for Painting:

It is imperative that you remove all the wallpaper pieces and any glue residue from the wall before painting. Here are the steps to properly prep your wall for painting:

How to Install a Tile Backsplash (Tile setting) | Pretty Handy Girl

  1. Fill your spray bottle with 1 part warm water and 1 part liquid fabric softener.
  2. Spray the mixture on the walls.
  3. Use a sponge saturated in the mixture to wash the walls and scrub off any pieces of wallpaper remaining.
  4. Fill a bucket with clean water. Dip your sponge in the water.
  5. Scrub the wall to remove any remaining fabric softener or residue with a clean sponge dipped in water. Refill the bucket with clean water often.
  6. Allow the walls to dry. Fill in any holes or dings with joint compound or (my favorite) Patch Plus Primer. Allow to dry.
  7. Then lightly sand with a fine-grit sandpaper. This will smooth any imperfections and leave you with a smooth and clean wall.
  8. Prime the walls before painting.

How to Paint Over Wallpaper Effectively:

If you’re reading this section, first let me say, I’m sorry you have the pain-in-the-a$$ kind of wallpaper. Rest assured, there is a solution and it’s not as bad as you think. You can paint over your wallpaper after you prep it properly.

How to Patch a Hole in Drywall | Pretty Handy Girl

  1. Make sure to glue down any seams or areas that are peeling up (you can use any thin glue, even school glue if you like.)
  2. Use joint compound to cover all the seams (don’t use drywall tape).
  3. Let the joint compound dry, then sand smooth to eliminate any appearance of the seams.
  4. Prime the wallpaper and the joint compound before painting.
  5. Paint to your heart’s content and no one will ever know you had wallpaper underneath.

I know some people are horrified at the idea of painting over wallpaper, but I assure you we’ve painted over wallpaper in several rooms in our house because the wallpaper was glued directly to the drywall. We have had no issues and you can’t see any seams. It’s been almost 15 years and they are still holding up fine.

So, let this be the day where you finally decide to get rid of that wallpaper once and for all! Whether you are successful at stripping wallpaper, or you have to seal the seams and paint it, you can say goodbye to that old, garish wallpaper once and for all!

Let’s hear from you, what’s the ugliest wallpaper you have or had to remove? I’m all ears (thankfully not eyes).

Today you have been invited to take a house tour at my friend Holly’s home. Holly is a good friend of mine, so luckily I didn’t have to beg too much for her to let us into her home. But, before we go in I want to tell you a little more about her. She wears many hats. She is a wife and mother of two boys first and foremost. But, she also runs Storywood Designs, a furniture refinishing business and Framed by Storywood, her Etsy Shop. She has a wonderful eye for color and design (which is evident in her furniture pieces and home décor.) When I first walked into her home, I knew I could live there and not have to change a thing.

Holly and her husband bought their 1980 home a few years ago. There were plenty of touches from previous owners that she worked with or covered in a creative way. I scanned the real estate flyer (sorry about the quality) to give you an idea what their house looked like when they bought it. The changes they made are phenomenal and yet they didn’t break the bank to do it.

Are you ready for the tour? Wipe your feet and come on it. Do you like the initial on her door?

She sells them in her Etsy shop!

Here we are in the living room, but this is what the room looked like a mere 3 yrs. ago:

And here is the living room today!

I know armoires are starting to go out of style, but this one is gorgeous with the cut out panels! If she ever tries to get rid of it, I’m grabbing it!

They painted the fireplace white and it really brightens up the room. See, I can appreciate a painted white fireplace, even though I repainted ours to look like brick.

I love all her fall décor. Especially the lit pumpkins on the hearth.

Beside the fireplace are sweet built-in cupboards and cabinets with wood countertops. It adds charm to the small niche.

Now we make our way into her kitchen  — my favorite room and the most stunning transformation. This was the kitchen before:

Get ready to catch your jaw before it hits the floor.

The pendant light adds lots of warmth and texture to the space.

Adding corbels under the upper cabinets was a genius idea for adding instant charm. I am itching to do the same thing to our kitchen cabinets. When I do, you can be sure I’ll share a tutorial.

Holly and her husband made the kitchen table. The wood was whistling for my attention the entire time I was photographing the kitchen. And with lines like this, how could I help but stare?

By removing many of the upper cabinet doors they made the kitchen feel larger and more airy.

Did you see those little decorative tiles? Would you believe that they had hideous country scenes before. Holly simply painted over the scenes and added a stencil! What a smart idea!

Just in case you wondered (because I definitely wanted to know), the base cabinets got a coat of white sage paint by Olympic. (Holly says that Olympic discontinued the color so Lowe’s had to custom mix it in their kitchen and bath enamel paint.) The top cabinets and walls are painted Benjamin Moore Lancaster White.

Setting out a little lamp adds some warmth to this corner of the kitchen.

The breakfast area has built-in benchs on two sides. The pillows make the space feel cozy.

One of Holly’s frames turned into a chalkboard:

Okay, right this way to the dining room.

I really want to display my blue and white china like she has done on this wall.

Adjacent to the dining room is her sitting room. Here is the before picture of that room:

She and I (well mostly Holly) just repainted the room a very neutral gray. I can’t believe what a big difference it made.

The china cabinet is a recent refinishing project that Holly just completed. The distressing on this piece is perfect!

Check out those layers of paint and glaze. Scrumptious!

And the bowed front and curved glass make this cabinet unique.

Speaking of distressing, here is another one of Holly’s tables that she refinished. This little table would make a perfect breakfast table or just a side table. It is for sale right now!

I’m jealous of her talent. Maybe I can convince her to take me as her understudy.

Thank you Holly and family for letting us tour your home. Your hard work really shows in your beautiful home.

Last week I started to give my boys’ bathroom a facelift. The room was…well…a little fishy.

Removing Wallpaper Borders

Complete with fishy wallpaper border…

Removing Wallpaper Borders

And a fishy toilet seat!

Removing Wallpaper Borders

The room was cute and I didn’t mind it so much. But, the border had started to peel. And the toilet seat was rusting. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT buy any cheap toilet seats that have metal hinges. They may look cool, but the nature of moisture collecting around the toilet makes them rust in no time. This was our third seat to do this. Why I didn’t learn after the second? I’m optimistic by nature I guess.

Anyway, I had wanted to help this bathroom grow up a little. And I’d been anxious to try another moulding project after doing my son’s closet last year.

Before delving into the wonderful world of mouldings, I had to remove that wallpaper border. When wallpaper starts to peel, you think, “Oh cool! That means it will be easy to remove.” So you start picking and tearing at it. Well, resist the urge, it is just a funny joke wallpaper likes to play. You really need to be well stocked and prepared with the appropriate supplies for stripping wallpaper.

Removing Wallpaper Borders Materials:

Removing Wallpaper Borders

Wallpaper stripper (DIF or a cheaper alternative is to use 1:1 concentration of cheap pink fabric softener and water)

  • Scoring tool (aka Paper Tiger)
  • Scraper or spackle knife
  • Spray bottle
  • Lots and lots of rags
  • Sponge
  • Bucket of water

Removing Wallpaper Borders Instructions:

Start by using the scoring tool. Make lots and lots of holes until you just can’t lift your arm anymore.

Removing Wallpaper Borders

The more holes the easier it will be for the stripper to soak into the wallpaper glue.

Removing Wallpaper Borders

Spray on the wallpaper stripper and let it sit for 15 minutes.

Removing Wallpaper Borders

Repeat spraying the wallpaper (really soak it), and then gently try to slide your scraper behind the edge of the wallpaper.

Removing Wallpaper Borders

If you can remove the whole strip easily, go for it. In true stubborn form, my border was hanging onto the walls with a death grip. So, I sprayed more stripper behind the border and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. (Please ignore the giant gaping hole in the drywall! I patched it later.)

Removing Wallpaper Borders

Hopefully by now, it has loosened it’s grip.

Removing Wallpaper Borders

Gently pull the strip off while using the knife to help separate the border from the wall.

Removing Wallpaper Borders

Remove any pieces that are left behind.

Removing Wallpaper Borders

Spray down the walls again with the stripper.

Removing Wallpaper Borders

Wipe it off with water and a sponge or rag.

Removing Wallpaper Borders
This should get rid of all the wallpaper glue residue. But, it is still a good idea to use a primer on walls that previously had wallpaper on them. This will protect your paint job from doing something alien like bubbling up, flaking or who knows what!

Removing Wallpaper Borders If you follow me on Facebook, you were privy to my post over at Parentables. I gave them a special all accesses pass to my brain on a recent trip to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore on THIS day.

Removing Wallpaper Borders

You can view this and more transformations over there! Be sure to leave me a comment. It seems those Parentables readers are a bit more shy than y’all!

And, one last note. I finally delivered my promised Pretty Handy Girl in a box to Cheri (pronounced like Sherry), who writes Dragonfliez Creationz. She is such a sweet person and she didn’t even complain that it took me a month to deliver her box. Cheri and I like the same burritos from Tijuana Flats (thanks to Courtney for introducing me to this Raleigh gem.) But, unlike me, Cheri has a tough side too (luckily I didn’t get to see it.) She’s giving me assertiveness training because I’m too nice.

Removing Wallpaper Borders

That’s all for today. See you next week with some more bathroom updates.

Removing Wallpaper Borders