How to Wallpaper a Bathroom Successfully
Think that wallpaper can’t be used in the bathroom? Think again! With a little expert know-how, it’s perfectly possible to use your favourite paper design in the smallest room in the house. Kerry McKenzie, co-founder of Brand McKenzie, is one such expert. Here, she offers a few hints and tips for successfully wallpapering a bathroom, cloakroom or ensuite.
Use regular wallpaper: You don’t need to use wallpaper specifically designed to resist moisture in your bathroom. Regular wallpaper will work – just avoid using it in obviously wet places such as inside the shower.
Varnish the wallpaper: Protect your wallpaper against moisture by sealing it with a coat of clear decorator’s varnish such as Polyvine. The beauty of this is that it allows you to put wallpaper behind your basin, which is the wall you typically want to draw attention to. If water splashes on the wall, it doesn't matter – you can just wipe it away.
Choose the varnish finish: Polyvine comes in a choice of matt, satin or gloss finish so you can match it to your wallpaper finish. For example, if you’ve chosen a wallpaper with a sheen, you’ll want to seal it with a satin varnish to retain the shine.
Test the varnish: I recommend testing the decorator’s varnish on a sample piece of wallpaper first as it can change the colouration of the wallpaper, either dialling it down or brightening it up. Check you’re happy with the result before you apply any varnish to the walls.
Ventilate your bathroom: While decorator’s varnish can help to protect your wallpaper, you’ll still need to make sure your bathroom is well ventilated. Always install efficient extraction, even if you have a bathroom window.
Choose a bold pattern: If your bathroom is small, don’t assume you can’t choose a wallpaper with a bold pattern. In the same way that large-format tiles can open up a space and make it look bigger, a big pattern can have the same effect.
Wallpaper the ceiling: Don’t forget that you can wallpaper the ceiling. If you have a downstairs WC, for example, why leave the ceiling white, which always looks unfinished? Instead, you could wrap the whole space in wallpaper – this never fails to make a bold statement! Just be careful which wallpaper you choose as some patterns only work vertically. Geometrics are a good option as they work any which way.
Be prepared to redecorate: Wallpaper in a bathroom won’t last forever. Be prepared to redecorate roughly every five to six years – exactly how long the paper will last depends on whether it has a varnish coating and how good your bathroom ventilation is.
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