Hanging Panoramic Wallpaper In The Basement
On Friday, I shared our new “Greige” basement walls with you. I adore the color! It’s saturated, but not too dark. It’s gray, but not too cool. And it’s neutral, but not too boring. All in all, I’m a big fan!
However, since this is a family space, I knew that I could make things a bit more interesting down here. That’s why I decided to go with a whimsical panoramic wallpaper for our main feature wall.
Choosing a Panoramic Wallpaper
The French wallpaper company, Isidore Leroy, is launching its wallpapers here in the United States and they reached out about working together. I took one look at their stunning papers and I couldn’t resist. They’ve been in business since 1842 (!!!) and their designs are elegant and whimsical.
I chose this gorgeous forest scene and it has the most beautiful blend of colors – creams and greens, with hints of purple and blue. It’s a bespoke wallpaper, which means you enter the dimensions of your wall and you choose the exact selection of art that you want displayed. Then, it’s custom-made just for you!
Other Wallpaper Projects
This isn’t my first rodeo when it comes to wallpaper. In fact, I’ve tackled five other wallpaper projects.
- Peel & stick wallpaper in my mom’s guest closet: Peel and stick wallpaper was much harder to use than real wallpaper, in my opinion. I’d opt for regular wallpaper every single time!
- Rory’s nursery closet
- Mural in my home office
- Ellis’ nursery closet
- Wallpaper on our bedroom ceiling: This was definitely an advanced project, but wow, it was worth the effort!
The first time, I was terrified. What if I ruined the wallpaper? I’ve since learned that this is actually a very doable DIY project! Wallpaper has lots of wiggle room, so if it’s not in the correct spot, you can always peel it back and shift it around before the glue dries.
My first time using “real” wallpaper was in Rory’s nursery closet. I think a closet is a perfect spot to try out wallpaper for the first time because you’re likely the only one to see it! Plus, it only takes a few strips to cover the entire closet. Maybe add a wallpaper project to your 2023 to-do list. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Supplies You’ll Need
Here’s a list of everything you’ll need to grab. It may seem like a lot, but when you do one wallpaper project you’ll have all of these supplies on hand the next time you do it.
- Wallpaper Adhesive
- Tray & Roller
- Paint Brush
- Tape Measure & Pencil
- Metal Smoothing Tool
- Wallpaper Brush
- Snap-Off Utility Knife
- Sponge & Bucket
- Seam Roller
Tips to Hang Panoramic Wallpaper
The Isidore Leroy wallpaper shipped from France in two boxes. One box contained the first four panels and the second box had the remaining five panels. They even provided a little “cheat sheet” to showcase how it was divided into nine different panels, to make hanging easier. This was key as I mapped out my game plan.
Prime Your Walls
Because my walls were newly painted, I used this wallpaper primer to prep the surface. This helps the wallpaper adhere and ensures that you’ll get a good finish.
It goes on clear, with a roller and brush, and makes your walls look a tad shiny. It should only take a few minutes to get your walls covered. I then let mine dry for about a day before wallpapering.
Measure The Width Of Your Paper
The first panel is the most important. You want to make sure that you get it straight so the rest of the panels can follow suit. I measured the width of the paper and then marked that width on the wall from the corner.
From there, I drew a vertical plumb line from ceiling to floor. Because my walls and floors are far from level (old house problems), I cheated my line a little to the left corner. This ensured that the wallpaper would cover the entire first chunk of wall and I even had a bit of it overlap onto the side wall, where I later trimmed it.
Mix Up Your Glue
I picked up the wallpaper paste from my local paint store. My friend, Erin, is a wallpaper designer and she highly recommends using this type of paste. She gave me the tip to mix a few tablespoons of water into my paint tray to make a thinner consistency. There is no need to measure it out exactly. Just eyeball it and make sure it’s got a nice goopy and smooth texture.
Paste The Wall
Each wallpaper is a bit different, but this one called for pasting the wall. I prefer this method over the “paste the paper” method. The key is to apply A LOT of paste, especially in the corners. You want the wallpaper to move around easily, as you get it straight and in place, and the excess paste will help with that. I find that the wallpaper brush works best to get out the air bubbles and smooth the paper into place.
Cut Around Outlets
On that very first piece, I had a wall outlet to deal with. Once I got the wallpaper where I wanted, I used a utility knife to carefully cut around the outlet. I had a bit of wiggle room because of the wall plate cover, so my cuts didn’t have to be completely perfect. Once I got it in place, I used my paint brush to get even more glue up under the edges.
Trim Excess Paper
With the outlet cut out, I could then get the top, bottom, and side wall trimmed. For this, I recommend using a metal straight edge and a snap-off utility knife. It’s very important that your blade is fresh and sharp! A dull blade on wallpaper makes things much more difficult. I would swap out the blade every few panels. Take your straight edge and put it up into the groove then slide it along the corner as you swipe your blade across.
Match Your Pattern
With my first piece up and plumb, I got to work on the rest of the panels. You’ll want to take extra time to ensure that you match up your pattern, exactly, and try to butt the next piece of paper right up to the one before it. The excess glue helps you wiggle it up and down until it’s in the perfect spot.
Roll Seams, Add More Glue, & Wipe
When your pieces are matched up, glued down, and trimmed, you can grab your seam roller and roll it across the seam. This pushes the paper down on those edges. You may find that you need more glue, so just carefully peel the paper up and add more. Again, the wallpaper is more pliable than you think!
After I get each panel into place, I like to take a slightly damp sponge and wipe it across the paper. This gets off any excess glue before it dries on the surface. Keep that sponge handy as you continue hanging your panoramic wallpaper.
The Windows Were Tricky…
This basement wall had an inset window to deal with. This was my first time wallpapering around a window, so I asked my mom to come downstairs to help. I followed those exact same steps getting the wallpaper lined up and in place. Then, I had her take some scissors and help me cut out around the window. (I’m a lefty and my scissor-cutting skills are abhorrent. She helped me get nice straight edges!).
We had two panels go around the window and the second one was much better than the first. That’s because we cut the paper long and then folded the excess into the window sill to create a groove. That folded line acted as a guide for my mom’s cutting.
Our New Panoramic Wallpaper
I’d say this project took me about 3-4 hours total, and I did 90% of it myself. I just grabbed my mom for the window area to help me with the cutting. This is definitely a “Do it in a Day” project!
I absolutely adore it. It adds so much color and life to our basement.
And because of the depth of the forest scene, it truly enlarges the space and makes it look bigger. We need all the help we can get down there, so I’ll take it!
Now, I really want to visit this French beach off the coast of Brittany someday! Wouldn’t that be cool to actually go and see the real-life inspiration for this gorgeous panoramic wallpaper?
I told you that January is all about basement updates and this Wednesday I’m sharing the space all styled up with the new furniture! I had so much fun decorating the family room side of the basement and it was a joy to finally see the room with some furniture in it! I know you’re gonna love it…
Catch Up On The Basement
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.