I have a confession to make. It's a pretty bad one. Yes, I am an award-winning DIY'er, but until just before Christmas I had never put up wallpaper myself. Ever. Putting up wallpaper just seemed like one of those things that was a major headache - air bubbles, matching the pattern, having enough paper. Urgh. Too much stress. I have vague recollections of my parents putting up wallpaper and the difficulty of it causing a lot of bitching and bickering between them as they did it (I now know the reason for this being my mother is an absolute perfectionist when it comes to wallpapering, as I found out papering this bathroom with her.) Anyhow, I couldn't live with this lack of wallpapering experience shame much longer, so decided to give my bathroom a mini-makeover with wallpaper at the end of last year.
When we moved into this house, the bathroom was great. It had a nice claw-foot bath and large shower, but the decor was just not our taste. The previous owners had a full on 'beach' vibe going on in here with sky blue walls and a mirror covered in seashells. I hated it. My first instinct was to paint the room dark, but my husband said he really didn't want a dark bathroom. Seeing as it was the only thing he had put his foot down about decor wise, like, ever, I reluctantly agreed and I just painted the whole room white for the time-being.
Two years on and our white bathroom was nice, but completely boring. I decided the vibe I wanted in here was 'luxury boutique hotel'. I wanted it to feel homely, not too adventurous, but also cool and quirky.
I'd been in love with Cole & Son's 'Hummingbird' wallpaper for ages, and actually got some samples of it for our bedroom. I then realised the bathroom was the perfect place for this wallpaper. The walls being half cladded meant that the jazzy print would not be too imposing (and also with this paper being on the pricey side, I needed to buy a lot less). It would make the bathroom a lot more interesting, without being too 'out there'. The print was homely while still being desirable.
The half wall / jazzy print combo was also my complete saviour what with this being my first wallpaper attempt. I got my mother (the wallpaper perfectionist) to teach me how to put up the paper, and after about three attempts I'd got the hang of it. Yes, I made mistakes (as usual, my measuring let me down!) but you hardly notice them (apart from my mother, who notices, of course).
I'd always previously thought that if you hang wallpaper in the bathroom it had to be made of vinyl as condensation + paper = disastrous peeling wallpaper. This is not the case. Most good quality wallpaper these days should be OK in a ventilated bathroom, but to make extra sure I gave the wallpaper two coats of Decorators Varnish once it was up. Decorators Varnish is something I discovered and used before in my old home when I had wallpaper in the kitchen. The paper needed to be protected from splashes of food and water and this stuff worked a treat. A clear varnish that you can buy in a dead flat matt finish, it protects the paper against the elements of stains, water marks and scuffing. You just paint it over the top of the paper and you can't even see it's there when it's dry.
I added a few new pieces into the room like this mirrored top table that I won on Ebay for £35. A vintage hanging mirror that I got in a local charity shop for a fiver. Also a diamond pattern bath mat I found online.
Even though I'd already hacked the Ikea white cabinet with handles from Not On The High Street, I painted the decorative moulding that I had also added in Calke Green by Farrow & Ball to match the green tones found in the wallpaper.
The large mirror hanging up in our bathroom is vintage.
I'm really happy with how the bathroom now looks. It definitely has a boutique hotel feel. The lovely dark blue bath still dominates the room, while the paper ties everything else together. I didn't mind the tiles in the shower, but they were not what I would have chosen. Now, you hardly notice them as the wallpaper is what draws your eye when you are in the room.
What do you think of my bathroom now that it has had its mini-make over? Would you use wallpaper in the bathroom?
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