Bathroom Reno Step One: Removing Wallpaper

I have not forgotten about this blog! It’s been a busy time of year, both at work and at home, and I was traveling for two weeks which made working on the house not possible. I’m back, however, and the house projects have not stopped. They are eternally ongoing. I’ve had the house for 6 months now, and lived here about 4 which I guess means time to do bigger projects? So I’m starting with the bathroom.

There are two bathrooms in this house, the hall and the master. I’ve already done a lot of work on the master bath, mostly because I had to between a leaky toilet and a faucet line that broke, which meant a new faucet, toilet, and floor because why not do the floor when the toilet is up? All that’s left in there is to get rid of the backsplash tile, paint the vanity, and maybe, down the line, replace the vanity top.

The hall bathroom, in the meantime, had not been touched, I’d started to avoid using it for various reasons. It’s kind of dark (the only room in the house without a window), has ugly walllpaper and tile, and a short, sad toilet that makes an indeterminate¬†dripping noise sometimes. It always kinda felt dirty even when I cleaned it.

Here’s our before picture:


This is what we have to work with. After living in this house for a few months, I’ve finally discovered that there were some renovations done to it… in the 70s/80s. So, like 30+ years ago. That’s longer than I’ve been alive. Anyway.

First step was to remove the hideously brown wallpaper. Whoever remodeled this LOVED the color brown. Brown floors, brown tile in every room they could put tile in, and brown wall paper. I probably don’t need to remind you of what color the house was before we painted (hint, it was brown):


So much brown. I’ve converted a lot of the brownness of the house into white/grey. I left the floors for now but they were probably put in in the 80s too and need to be replaced at some point. For now, they look fine.

The first step, and the only step I’d actually thought about, was removing the wallpaper. This is not my first wallpaper rodeo, unfortunately, but it’s the first one I’ve done by myself, and it’s been many years since I’ve had to remove wallpaper.

I got down to it, though, and all in all, it wasn’t completely horrible. First, I removed the top layer simply by ripping. Most pieces came down fairly easily.


The second layer was the fun part. I did a lot of internet reading and decided to try the fabric softener method. I went to the dollar store and bought a little bottle of Downy and a spray bottle. I mixed a bit of the softener with hot water and sprayed it on the wall. I used a paint scraper to scrape off the second layer of paper. Tiga, the cat, supervised.


Surprisingly, this process only took about two days, and that was because I was being lazy. If I’d really buckled down, it probably wouldn’t have taken as long.


So here’s the after, the walls ugly but not in terrible shape. If I’d really wanted to (and had the patience, which I don’t), I could have sanded them really well and probably just primed and painted. Next step then was to skim coat all the walls, which I will save for another post! Step one, done! I don’t know how many more steps there are to go, but in for a penny, in for a pound, hello total bathroom remodel.



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