Do miracles with wallpaper — in 1945 — and in 2008!


My one and only new year’s resolution: To ensure that all retro renovation readers overcome any possible latent fear of…. Wallpaper. As the advertising above so clearly states, miracles happen when you add wallpaper to your decorating mix!

1526391698_4af2176524.jpgCase in point: My kitchen. Clearly, to pull everything together … to take the kitchen over the top in terms of its success … I needed that vintage blue/black/gold atomic wallpaper on the soffit. I also used it along the back wall. The kitchen is definitely not “all about” the wallpaper — it’s the cabinets. But the wallpaper makes the cabinets look that much better. They “balance” and even sort of “tone down” the loud color — in a sense, providing a visual respite, funny as that sounds because in and of itself it (the wallpaper) is loud.

It’s so interesting to scrutinize how wallpaper is used in retro room interiors — and to hunt down vintage rolls for your homes. 2008 is the year of the Wallpaper!

Tips for finding vintage wallpaper:

  • Old time wallpaper stores — ask what’s in their basement or buried in their racks.
  • Basements at estate sales…you never know.
  • Advertise locally on Craigslist, Wanted: Rolls of old wallpaper.
  • eBay, of course.
  • There are some online websites, these can be very expensive.

Regarding installation:

  • For vintage paper, you’re going to prep the walls, install liner paper, then use wheat paste most likely for the paper.
  • Vintage papers can be quite brittle, though – so require extra patience.
  • The whole thing is not really hard, just tedious (if you ask me). You can also hire a pro – which might well be worth it if you really love the paper, have a limited supply to work with, or if it is really expensive and you don’t want to mess it up.

  1. Femme1 says:

    Last week I picked up a triple roll of vintage wallpaper at my local ReStore. I don’t have a use for it, but am willing to part with it if anyone needs it. It’s a great 50’s carnation pink with subtle silver scratchies on it. I’ll send a photo to Pam and maybe she can post it.

  2. Sumac Sue says:

    I am one of those people with a wallpaper phobia. It comes from spending hours removing layers of ugly wallpaper in a previous living room. It made me think I just hated wallpaper.

    After seeing Pam’s kitchen soffit, however, I think I could consider wallpapering the soffit in our kitchen. We painted the walls a pale blue, which I like, but, the soffit just fades away into the white ceiling. Not enough contrast. The room is small and doesn’t get much light, so, I haven’t wanted to use a darker paint. Maybe a light patterned wallpaper could work.

  3. 50sPam says:

    –> oooh, Femme1, carnation pink with subtle silver scratchies sounds just wonderful! Yes, send me a photo and I’ll do a post on it!

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