Installing Beadboard Wallpaper

January 12, 2012

Hey all, I’m so excited to show you the beadboard wallpaper in our powder room!  I’ve been thinking about doing this for a long time, especially after reading Rhoda’s tutorial, and at last I got around to it the other day. This really is such a great solution for those who want to add the classic look of beadboard wainscoting to a bathroom but avoid the expense of real panels (and the tricky cuts around the plumbing).

This project is step one in the little makeover going on in here, and I worked up a ‘how to’ with the steps I followed.

how to install beadboard wallpaper

I’m took a lot of these step-by-step pictures with my phone (sorry for the quality) but you’ll get the idea!  First, here’s your supply list: primer* for walls; beadboard wallpaper, chair rail trim, sponge, measuring tape, bucket, level, scissors, roller, brad nails and hammer (or brad nailer), paint color of choice, miter saw for chair rail trim.

*I primed the walls with water based Zinsser 1-2-3 Plus where I was installing the wallpaper because the before paint was semi-gloss and I needed that paste to stick… I believe the wallpaper is recommended for primed walls as I recall from the instructions inside (which I threw out of course before I sat down to write this today…gah.)  If you have flat paint on your walls, you probably don’t need primer.


Measure the height of your first section and cut it off the roll.  Start in a corner and lay your dry beadboard wallpaper against the wall, use a level to ensure accurate vertical alignment and a pencil to score the edge where you’ll install your first piece.

level and score paper

Next, roll your paper inside out and dip it in your bucket of water.  Once wet, unroll it on your long table with the beadboard pattern on the bottom.  Use a moist paint roller to spread the water across and activate the paste.

paste in water


Wait five minutes as recommended then stick ‘er up on your wall, yay, you’re wallpapering!!!!!

beadboard wallpaper on wall

Use your sponge to smooth it flat on the wall and remove any air bubbles.

sponge beadboard wallpaper on wall


Continue applying your wallpaper all around, trimming around any electrical sockets, light fixtures, etc.  Once the paste has had sufficient time to bond with the wall (about 30 minutes or so) carefully trim the bottom of the beadboard wallpaper.

cut bottom with scissors


Finally, you’ll want a finished edge on top.  You could do a cap like shown in this diagram from This Old House . . .

beadboard wallpaper cap rail this old house


… or choose a flatter chair rail which I used instead. I measured and cut the pieces with a compound miter saw, used a level to ensure horizontal placement, and a brad nailer to attach it to the wall.

attach with brad nailer


Here’s how I wrapped the corners…

trim window corners


. . .  but with windows pay attention to clearance for inside mount blinds. I’ll be using an outside mount when I finish up this space.

end trim for inside mount shade


Caulk any seams or corners with latex caulking and fill the nail holes with spackling. Give the beadboard at least one coat of paint (if you choose white) and two if you choose a color.

paint beadboard wallpaper


Ta-dah!  You’re done!

beadboard wallpaper in bathroom cg

beadboard wallpaper cg

beadboard wallpaper sink side cg

This really is a simple DIY project, don’t be intimidated if you’ve never wallpapered before! I’m telling you, it’s easy to do!  And the look is timeless too.

I even made a video of the process if you’d like to see it in action. *gasp*  And I keep saying “sponge roller” but any paint roller will do.

Two caveats… the product is a foam like material, which hardens a little after a coat of paint, but won’t be as firm as real beadboard paneling so consider that if you have kids or pets that will be in the space you plan to use it in, they might scratch or dent it. Also, the wallpaper is not very thick so if you have heavily textured walls, the texture will show through it. In this space we have orange peel texture (ugh) but it’s light, so I felt okay not retexturing the wall and it’s not noticeable, but be aware of that when you go to apply your own.

Now the next step is picking the paint color for the upper portion of the wall above it… I’m really drawn to a mushroom gray color so I’ve narrowed it down to these.

powder room colors

1) Benjamin Moore’s ‘Rockport Gray’ is in the lead followed by 2) ‘Coastal Villa’ and 3) ‘Siene’ by Valspar, and 4) is ‘Heron Grey’ by Glidden.

Want a peek at more wainscoting projects?  Here’s our picture frame wainscoting and our board and batten project too.

Applied this beadboard wallpaper in any of your spaces?  What do you think?



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104 Responses to “Installing Beadboard Wallpaper”

  1. BTW, is the wallpaper designed to be painted?

  2. LizlovesCam says:

    How is the wallpaper holding up now that you’ve had it installed for a little while? Thanks!

  3. Centsational Girl says:

    Still looks great Liz! The cat scratched at the TP roll when it was a kitten and scratched the paper too so I had to replace that one section but it wasn’t difficult (followed same installation process) and repainted the piece. Lookin’ good!

  4. melody says:

    Hi there. How is it holding up directly behind the sink? I was wondering if I should maybe prepare the surface or maybe trim it out differently? I have a pedestal sink and I’m worried that my children may get water under the paper where the wall and sink meet. Thank you :)

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