Wallpaper On The Ceiling? Great decision!

Ceiling wallpaper? Yes, and Yes. Before I work through the process, here is a little backstory. We purchased a new home a little over a year ago. I love the layout and all the space that we now have, however, when purchasing a new move-in ready home there are many small touches such as custom trim, paint colors or built in’s that cannot be added. Well, they could, but you would need to buy a custom home. Over the past year, we have taken our builder grade beauty to a custom home with DIY projects.

The most recent project is our first floor half bathroom update. This was a blank ~6×6 slate with white builder paint, pedestal sink, toilet and hexagon shaped mirror. My vision included some sort of wow ceiling and re-purposing a great mirror I found a few years back.

Before: Builder Grade

After: Wallpaper and a pop of color

Start with the Vision in mind

We started with the most impactful piece to me, the ceiling. In our old house, I painted the ceiling of our guest bathroom a slightly darker color than the walls and loved the contrast. It was just a change from the typical light colored, mainly white ceilings you see. When I took the ceiling plunge in the old house, I was worried that it would make the room look small, but it did no such thing. I was incredibly pleased. Needed less to say, I like a little pop on the ceilings of bathrooms.

After debating between accent paint colors for the ceiling and wallpaper, we went with wallpaper. In my Island blog, you know I did Peel and Stick wallpaper, but for this project, I was open to the real deal. My only criteria was that I wanted to actually be able to go to a store to see and feel the wallpaper. Come to find out, the big box home stores do not carry a large wallpaper inventory, if any. I searched around and found a wallpaper store about an hour from our home. This store, “Just Wallpaper” is the ultimate wallpaper jackpot! If you live in the Chicagoland Area, you must give this store a try.

The owner walked us through the different wallpaper options, listened to my vision, pulled a few samples she felt might fit and then left us to roam the store. We pulled out about fifteen great options and landed on one, from the Chip and Joanna Gain’s collection. This wallpaper was perfect for the ceiling and I envisioned mint walls perfectly accentuating the rooms, with the black accent mirror. In a true small shop fashion, the owner then pulled out color swatch from every paint supplier, so we could see if my mint wall vision really did fit. It did! We purchased the wallpaper and all the supplies needed in order to install the wallpaper.

Wallpaper we used (if you do not have a local store)

Project Steps

In our particular project, we started with the ceiling and worked our way down. We decided on these steps because I’m expecting wallpaper paste might end up on the walls. I would prefer to wipe off the existing paint instead of freshly painted walls.

  1. Install the ceiling wallpaper
  2. Test paint samples for walls
  3. Paint walls
  4. Install crown

Step 1: Ceiling Wallpaper Installation

Now, I’m not sure if I would hang wallpaper on a ceiling again. I’ll walk you through the process.

With gravity working against you and trying to maneuver in a small space with two ladders, it was a bit tricky. I strongly recommend that you watch several YouTube videos prior to installing.

Wallpaper supplies for ceiling wallpaper
  1. Identify if your wallpaper is pasted or unpasted. This will only change the amount of paste you apply to the wallpaper prior to installing.
  2. Gather your supplies.
  3. Prime your wall. Let’s say in five years you no longer like the wallpaper or a new owner would like to change it up, priming the walls with a wallpaper primer will allow the paper to be easily removed with a steamer. If you do not prime, you’ll end up gouging the drywall, if you ever remove the wallpaper.
  4. Measure and pre-cut your wallpaper sections. Determine how you want the patten to appear on the ceiling or wall. Also be aware with many patterns you will need to match designs and therefore you might end up wasting a few feet of paper each time you start a new section. When laying out the ceiling, based on the width of the wallpaper, I only needed three strips that were about sixty inches long.
  5. Even though the wallpaper we used was pre-pasted, since we are hanging on the ceiling, the shop owner recommended additional paste.
  6. Follow the instructions on the paste and wallpaper to properly install.
Ceiling wallpaper
Ceiling wallpaper

Step 2: Test paint samples and compare against ceiling wallpaper

When envisioning this project, a mint color scheme was calling to me. My husband was on board so we started trying to pick out the perfect mint. Similar to gray, some mints are more green, others blue and some take on a yellow hint of color. We ended on two shades of mint and tested them.

When testing colors, test in two separate areas in your space. Also, review your paint samples several times during the day to make sure you catch the various light streams coming in through the day.

I then held the ceiling wallpaper next to the colors to determine the direction. We went with the darker option.

Testing paint samples

Step 3: Paint Walls

This is where everything starts coming to life! Before painting, you will want to take the following steps:

  • Putty any holes from prior fixtures and then sand after dry.
  • Wipe down the walls with a damp rag.
  • Tape the baseboards, ceiling and around any fixtures.

It’s now time to paint! Start with painting the edges and around fixtures with a brush and then start rolling.

Step 4: Installing the Crown Molding

When installing crown, there are several options when it comes to sizes and styles. We went with a larger colonial style molding and added corner pieces. This was a simplistic install, my husband first added the corner pieces, then installed each piece old molding. Make sure to caulk the molding and then paint.

Ceiling wallpaper
Happy wallpapering!


Emily M

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