Kathi paints and stencils her bathroom walls to look like midcentury wallpaper

So many great reader opinions on our story asking whether to paint or wallpaper Laura’s 1957 bathroom, but here’s an idea I forgot to mention, and which several readers suggested: Stenciling the walls to look like wallpaper. Kathi followed up to share photos after she stencilled her walls — what a transformation of this already glowy lovely midcentury bathroom >>>

Kathy wrote:

I’ve attached a couple pictures of a stencil project I did in the hall bathroom of our 1954 ranch.  I used this stencil I found on Amazon and two shades of metallic stencil creme from Royal Design Studio. [Pam notes: The Amazon links earn me a wee commission if you click and buy.]

The refresh was completed by (a professional) removing about 4 layers of flooring (sadly the original layer was too damaged to restore) and installing a vintage-feel vinyl flooring.  We also replaced the non-original light fixtures with something more appropriate and scored an older wall mirror at a neighbor’s garage sale.

Overall very pleased with the end result and like having the look of wallpaper without having to worry about the durability in a humid place like a bathroom.  

I’m currently working on our daughter’s “big girl room” which involves stenciling “Flamingo Lagoon” on to the walls of the original Ming Green bathroom.  I’m using four colors instead of two for this pattern, so I’ll need the Retro Reno gods in my corner. 

Wish me luck!

Luck!!! Thank you, Kathi, this is just beautiful! Indeed, since many readers are wary of putting up wallpaper given the humidity of bathrooms, stenciling is a wonderful option to get the look … without the paste. Arguably: Just as much work, though!

The new flooring looks fantastic, too! And — what pretty and spacious bathroom you have. I love the soft cocoa tiles and slightly more cocoa fixtures. And that built in cabinetry: Oh how many of us would just love to have that in our bathrooms! 

The flooring that Kathi used:

Indeed, questions started flowing in and Kathi replied:

… The flooring is  Armstrong Flooring DecorArt Corlon. I believe the color we chose was Stone Harbor. It’s a commercial grade product (thanks again to RR for all the inspiration) so a little spendy, but I’m hoping it’ll last for another 60 years!

Be sure to send us photos of the the Ming Green Flamingo Lagoon when it’s done! 

  1. Amy Weinholtz says:

    I have the same stencils and plan to use them in my 1969 bathroom, also because of potential humidity problems. We have accent tiles in the shower tile that look like the stencil, which is what I wanted to replicate – blue & avocado on white. I got a window & shower curtain to coordinate.

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