Welcome to Southern Comfort!

Hi, I'm Elizabeth and I invite you to grab a glass of sweet tea and join me as I (along with my husband, John) renovate our love nest. We're both born and raised in the south and love to share with you some of our favorite recipes, stories and our life. We hope you'll come back often!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Long-Awaited Wallpaper Removal Post

I've been teasing you for over a year now (according to this post) about how to remove wallpaper. Since we had SOO much wallpaper in this house to remove when we bought it I knew I was going to have to find the best way to do it.. fast.

When we first stared the bathroom makeover, I went ahead and took down one wall of wallpaper. I chose to only do one wall because I wanted to do this in stages. It makes a huge mess, so I figured by doing it a little at the time, would save my sanity.. and give me plenty of time to get this post pictured and absolutely perfect for y'all. Speed forward a day and several hours worth of errands and hubby has come along and done all the other walls for me.
Yay! ... oh wait. Dang it! I needed to wait to do it for the blog. He didn't take any pictures. Crap. Oh well. Maybe the wallpaper post will have to wait (yet again) until we redo the master bath (curses!).

That's when Hubby says, "there's still some behind the toilet that needs to come down."
Wonderful. A postage stamp worth of wallpaper to remove.  
I think. Ok. I can make this work.
Honey, Grab the camera. We're doing the wallpaper removal post if it kills me!

So, finally, here's what we're working with:

Not so pretty. But, easy to do. Messy. But easy.

Step #1:
Find a corner (or area where you can get a grab a piece of the wallpaper) and pull.
This will pull off the 1st (outer) layer of your wallpaper. No need for chemicals or sprays yet. We'll get to that part. Pull it all off your walls. Everything. It will leave behind the lower layer of wallpaper. That's the messy part to remove.
After you've removed the top layer, grab a spray bottle. You're going to fill it 1/2 the way with fabric softener and the other 1/2 with water. Don't use harsh chemicals for this job. Fabric softener works like a charm and makes the room smell good too :)
We used this kind:

(sorry for the horrible picture of my bottle. we got carried away and started spraying before I realized I needed to take pictures of it (again, curses!)).
Spray, Spray, Spray. Soak it. Get it really wet. See? (Work in small portions. If the fabric softener dries on the backing it will make the glue harder to remove once it's re-wetted) Trust me. I know from experience.
Wait about 30 secs.
Using a paint scraper, scrape, scrape, scrape.

Comes right off.

Alright. We're getting somewhere.

Not bad right? It is messy. It does take some patience with pieces that are super glued down, but totally worth it. It's not hard. I promise.

Some extra tips:
  • If you still have areas of glue stuck on the walls once the wallpaper is off, you can get it off with a sponge and dishsoap. We had a few spots that required some scrubbing afterwards.
  • We found that using a metal paint scraper worked much better than a plastic one.
  • Take your time. Do one wall if that's all the time you have. It's better to do one wall and get it all done rather than do it all and it not be perfect.
  • Have trash bags ready. The paper really adds up quickly.
This really isn't a tip, but more a funny story:
When we were removing the wallpaper in our kitchen, we just piled all the paper in the center of the room to put in the trash later. It is a large room, and it just made more sense to us at the time. We started noticing this foul smell coming from the paper pile after a while. John went to investigate said smell and apparently while we were busy, Pickles (our cat) decided to use it as her litter box. She saw this large pile of paper on the floor and decided to claim it as her own. Never have we since piled the paper in the middle of the room. We are also very careful now at Christmas with wrapping paper to be sure we don't repeat history.

If you have any questions about removing your own wallpaper, feel free to contact us. Have you removed any wallpaper? Do you have any fun stories? We'd love to hear!


  1. Ok, Elizabeth... thanks for all the tips... you really do make it sound easy - time consuming but easy! Guess there's nothing to do but dive in one of these days! Trust me though, I'll be ringing you if I get into a mess with it!

  2. Pickles was just demonstrating her disdain for the old wallpaper! =) Great tip on the fabric softener!!!

  3. Glad you all are getting tips from the post :) Another friend of mine emailed me and mentioned that a dryer-sheet dampened will do the same trick for smaller spots. I love it when I get extra tips back to share!


I put a lot of hard work into the blog, so I love hearing back from you! If you wish, leave me a comment and help make Southern Comfort a fun place to voice your thoughts too! Happy Writing, Elizabeth

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