HOUSE: Newburgh

Wallpapering the hallway (in progress!).


I’ve been wondering for a while what I should do with my long, skinny hallway. I knew I wanted to use Julia Rothman’s Pieces wallpaper from Hygge & West, and I’d pretty much decided the best application would be at the bottom of the wall, under a chair rail, but it’s taken me forever to get around to actually doing it. (You may remember “wallpaper the hallway” from this to-do list…oh, and this one, too…)

Well, I finally did it today! Here are a few progress shots—please excuse the quality, it’s a tough space to photograph, and the light wasn’t great.


First I sanded off any big lumps and bumps on the wall so the wallpaper would go on smoothly. I own a palm sander and an orbital sander, but my cheap-o Black & Decker Mouse (I have an older, discontinued model) is the one I reach for most often these days. It’s incredibly practical for lightweight sanding jobs and little detailed areas. Recommended. (I know Benita loves hers, too!)

rolled out

A couple of years ago, I saw a spread in a magazine (I want to say it was Dwell, maybe? ETA: It was in LivingEtchere’s the photo!) that showed a living room with Timorous Beasties’ McGegan Rose wallpaper under the chair rail, and the homeowners had hung it horizontally to reduce waste and save money. Since the Pieces wallpaper is non-directional, Evan suggested that we do the same thing. Great idea!

Now, of course, this meant I’d be hanging a 14-foot-long piece of wallpaper. No easy feat, and not one I’d recommend attempting if you’ve never wallpapered before. I’ve had a lot of experience with wallpapering over the past few years, though, so I felt pretty confident.


Brushing the paste onto the full length of the wallpaper took a long time, and I think I probably should have used a paint roller just to make things easier. I had to book it in stages to keep the glue from drying, and the whole ordeal was just kind of a pain. Evan helped me get it roughly positioned on the wall, and then I spent the next hour squeegeeing out the bubbles, rolling down the seam, trimming the edges, and wiping off the glue. The thing about wallpapering that always surprises me is how hectic and stressful it is, but it’s all over and done so quickly. It’s very satisfying. Sometimes I like to pretend I’m a surgeon when I’m wallpapering. (Excuse me, I’m a little tired…)

wallpaper detail

Here’s a little sneak peek of the hung wallpaper. We still have to buy, install, and paint the wood for the chair rail that will run along the top. Hopefully tomorrow!

To be continued…

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  • Reply Deborah December 27, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    I am so impressed! And that wallpaper is absolutely beautiful.

  • Reply RebeccaNYC December 27, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    I am in love with this wallpaper. so pretty! And what a good idea to hang it that way. I might be copying you.

  • Reply maria December 27, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    seriously. you are so good. can’t wait to see more.

  • Reply carol December 27, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    love, LOVE the idea of hanging it that way. no seams along the whole stretch- very effective especially with this type of modern design.
    it will inject instant style to your hallway- I’m inspired…

  • Reply Erica December 27, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Looks great! I love wallpaper. I recently heard that it’s called “railroading” or “railwaying” or something about the railroad when you run paper lengthwise like that. Are you planning to do anything above the chair rail or leave the wall as is? Your silvery wallpaper reminds me of a snowflake under a microscope on a day like today.

    • Anna @ D16 December 28, 2010 at 10:10 am

      I’m leaving the rest of the wall white.

  • Reply kay* December 27, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    i’m with everyone else – what a brilliant idea to hang it horizontally! the fact that you have no seams makes the whole thing worth it i think! so awesome.

  • Reply Sarah B December 27, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Hi Anna, that’s looking great. Do you know I’ve never heard of a chair rail before- we have picture rails so I assume it’s a lower version of that? I’ll look forward to seeing the results 🙂

    • Anna @ D16 December 27, 2010 at 8:21 pm

      A chair rail is usually much wider than a picture rail, and its function is literally to prevent chair backs from damaging walls. In Victorian homes they’re typically above a length of decorative paneling (wainscoting), though sometimes it’s just the rail. Here’s a classic example:

  • Reply Sue December 27, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Another idea to stow away for the future. Love it and can’t wait to see the finished product.

  • Reply jenni dipasquale December 27, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    LOVE LOVE. Thanks for the photos!

  • Reply nancy December 27, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    love it when my wishes get granted. 🙂

    it looks great and i love that wallpaper. i love to see your works in progress because it reminds me that most things in life worth having are going to be a labor of love. we’re moving back into our tiny apartment in the bronx, with two kids, and there’s a bunch of projects we have to/want to get done. it all feels overwhelming until i remember– one thing at a time, and it’ll get done eventually.

  • Reply Adam December 27, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    That paper looks beautiful! I can;t wait to see it once the chair rail is up!

  • Reply Leah December 27, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    i love the wallpaper & can’t wait to see the results! i like the idea of putting wallpaper below a chair rail instead of above; might be something i try in the future. we’ve recently hung wallpaper in two different rooms & i’m impressed you could work with such a long piece & get it right!

  • Reply Lisa December 27, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    And you couldn’t have it done in time for our visit because . . . It looks wonderful!

    • Anna @ D16 December 27, 2010 at 9:53 pm

      You’re right, Lisa, I really should have made time to HANG WALLPAPER at 3:40am on Christmas Eve in time for you guys!! How thoughtless of me. 😉

      p.s. I have lots left over if Emma wants me to wallpaper something in her room!

    • Dan @ Manhattan Nest December 28, 2010 at 2:28 am

      wallpaper something in MY room! Anything, I don’t even care.

  • Reply Arlie December 28, 2010 at 12:43 am

    this looks amazing!

  • Reply frannie December 28, 2010 at 12:51 am

    it looks great but looks soooo stressful to attempt! fab idea to hang it on it’s side.

    (ps: happy christmas xx)

  • Reply Jacqui Bee December 28, 2010 at 1:15 am

    I love the wall paper. It reminds me of this…
    I went to school here a few years ago. By the way Happy New Year

  • Reply Dan @ Manhattan Nest December 28, 2010 at 2:30 am

    OH MY OH MY the wallpaper’s happening!! I’m so excited! The teaser shot looks fantastic… and yes, completely brilliant to hang it sideways. GO YOU RAHRAHRAH!

  • Reply Brismod December 28, 2010 at 4:37 am

    Love the choice of wallpaper. Looking forward to seeing the rest. x

  • Reply the brick house December 28, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Oh, very nice. I love that wallpaper, but have been such a wuss about installing any. I don’t think I can (maybe a closet). I live vicariously through your more architecturally interesting house and loooong hallway. Can’t wait to see it done!

    • Anna @ D16 December 28, 2010 at 12:36 pm

      Oh, trust me, you can install wallpaper. It’s not the big deal people make it out to be.

      Do the inside of a closet (though I think that’s probably the hardest thing to wallpaper—three inside corners AND and doorway!), and then you’ll see…it’s addictive!

  • Reply mopar December 28, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Very interesting. I predict 2011 will be the year of wallpapering for me. (So, then, realistically at our current rate of progress, that would mean 2012.)

    So I have a question. Why does the sanding part look so CLEAN? Is this an “artist’s conceptual rendering”? Whenever we sand we cover the floors with that heavy paper and dust gets everywhere and it’s a huge mess.

    Are we doing something wrong? Do you have a vacuum thing-y for your sanders?


    • Anna @ D16 December 28, 2010 at 12:39 pm

      Hahaha, no, I didn’t retouch anything in these photos! I did vacuum after I sanded, though. Really well. And it wasn’t a crazy sanding job or anything, it’s was pretty light-duty.

      I’m pretty meticulous about vacuuming when I sand anything. I’ll stop, clean up, then resume. It gets too crazy otherwise!

  • Reply Kotilo December 28, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Pretty indeed.

  • Reply Steve December 28, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    I own several different kinds of sanders, but the little Mouse seems the most effective for just about everything except large floor areas.
    However, the nerves of my hand and arm feel a little wierd after holding one for 15 minutes or so…

  • Reply Daria December 28, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    It looks awesome! I wish I could convince my husband to do something similar.

    If you are not done with the chair rail already,my advice is to paint it before installing it, even before cutting it. I did this when my husband installed baseboards and crown molding in our house. I would take each piece of molding (about 12 ft long) and rest it on two chairs or two upside-down buckets, then simply glide a roller with paint from one end to the other. After it’s dry you cut it and install it as usual, and the only painting that’s left are minor touch-ups, instead of doing the whole painting. It saves lots of time and it’s also more precise, since you don’t need to worry about not painting over the wallpaper around the edges.

    • Anna @ D16 December 28, 2010 at 10:12 pm

      Oh, most definitely! I always paint before installing. 🙂

  • Reply Rachel December 28, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    love love love it

  • Reply Fat Cat December 29, 2010 at 3:29 am

    Very beautiful and as always very inspirational ! What amazes me the most though, is how you manage to know exactly which wallpaper to use. There are sooooooo many gorgeous wallpapers out there, how do you make up your mind ? I know I have been wanting to try out wallpaper for years, but I have never managed to make a definitive decision about which one to use…

  • Reply rebecca December 29, 2010 at 11:11 am

    it will be interesting for you to see how this paper functions in different seasons…it reflects the ice outside in winter but i would guess it will feel cool and calm in summer. perfect. does it get any natural light reflecting off of it?

    • Anna @ D16 December 29, 2010 at 11:28 am

      Not really, unfortunately. The hallway is very dark. Eventually we’d like to install light tubes through to the attic, but that’s a ways off.

  • Reply stephanie December 29, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    I’ve liked a similar wallpaper for awhile now:

  • Reply Jane December 31, 2010 at 7:08 am

    It looks beautiful. I’m moving house in the spring and you’ve inspired me.

    Could I ask a wallpapering question please? I’ve only papered once – a section about 2 metres wide covering a replastered wall – and I thought it would easier to paste the wall and then hang the dry paper on to it. It seemed to work fine but apparently its bad to paste the wall and not the paper – is there a reason for this? Does the paper need to absorb the moisture of the paste to strectch before hanging?

    • Anna @ D16 December 31, 2010 at 10:50 am

      There are some newer wallpapers that allow you to apply the paste to the wall with a roller (all of Ferm Living’s wallpapers are now made that way, for example), but for the most part, the paste must be applied to the paper — then the paper should be folded onto itself (“booking”) and allowed to sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the glue to penetrate the fibers of the paper. Otherwise you could have issues with gaps forming between rows of wallpaper as it dries. If everything worked out fine for you, great! It’s possible that the moisture in the air when you were papering was enough to compensate.

      As a general rule, though, unless the instructions specifically say that the wallpaper is the kind that doesn’t need to be “booked”, then you should not apply the glue to the wall.

  • Reply heather January 30, 2011 at 11:26 am

    It is stressful!

    I helped a friend wallpaper last weekend and for the 5 minutes that you have wet, crooked, dripping wallpaper dangling – and you’re still standing on the chair while squeeging the bubbles out at the bottom with your head between your ankles… It almost – feels like a sport.

    • Anna @ D16 January 30, 2011 at 11:39 am

      But it’s all over so quickly! 🙂

  • Reply Vintage Simple July 11, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Hey Anna,

    I’m sorry to be asking you a wallpapering question now – I realize this is an old post, but… I really want to wallpaper one wall in our new house’s kitchen and, well. I’m slightly terrified of screwing up my pricey roll of Sanderson wallpaper in the process…

    The thing is, they won’t ship the special paste that they recommend overseas. I’ve looked into maybe making my own paste (out of potato starch, since they recommend something that’s starch-based), but being that I’ve never done any of this before, perhaps I should try getting something pre-mixed? Just, you know – making at least one thing less laborious in my steep learning curve here? Do you know of any sources?

    And would simply priming with regular primer be enough prep for the wall in question (it’s in pretty good shape for an old house)…or do I have to apply a special primer and lining paper? (Please say no. Good God.) But okay, if you must, I can handle the truth. (sort of.)

    If you’ve already posted a tutorial, feel free to point me in the right direction. Any help or tips will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks and best to you, Evan and the pups. And congrats on the 5-yr anniversary of the house – you guys have done an amazing job


    • Anna @ D16 July 12, 2011 at 9:57 am

      Hi Maria! I’m far from being a wallpapering expert, so I’m afraid I’m probably not the right person to ask. I have absolutely no idea if the wallpaper paste I’ve been using is starch-based! I don’t even know the brand, but I’m pretty sure I bought it at Lowe’s. It’s a giant tub that’s lasted a long time. Beyond that…I really don’t know. You’re probably better off seeking out a wallpapering forum on a DIY site and asking a pro if you’re concerned about the makeup of the paste (though I just Googled “starch wallpaper paste” and got a lot of results for recipes, so I guess that’s a thing that people do!).

      I didn’t use lining paper before putting up any of the wallpaper in my house, but I did use wallpaper primer. I also spent a decent amount of time making sure the walls were totally smooth first, since every little detail WILL show through the paper (or potentially make a hole in the paper if the blemish is sharp/rough at all).

      I’m sorry! This probably isn’t very helpful! Like I said, though, I’m in no way a pro, so I can only tell you about my own (limited) experiences in my own home.

  • Reply Vintage Simple July 12, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Thanks, Anna! I do appreciate that you got back with me – and so quickly, too! I had a feeling I was going to have to make my own paste… Ah, those Brits! 😉

    Anyway, thanks again – I do appreciate all the tips you give here in general and love spending time at your space.


  • Reply Essa Bella August 25, 2016 at 5:27 am

    Looks great. A new idea of wallpapering. It is very interesting.

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