One common complaint about RV’s that we have, and that we hear from many others, is how dark so many of the interiors are – primarily because of the wood cabinets and trim areas. Our RV is certainly no exception. Most of the rooms have plenty of natural light though, but the master bedroom doesn’t and it has a lot of wood. We wanted some way to cover up a bit of that wood to brighten things up. Putting up peel-and-stick wallpaper in the headboard area right above the bed was the perfect candidate.
Paint vs. Wallpaper
We opted to use a roll of peel-and-stick wallpaper over painting as it is far easier to remove if we ever want to change it again. We’ve also heard some horror stories about repainting making an RV almost impossible to sell in the future. If we had an older model of RV that we wouldn’t expect to resell for much anyway, we would probably be re-painting pretty much everything. We bought this RV brand new though and expect to be able to sell it in the future for a pretty decent price, so the modifications that we’re doing are with that in mind.
Plus the peel-and-stick wallpaper is much easier, faster, and cleaner to work with. This entire project only took about an hour from start to finish. Here’s what the area looked like before:
It’s pretty dark in there, isn’t it? Let’s get started!
Prep The Area
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success”
– Alexander Graham Bell
It’s a little hard to tell from the photo, but that entire headboard wall area is one large, curved piece of flimsy wood paneling. There are also two things in the way – a shelf and a piece of padded leather that protects the wall from the mattress. We could have worked around those, but it was so much easier to remove them from the wall to put up the wallpaper and then reattach the pieces afterward. After getting the mattress and other various items around the area out of the way, that’s exactly what we did:
Get to Stickin’
With the shelf and padding thing out of the way, it was time to start applying the peel-and-stick wallpaper.
NOTE: Because the bottom half will never be seen with the mattress and padding in place we weren’t super careful with how clean the bottom edge of our wallpaper ended up.
This style of wallpaper is meant to be applied vertically on the wall and from the top towards the bottom. These particular rolls are 20.5″ wide and the wall space we wanted to cover was 63″ wide. This left us with a decision to make – three vertical strips of the wallpaper would add up to 61.5″ meaning we’d either have a border on either side or we’d have to try and cut long and skinny vertical strips very precisely. Because there was already a trim piece at the top of the area we were working in we opted to just have the border on the sides.
We took a rough measurement of 43.5″ and cut our first strip to this height. We also found the center of the wall and made marks so the edges of the wallpaper strip would line up evenly on either side. Then we peeled back the first 8 or so inches of the backing and started applying the wallpaper at the top.
With the top aligned as well as we could get it we started working our way down the wall. We peeled back about 8-10″ at a time and pressed the paper onto the wall, working from the center out towards the edges. This helps encourage any bubbles to find an edge and disappear.
One Down, Two to Go!
Now that we had the center strip of wallpaper in place it was just a matter of putting one more strip on either side of that one. For no reason whatsoever, we decided to do the left side first. When adding a second piece of peel-and-stick wallpaper, the most important thing to do is line up the pattern. This means the pieces after the first aren’t going to align nicely with the top of the wall and you’ll instead have to cut both the top and the bottom. For us, the top had to go about 5 inches above the wall for the pattern to align.
Once again, we took care to only pull 8-10″ of the backing away at a time and smooth the paper on from the center toward the edges. This time though we had the added fun of keeping the pattern aligned on the edge. The great thing about this style of wallpaper is that you can pull it right back up and adjust it as much as you want because there’s no goopy adhesive.
After working our way down to the bottom we were left with some extra that needed to be trimmed off. Remember the note above: this edge will almost never be seen, so we just used scissors and eyeballed it.
The top edge is a different story though. That end is very visible so we had to take care and cut off the excess a lot more accurately than the bottom. For that, we used a razor. After making sure that the top edge was pressed into the corner as firmly as possible I ran a fresh razor along the corner, leaving behind a nice clean edge. Erin didn’t get a photo of me cutting the left side, but we got a short video of the right side:
The two sides were identical in terms of how to apply the paper. As long as you watch how the pattern matches along the edges it should be pretty smooth sailing. After all three strips were up we were left with a little less than an inch on either side that wasn’t covered. We don’t think it looks odd so we didn’t risk the headache of cutting super skinny strips to cover the gaps.
Afterward it was just a matter of reattaching the leather pad and the shelf and we were all done!
We think it came out really well! We’re currently undecided on applying any more of this paper above or beside this wall. The side walls would be extremely challenging with the really tall curve – this is one place where paint may be the better option.
Let us know what you think! Have you ever used peel-and-stick wallpaper? How did it go? We’d love to see pictures of your spruced up spaces!