How to Add Interior Wallpaper Borders to Accent your Interior Decor

As with anything else worthwhile, a home wallpapering project requires planning and forethought. If you are not an interior designer, the daunting task of picking the right patterns and matching colors can be alleviated by visiting experts in your local area. Large home improvement stores such as Lowe’s or Home Depot have a wide selection of books, swatches, samples, etc. to color match styles in design. You may also consider simply walking through some of the model homes in new neighborhood developments to glean some insight on matching decor. If you walk through model homes or attend home exhibits / trade shows to get ideas, you will find that contributing interior designers make their business cards available as well.

Once you have the right ideas for your unique taste, your next step is to prepare for the job. Do-it-yourself projects can be fun and rewarding, or they can be a complete disaster. The difference between the two is preparedness. Take the time to equip yourself with the right tools, and use the right tool for the right job. In other words, don’t “make-do” with a screwdriver as a substitute for a chisel, or the broad side of a wrench to be used as a hammer. Don’t cut corners by adding thinner to paint, trying to stretch a can of paint beyond the surface area it is meant to cover. Don’t use transparent tape instead of masking tape. The list goes on, but the theme is the same. Saving a few bucks by not buying the right tools and supplies will ultimately cost you hundreds in re-work to patch up a shoddy project.

If you plan to add a wallpaper border to a painted wall, you will first need to ensure that the wall is surfaced properly. Some walls are just not conducive to having a border in the first place, and a wallpaper border can actually detract from the desired effect. Such is the case with textured walls that use spirals and swirls enhanced with grains of sand in the plaster mix. In those circumstances, your interior designer may suggest using sponge painting to accent the walls. Assuming that you have a relatively smooth wall, painted or wallpapered, choose a border that complements the main design of your room.

The tools you will need for hanging wallpaper border are similar to those used to hang wallpaper. A sponge, putty knife, seam roller, smoothing spatula, razor knife (with refill blades), and extra adhesive are your main requirements. A paper tray for moistening adhesive backing is important too.

With the wallpaper border glue activated by soaking the border roll in the paper tray, affix the border starting in the least visible corner of the room, perhaps over a door, or in the darkest (shadowed) corner. Use the sponge to keep the water from dripping, and smooth out any air bubbles using the wallpaper smoothing spatula. Around corners of window molding or other fixtures, use the flat edge of the putty knife to press the wallpaper border flush, and use the razor knife to trim the border to a clean form fit. Be sure your razor knife is sharp, preferably the kind with snap-off blades to always allow a clean edge. Using a dull razor knife will result in ripping the wet wallpaper border paper, rather than slicing through it. Where wallpaper border tends to peel at corners and around edges, a dab of extra adhesive will keep it laying flat, affixed to the wall. Keep the sponge handy to clean up any excess glue and water so you avoid streaking lines. When you reach the end of one roll and begin another, the seam roller will ensure that seam lines are invisible. It makes it easier for one person to hold the roll of wallpaper border while another applies it and smooths it. If you have never applied wallpaper or borders before, home improvement stores offer workshops and free (or inexpensive) training where you can practice applying border on a small scale.

As a final note, when you measure your room to determine the required amount of wallpaper border, it is worthwhile to ensure you have some extra available when the job is done. Border patterns come and go with new styles all the time, and variations in pigments and dyes may make the same style appear slightly different from one batch to another, just like with paint. Therefore, the small cost of keeping an extra roll handy for emergencies or repair is a good idea.