Monica Wants It: A Lifestyle Blog

Monday, March 30, 2015

How to Put Up Wallpaper & Not Lose Your Mind

I know most of us that have bought fixer uppers end up having to remove wallpaper, but sometimes adding wallpaper is a great way to revamp a space and deal with pesky textured walls.

Wallpaper is a good choice for a small space such as a bathroom because it’s less wall space to cover so it’ll be a quick makeover.

Today I’ll walk you through some basics of using pre-pasted wallpaper to modernize a space—I’m using it to update my tiny guest bathroom. I ordered the majority of the supplies needed from my local True Value—the products worked well, were easy to use and very affordable.

Supplies:

-Pre-pasted wallpaper (textured wallpaper is great for uneven walls or heavily texture walls—I chose a faux grasscloth)

-Utility knife with plenty of blades

-Sponge

-Seam roller

-Wallpaper smoother

-Wallpaper prep tray

-Zinsser primer

-Straight edge tool

-Paint roller (I always use Purdy roller covers)

-Tube of wallpaper paste/seam repairer

Step 1: Prime your walls.

You’ll want to prime your walls so your wallpaper has a good clean surface to stick to. This is a step you won’t want to skip, trust me.

Step 2: Measure your walls.

 Putting wallpaper on your walls doesn't have to be intimidating. This post makes wallpaper application approachable and manageable!

I am not putting wallpaper all the way from ceiling to floor—I’m only wallpapering about 1/3 of the way so I can do a board and batten treatment. I measured how long my wallpaper would be from the ceiling to the point where I wanted my board and batten to start. Add about 4-inches to that measurement to allow for trimming. I pre-cut all my strips, BUT if you do this make sure your walls don’t have any high points that would require a longer length. I usually take measurements at 3 points on the wall to ensure it all works.

Step 3: Wet the wallpaper.

You can either use a wallpaper prep tray OR use a shower wand and a bathtub. Since I was in my bathroom working already, I opted for the latter. You have to essentially drench the backside of the wallpaper for it to activate the paste.

Then, it’s time to let the wallpaper “book” by folding the ends onto itself like this:

Putting wallpaper on your walls doesn't have to be intimidating. This post makes wallpaper application approachable and manageable, plus it's an easy way to class-up small spaces!

Your wallpaper roll will tell you how long to let it book—for mine it said 10 minutes. Another wallpaper I used last year took 15.

Step 4: Apply your first strip of wallpaper.

I always start at the spot that is most un-noticeable or hidden. By the time you perfect your technique, you’ll be at the spot that’s most visible.

You can use your straight edge or a level as guide, or you can eyeball it. If you have a geometric/striped pattern, I’d do a chalk line to ensure it’s 100% straight or else your pattern will end up crooked at some point. For my wallpaper, I just eyeballed it.

Unbook one half of your wallpaper and smooth it onto the wall making sure to leave about 1-2” of excess  (the bottom half should still be folded in):

Putting wallpaper on your walls doesn't have to be intimidating. This post makes wallpaper application approachable and manageable, plus it's an easy way to class-up small spaces!

Once your wallpaper is on the wall, move it into place making sure you do not stress the paper out by stretching it a lot—it WILL shrink when it dries, so if it’s totally out of place remove it from the wall and try again. When the wallpaper is wet, you have a long time to work with it…but don’t stretch the paper! Trust me on this, folks!

Once you have the top half in place perfectly, unfold the bottom and smooth it out. I use the sponge to soak up all the excess glue and water followed by a few strokes with the wallpaper smoother. Make sure when you use the wallpaper smoother, you don’t move around your wallpaper. Smooth out air bubbles to the nearest edge to let the air escape.

Putting wallpaper on your walls doesn't have to be intimidating. This post makes wallpaper application approachable and manageable, plus it's an easy way to class-up small spaces!

Step 5: Seams, corners and obstacles.

When you’re putting up wallpaper, your seams should butt up together and NOT overlap. A seam roller helps make seams less noticeable, but seams are just a natural part of wallpaper, especially grasscloth.

Corners are a little tricky, especially if your corners aren’t perfectly square/90-degrees (mine are more rounded, oddly enough). Here’s where your edges will overlap a bit by a ¼ inch or so, and you’ll need to use a bead of wallpaper paste to glue the edge down.

Light switches may seem intimidating, but they’re fairly easy with some relief cuts:

Putting wallpaper on your walls doesn't have to be intimidating. This post makes wallpaper application approachable and manageable, plus it's an easy way to class-up small spaces!

Now that I have my X-cut on my light switch area, I can use scissors to trim off the 4 triangles I created. Once the wallpaper is dry, I put the plate cover on, and I’m back in business.

Around things such as door casing or windows, I use my straight edge butted up against the casing to form a straight line for my utility knife to cut off the excess. This is also what I do when trimming the excess wallpaper at the ceiling. Cutting wallpaper will dull your blade quickly—I only use a blade for about 3-4 cuts before switching it out. Seems excessive, but it’s a small price to pay—dull blades can tear your wallpaper and undo all your hard work. Sharp blades are the best.

Overall, putting up wallpaper isn’t nearly as tedious as you might think as long as you have patience and a free afternoon. It’s a rewarding way to add pizazz, color and texture to your walls in a way simple interior paint can’t accomplish.

I still have to do to the board and batten and replace the doors and mirror, but for now here’s a sneak peek:

Putting wallpaper on your walls doesn't have to be intimidating. This post makes wallpaper application approachable and manageable, plus it's an easy way to class-up small spaces!

Since we’re replacing the doorjamb, I went ahead and popped off the old door casing, as seen above.

I’m carrying the board and batten moldings all around, and I think the bathroom will have a simple, bright, beachy vibe. The grasscloth wallpaper reminds me of some of my favorite hotels in the Gulf Coast region where I live.

Putting wallpaper on your walls doesn't have to be intimidating. This post makes wallpaper application approachable and manageable, plus it's an easy way to class-up small spaces!

Wallpaper doesn’t have to be so 1980’s when you use it in a fresh, modern and simple way. If you have any questions, or need some advice, feel free to drop them in the comments section!

I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Gold & White Console Table Furniture Makeover

I’ve really gotten into a groove on working on projects for my new home office. I’ve really tried hard to not buy anything new—I’m forcing myself to revamp furniture I’ve had that maybe needs a second life. One of my many new year’s resolutions is to buy less, spend less.

We’ve had this $98 console table from Walmart since about 2008 when we were still living in the apartment. It served us well there, but it has never quite fit in here in the house. So, with my husband’s blessing and a healthy dose of cynicism on his part that this idea would not turn out well, I got to work.

I got a little overzealous and forgot to take a true before pic, so here’s as close as it gets (drawers have already been removed):

A dated cherry console table gets made over into a glam white and gold office table. Check out the details at monicawantsit.com

I won’t do a full run down on how I painted the piece because there are plenty of awesome tutorials already out there, but I’ll give you the highlights:

-Lightly sanded the console table to get the varnish off

-Primed console table and drawers with my favorite primer: Zinsser’s Spray Paint Primer

-Spray painted 3 coats using Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch Gloss White Spray Paint (6-Pack) 249090

-Used my most favorite gold spray paint from True Value on the drawers  (3 coats)

-Used polycrylic in a gloss finish to seal the console table

-Used a spray paint gloss sealer to seal in the gold on the drawers

And I was done! Because I wanted to do this right and not have any issues, this was a two weekend project. I love the way it all turned out and I took an extraordinary amount of photos to show it off.

Here she is all moved into the new office space (wall color: Sherwin Williams, Peppercorn)

A dated cherry console table gets made over into a glam white and gold office table. Check out the details at monicawantsit.com

And here she is with all her accessories! I’ll list product sources under the photos. :)

Curated accessories in varying colors and patterns really make this office space unique and glamorous.

Canister  |  Letter Holder  |  Similar Knobs (Mine were clearance from Target 3 years ago)

A dated cherry console table gets made over into a glam white and gold office table. Check out the details at monicawantsit.com  

Lamp & Shade: Target clearance circa 2008  |  Mirror: Thrifted ($8)

Inexpensive accessories can help make a statement when paired together. Get more ideas at monicawantsit.com

Paper Clips: Nate Berkus @ Target  |  Pens & Pencils: $1 Spot @ Michael’s

Business meets glamour in this stylish home office with chic accents, fun colors and lots of glam.

Box, Globe & Candles: Home Goods  | Biz Cards: Zazzle  | Biz Card Holder: Office Max

Lining drawers with contact paper is an inexpensive way to make furniture look more high end and beautiful.

I decided to line the drawers with damask contact paper I bought at Target for $6. Best. Decision. Ever. Super time consuming, but it brings me joy every time I open a drawer. Swoon!

Black and white damask contact paper really pops in this gold and white console table makeover. Anything looks chic against this backdrop.

Zebra Dish: Francesca’s  |  Earrings: Charming Charlie

Black and white damask contact paper really pops in this gold and white console table makeover. Anything looks chic against this backdrop.

Some simple acrylic trays from Dollar Tree keep my random craft supplies organized.

Armillary spheres add a bold, classic and timeless look to any space. This one from World Market is a beautiful accessory in Monica Wants It's home office makeover.

This armillary sphere from World Market is one of my fave things in this room.

Organization can be functional and beautiful. Magazine holders by Nate Berkus for Target.

Magazine Holders: You can’t tell in this pic, but in addition to the lining and plate being gold, there are gold threads in the fabric, too.

Curated accessories in varying colors and patterns really make this office space unique and glamorous.

^If you look closely at the pic above, you can see a preview of another DIY tutorial (hint: look in the mirror!)

I love it. I truly do, and I am usually not a huge fan of painting furniture, but I think I did a  great job on this piece and it was worth the work. It provides ample storage for stuff I need as well as decor pieces I want to display.

The gallery wall behind it is a bit of a work in progress. I’m really loving that mirror there though—with the lamp on I feel it bounces a TON of light. At night, it feels a bit glam when I am working. It’s truly my happy space. I wish my 8-5 pm office was this nice! A girl can dream.

Right in front of my white and gold console table is my white and gold faux bois sawhorse desk, which was also a DIY painting project. Here’s a sneak peek for now…you’ll have to stay tuned to see the full reveal and tutorial.

Check out this gold and white office from Monica Wants It-- she features lots of affordable DIY ideas.

And here’s one more for good measure. Ya know I love y’all, right? This is the wall to the left of the desk and console—natural light beams in during the day. It makes me feel energized and full of hope when I can see the beautiful sunshine as I work. The florals help bring in pattern, color and some girly glam into the space. If you didn’t read about my curtain mishap, you can read about it over here.

I think it all worked out for the best and these curtains were MEANT for this makeover.

These drapes make a bold statement in a black, white and gold office makeover via Monica Wants It.

What do you all think? Are you liking how it’s all coming together?

I wish I could have you all over for drinks in my new digs. Champagne, anyone?

xoxo,

M

Friday, February 20, 2015

Striped Curtain DIY Fail: Blogger Confessions

I think sometimes us DIY bloggers make everything look easy. We whip rooms together in a weekend, we post happy progress photos and reveals with pride.

But there’s a dark side to DIY. <insert dramatic music here> There’s the DIY fails we never publish on our blogs and we bury deep inside in our chest of shame.

So I’m sharing one today to keep it real.

I’ve been DYING for black and white striped curtains for my home office makeover. The only ones I’ve found online were on Overstock and they’re now sold out (please come back in stock, I beg!)

Striped-Dupioni-Grommet-Top-Blackout-Curtain-Panel-Pair-f87b584e-f5e0-4e22-9ed8-d5702ce78af5_600

There’s also custom sewn curtain options on Etsy that are SO expensive.

I did what any DIY blogger would do…went on Pinterest, read a bunch of tutorials to come up with a tutorial that was right for me.

And I FAILED.

There are plenty of bloggers that have done this and succeeded, and I think I went wrong in using the very thin Vivan curtains from IKEA. They’re essentially paper. I also used Mod Podge on the painters tape edges to “seal” in the edges so paint wouldn’t seep under (a Pinterest tip that proved to be a not so good idea). This was also a bad idea because the black paint didn’t really take on the fabric that had Mod Podge on them.

Paint bled through the tape. I needed to buy way more black paint and textile medium than I could have imagined. The paper I put under the curtains to keep paint off my table STUCK TO THE CURTAINS. It took FOREVER to dry. Curtains felt crunchy.

Hot. Mess.

See for yourself:

IMG_3493

At a quick glance, you’re like, those look fab! Then you look closer and you see the splotchy edges from the Mod Podge, the dabs of paint that got through the tape.

I wasted about 4 hours and $20 on this one panel, and in the end I ended up throwing it all away.

So, back to the drawing board on striped black and white curtains. If you see any, help a girl out, k?

I decided that although my home office vision includes lots of black/white stripes with gold polka dots, a bold floral would add a chic, bright, feminine pattern that would liven up the space. Here’s a sneak peek:

Monica Wants It: Home Office Makeover Sneak Peek

Still can’t help but to lust over striped curtains. Sigh! I’ll be posting a lot about my home office in the next few weeks because I have a two major furniture makeovers, DIY artwork, plus some fun staging advice I want to share with you all.

My latest post for True Value is up on their blog and it showcases the black, white and gold gallery wall I created for my foyer. Here’s a preview and to see the rest, head over to the True Value DIY Squad Blog!

_DSC4509

Be back soon, xoxo!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Week 2-3: Monica Wants Fit Check-In

Ugh. 2015 is KICKING MY BUTT.

In 2015, so far this is what’s happened:

  • We had to have our septic tank pumped again at the cost of $400 (second time in <6 months)
  • Pee Wee had a poop accident and the Roomba deployed. Crappy situation- literally.
  • The back-up camera in our vehicle went out, and then started working again (for now)
  • Got really bad news at work
  • We’ve had only 5 days of sunshine
  • I haven’t exercised since January 4
  • I have a terrible cold right now

And that’s not even the worst part. It is with a super heavy heart that I tell you all that my mom’s dog Elmo passed away last Monday. That’s why I didn’t post—it just felt wrong. My mom spent the 3-day weekend here with us in Beeville, and she’s hanging in there, but it’s always such a heartbreaking feeling to lose a pet. He was truly the center of her universe and had been with her through so much. I am happy he’s no longer suffering and going through seizures. I love you forever Elmo.

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 10.38.43 AM

My weight loss report is bleak. During week 2, I lost 1.4. Then during week 3, I gained 1.6.

ARGH.

I meticulously analyzed my calorie consumption from weeks 2 and 3. Week 3 I ate 400 more calories.

Week 2 I ate burgers, beer, and cookies galore while staying under my calories. Week 3 I ate salads, lots of lean protein, and no beer.

What gives? I know this is all just part of the game, and that sometimes this stuff can’t be explained. The last 3-days have been a free for all, so today I am getting back on track…while I’m super sick. I can’t taste much of anything, so perhaps my weekend indulgences will even out.

My challenge is that work is, well work, and I just can’t get the gusto to exercise after a mentally exhausting day. I think I’m going to just try walking a mile a day using my Leslie Sansone DVD. I highly recommend this DVD for those of you who are new to exercising or have a Fitbit and want to get some extra steps in. Each mile I walk earns me around 2K steps on my Fitbit Zip.

My water intake is also sporadic—I have to be very mindful in order to drink enough water. It doesn’t come naturally to me at all whatsoever. The #StopDropandChug hashtag on Instagram helps keep me motivated though. Water is just so boring. I love adding lemons to jazz it up, but I won’t lie…I’m such a Diet Pepsi and Diet Dr. Pepper lover. Oh it’s delicious and awful for me.

Enough of my rambling. With my loss and gain, I’m at a net loss of 4 pounds. My goal is to lose 6 pounds a month, and January isn’t over yet, so I’m going to stay positive and keep on moving forward towards my goal. So happy I didn’t join a DietBet after all. That would have been more stress that I totally don’t need.

This weekend looks like it’ll finally bring sunshine and decent weather so we can finish some of our home projects. Sorry for the lack of DIY lately, but life happens.

What’s happening with all of you? I’ll be back on Thursday with new details about our foyer update!

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