How to Wallpaper Above Wainscot

The laundry room is coming along and I will be finished this week with everything, way faster than I thought it would be. The last thing to be done is hang the light fixture that I ordered and it just went up last night. I’m so excited to share this space with all of you! It’s such a cute space that I dreamed up in my head and then executed step by step. Today I’m going to show you my thought process of how I decided what I was going to do in here.

I shared my current boring beige laundry room with you back in October and shared some great small laundry inspiration pics that I loved. Some of them were larger than mine and some were just closets, but there was a lot of fun laundry rooms in that post and I talked about some of the ideas I was mulling over for my small space. I didn’t find anything that resembled what I wanted to do, but I went forward with my plans anyway and hoped it would all turn out like I envisioned.

I knew I wanted a mix of wallpaper and paint, but it took me awhile to figure it all out. I also was planning to use my beadboard wallpaper as a wainscot treatment topped with trim boards all in white with a colorful wallpaper above. I planned to hang a cabinet over the washer and dryer and paint that wall and the wall coming in the door on the left all the same color.

You can see how tiny this space is. I finally got it all figured out and started pulling all my design ideas together in my head, buying the wallpaper when it went on sale before Christmas and pulling paint colors out of the wallpaper.


My entire laundry room plan hinged on this wallpaper by Caitlin Wilson Design. Called Citron Vert, it was such a colorful paper and I ordered a sample just to be sure I loved it. I did! I couldn’t find another one I liked better so even though this one was $215 a roll, I bought it and hung onto it for a couple months when they had a 15% off sale back before Christmas.

I pulled a deep blue and a pink shade from the wallpaper and ended up with Down Pour and Rosy Outlook from Sherwin Williams as my paint color choices. The rosy pink color would go on the ceiling. So picture white on one side, navy blue on the other, with the colorful floral wallpaper on top of the white tying it all together.

That’s what I’ve been busy doing the last week or so. I decided to paint the wall where the washer and dryer sits the deep blue shade, Down Pour. I first painted the ceiling that Rosy Outlook shade and it’s really pretty. I started with the pink ceiling, then the blue walls, then the beadboard wallpaper, then the floral wallpaper. I’d love to add crown molding in here, but that’s for another day if Mark wants to tackle that one with me.

After the ceiling was painted, I painted that left wall and the small wall where the door is in Down Pour by Sherwin Williams. The next step was adding my beadboard wainscot, so I did that next on that straight ahead wall and the wall to the right. I couldn’t stand the wait, so put up a piece of my floral wallpaper just for fun so I could get an idea of how it was all going to look. I love it!

Here’s the Graham Brown beadboard wallpaper I use (affiliate link):

I’ve blogged about putting up this beadboard wallpaper before but I’ll mention again that it’s prepasted and from Graham Brown, which is out of the UK. They have distribution here in the US and the rolls are $30 each, plus shipping. I used to sell it in a little shop, but since that all slowed down the last few years, I stopped selling it, but many of you bought this wallpaper too and used it for years. I discovered it about 10 years ago. Lowes also has a beadboard wallpaper version. This space of mine took less than a whole roll.

Why I chose beadboard wallpaper instead of the real beadboard panels, some one asked me that? Ease of installation and cost. Less than one roll did my laundry space and real beadboard would have been more. Plus, if you put real beadboard sheets or panels on top of existing baseboard, it just doesn’t work, the panels would hang over the baseboards, so I wanted the ease of wallpaper in this small space and it sits right on top of the baseboards. Wallpapering in here was hard enough, but adding real sheets of beadboard would have been so tight and hard to install. I had to squeeze behind the dryer to get the beadboard up and it was very tight quarters. This project was mine so I did it the easy way! And I didn’t want to have to bug Mark too much, he did have to help with hanging the light and the cabinet.

So, paint on one side and beadboard wainscot on the other side, topped with that beautiful wallpaper. That was my vision and I hoped it would come together like it had in my head.

Just a peek at the beadboard wallpaper process and how I ended it in this corner behind the door and next to the navy paint. I had to cut a sliver of beadboard wallpaper for this corner.

The beadboard got 2 coats of my white trim paint, a semi-gloss pure white rolled on. The seams in the beadboard disappear once painted. You can see them here but this is really close. Painting the beadboard wallpaper makes it look so real! It’s textured and has grooves so it does look real.

I decided I wanted the beadboard to go up about 5′ on the walls and the floral to show almost 3 feet (our ceilings on the second floor where the laundry is are 8′ tall), so I cut all my beadboard strips the same length and just wet them, installed them and moved around the room. This goes really fast, but you need to smooth out the paper as you go and make sure there are no big air bubbles left in the paper. I used a big sponge to smooth it all out and get off the excess glue that oozes out the top and sides. I knew I’d be putting 5 or 6″ molding across the paper so left a gap between the two. This all gets covered in the end.

I cut my floral paper in 33″ strips, not quite 3′. I matched the pattern and kept cutting them until I got all the way around the wall. I had plenty of the floral but not a huge amount left. The roll was a splurge at $185 a roll (with the 15% discount), but definitely worth it for the impact it has in the space. I’ll explain that process a little more below.

A note about this wallpaper. It was pricey and that made me nervous, but I was determined I could hang this wallpaper myself. I’ve done it before and figured I could do it again and it went SO smooth and was easy to install, so just a word of encouragement if you want to try it. The fact that I only used it above the wainscot definitely made it easier and if I was doing a full wall, I’d get a helper. Two people make it much easier.

Tools Needed for Wallpaper

  1. Sponge for wiping down
  2. Utility knife with a sharp tip
  3. A straight edge tool to help cut across the top of the wallpaper against the ceiling.
  4. A square for cutting straight lines on the paper.
  5. Scissors to cut the paper on the roll.

My wallpaper was prepasted, which I was really happy about. All I had to do was soak each piece in the bathtub wetting it well and then letting it sit for 2 or 3 minutes (booking).

Once I had my beadboard wallpaper up at about a 5’height I installed all of that first, let it dry, painted it all 2 coats of white and then started with the floral paper.

I laid out the floral paper, cutting my first piece at 33″ long. Then I laid it to the side, pulling more paper out and finding the repeat on the paper so that I could cut it properly. I left about an inch at the top of the next piece after matching the repeat, so that I could put the paper all the way to the ceiling, matching the repeat and then cutting off the little bit of excess paper with my utility knife for a clean edge on the ceiling.

You can see the square I used above to cut straight lines on the paper.

This paper was really easy to handle and I was very impressed with it. I had no issues at all with it stretching, tearing, or being hard to work with. I wet the back and booked it as the instructions recommended, which means folding the sheet front to back with the glue in the middle. This activates all the glue and gets it ready to go on the wall. Be careful and don’t crease the paper.

I continued on with the floral piece by piece, matching the repeat and cutting off the little excess on the top.

Here’s one of the seams. It looked so good up on the wall, I just love this wallpaper, it is going to create a garden effect in my laundry room. And those birds are just so cute!

And here’s a demo on how after I matched the seam, I wiped down the paper, getting all the bubbles out and smoothed it all out. I went back and took that straight edge tool, pressed it to the ceiling and used the utility knife to cut away the excess piece of paper. I did that last after getting the paper exactly in place and smoothing it out.

It worked like a charm and the paper just pulls away if you’ve cut it cleanly. In the corner, instead of hacking at the paper right in the corner, I cut up to the corner on either side with the utility knife and then used my scissors to cleanly cut straight across and then pushed that back into the corner where it fit perfectly.

You really want to be sure and not cut too much when you’re trimming, especially around doors and windows. That’s the part that I always found challenging. Not cutting too much away when you’re trimming so just go slow. I was glad I decided not to go around the doorway so that was less to deal with and my job went fast and stress free.

Wrapping around the corner, just take it slow and smooth it out as you go making sure the seams still match. Once you match the repeat, take your hand and press down in the corner, pulling the paper into the corner and smoothing it out towards the right side. You need to get it firmly into the corner so it sits smooth and then work the bubbles out to the right side. It doesn’t dry right away so you have plenty of time to move it slightly where you want it to stay. Cutting against the ceiling is easy with the right tools.

Once I had my first piece cut, I kept using the next one as a guide for the next and so on. I kept measuring, matching up the repeat and cutting with a square. You definitely want a square doing this job. Once you have your line marked, just place the square on the paper making sure it lines up with the edge and you’ll always get a straight line. I trimmed off the bottom of each piece after the match point was found and cut using my scissors. There was always excess on the bottom half that I didn’t need (about 5″ or so of waste between repeats), so I just used the square, drew a line and cut that off.

I used 6 strips of floral paper on the walls above the wainscot.

I got around to the far side of the wall and had one little section left to cover. So I cut one more piece, then held it up to the matching seam and marked a little extra to the right side, cutting that all off except for about 1/2″ that I trimmed off in the corner. I used that straight edge tool to press it into the corner and cut it the same way I did the ceiling and it butted up next to the blue paint with a clean line.

And here’s a look at the finish of the wallpaper. It is just what I wanted to make a dramatic statement in this space. The colors are so happy and pretty and these pics don’t even do it justice. I can’t wait to show you the finished space. It’s just what I envisioned and everything I hoped it would be.

I’ve got a new gold lantern light fixture going in that’s really going to make the room.

The corner by the door.

I talked about this on Instagram, but I haven’t told all of you that I’m going to use that chippy cabinet in the laundry room that used to be in my old bathroom. Remember this?  I gave it a quick coat of fresh white paint to cover a little bit of the chippy and I painted the back planks in a pretty fresh green and I love it. I also picked up a new blue and white knob from Hobby Lobby that totally finishes it off. It’s going to be so cute in here on the wall above the washer dryer.

I’ve also got pretty brackets from Lowes and a stained wood shelf going on the back of the washer/dryer on the wall above which will give me some storage space too.

This green color on the back of the cabinet is Organic Green, an HGTV Sherwin Williams color I picked up at Lowes (just a sample pot). It’s going to be so lively on that navy wall.

I’m just thrilled with how this laundry space is coming together. Honestly, I couldn’t find much inspiration for small laundry rooms like mine when I was looking. At least in the style I like, with wallpaper and some vibrant colors. Most of what I saw in smaller laundry spaces were farmhouse inspired, which is not my style at all.

So, I came up with this plan and decided how I wanted it to look in there with part paint and part wainscot and wallpaper and it’s coming together exactly as I had hoped. I haven’t seen anyone else do this in a laundry space, so maybe I’ll start a trend!

I can’t wait to share the final reveal with you next week! Hoping I get some decent pics since that room has no windows.

- Rhoda


  1. That looks great! Cannot wait to see the finished project.

  2. Rhoda the individualist! A lovely refreshing change to all that “same stuff” all over the internet, and I do love that wallpaper.

    • Thank you, Susan, I’m happy to be doing my own thing. I do find so much of the farmhouse look that’s so trendy now to be all the same. It does get a little boring to me!

  3. This is so exciting!How awesome to have a vision in your mind and bring it to life. I can’t wait to see the finished reveal!! I remember the beautiful laundry room you did for that show house too. I have those same knobs from Hobby Lobby in my guest bath…they are like jewelry for a cabinet or vanity.

  4. I agree with you about the farmhouse style. It’s seen pictured everywhere & not my style at all either. I think your laundry room is going to look really dramatic & beautiful. Perhaps the more expensive wallpaper is easier to hang & it sure is looking good. I’m anxious to see the shelves that you mentioned.

  5. Rebecca M says

    I’m not farmhouse style either. I love your new laundry room and the colors are great! Can’t wait to see it all together.

  6. I adore that wallpaper!

  7. Oh how darling! That wallpaper is lovely! Can’t wait to see the finished space…bravo!

  8. Kim Rowell says

    I love the wallpaper and your paint colors! I’ve hung wallpaper in the past and am itching to do my powder room. The prices of the paper are so much more than it used to be. I live in the Atlanta metro area and remember stores where you could buy close outs or small amounts of paper. My powder room has a 10 foot ceiling and I shudder to think how much it would be to paper it. Have you found any discount sources?

    • HI, Kim, I remember those days here in ATL too! There were some great wallpaper stores around. I haven’t really found any great discount sources online, but if I do I’ll share. I may do some research and do a round up post of wallpaper. I sure am loving it again! IT makes such a statement in small spaces like this. I want to do more in one of our bathrooms too.

  9. Angela Mahnke says

    Your colors look so fresh and spring like…I am in Michigan with lots of snow, so seeing your laundry room make over is getting me excited for spring. I also can’t wait to see your room all pulled together!!! Thank you again for sharing all the little detailed steps. That paper is too cute!

  10. I’m so excited for you! And impressed with your wallpapering skills. xo

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