Wallpaper, Hang It All

posted in: Art, Paean, Tips 11
Not my bedroom. BUT IT COULD BE. Image: Wikipedia.


I want to hang wallpaper.

Correction: I want a professional wallpaper person to hang wallpaper for me. I love the way wallpaper looks. It’s like fabric, right? Printed cloth for the walls. I’ve shopped and found some I like very much; it’s now a matter of getting it ordered and installed.

My love for wallpaper runs deep. Out on Meadowlark Farm, when I was a small, small person, I ran through room after room of tiny floral prints on all the various wallpapers of our farmhouse. (I do recall one wallpaper featured a big paisley, though; forgive my parents for decorating a house on a budget, in the mid-1970s.)

The kitchen got a buttercream yellow wallpaper; the upstairs bedroom got navy blue wallpaper with tiny pink rosebuds and leaves. There was another, paler blue in the living room, and I remember fiddling with the seams that ran down the wall. Thought I don’t specifically remember getting in trouble for picking the peeling paper, that obviously must’ve happened.

Wallpaper makes me think of my mom.

I believe she and my dad hung the wallpaper together out on the farm, but I wasn’t around yet to see either of them papering any walls. When it comes to Mom and wallpaper, my mental image involves her alone: not with Dad. I see Mom scraping wallpaper off the walls of our new, not-yet-inhabitable house in town after Dad left us for the last time and we left him for good. I’m just sure she scraped wallpaper by herself, standing up on a ladder; I’ll have to ask my mother if she hung new paper after she was done. Sometimes, you can’t remember these things.

I can tell you, however, that if she didn’t hang paper, she painted. And then she went off to make money to feed our family. We had support from our friends and Gramma, but when I think about my mom during the time of the divorce and our move into town from being out in the country, I picture my mother scraping wallpaper on a ladder in a bare room. Then I see the whole house, and how wonderful she made it by the end.


When I started this post, I only wanted to write about how I want wallpaper in my condo, how I have wanted to put some up for a couple years, now. I wanted to ask if anyone in the Chicago area could recommend an honest/speedy paper-hanger.

My intention wasn’t to talk about my childhood, or the pain of my parents’ divorce, or the memory I have of a very lean and scary time when Mom had the weight of the world on her shoulders and my father disappeared in a cloud of confusion and angst. It wasn’t my intention to write about any of that; I just wanted to talk about the wonders of wallpaper.

(Maybe I did.)

11 Responses

  1. Jo Chalk
    | Reply

    Thanks for sharing, Mary. Now find someone to hang that paper.

  2. Bonnie Jo Berg
    | Reply

    Oh, I love wallpaper too! I have hung plenty of it in my previous houses but strangely not in our current house. It’s gotten quite expensive now and of course I always like the pricey ones!
    Isn’t it funny how one memory leads to another and then another? Or not funny in this case, your childhood sounds similar to mine but those memories are part of who we have become.
    Love and hugs.

  3. Lupe Mandujano Garcia
    | Reply

    Yes, writing is like that. Our hand, pen, and/or computer take us where we need to go, and we go there. That is all. It is a good thing.

  4. Lauren
    | Reply

    What this does remind us adults of, though, is that children remember either feelings or single events. As much as your mother must have struggled to keep you from seeing how she struggled, as much as she tried to protect you and stayed awake at night worrying that she was not succeeding, she did; you remember her as a strong, protecting force (emotion), and you remember the manifestations of her protection (wallpaper). As the experts tell us: good-enough mothering is as good as it gets, so take a breath for yourself and love your kids. You got this.

  5. Anita Roy
    | Reply

    My Dad gave my husband and me some important advice as we prepared for marriage 44 years ago:
    “Don’t ever hang wallpaper together—it’s hard on your marriage. Call your Momma to help !you. “

  6. Susan
    | Reply

    My sister-in-law told her recently married daughter, who seemed to be pining to have a baby right away, that she needed to finish the kitchen wallpaper job she had started together with her husband, before she even thought of getting pregnant. “If you can’t finish this project you started, you’re just not ready.. A baby lasts a long time.” Soon after, the newlyweds fell apart and divorced. So maybe installing or removing wallpaper together *is* a good test of a steady marriage.

  7. Anita Brayton
    | Reply

    Sometimes it’s about the wallpaper and other times it is not.

  8. Gina
    | Reply

    There were three girls in our family, and somehow I remember have navy blue wallpaper with pirate ships on it…..could it be because my dad was in the Navy?

  9. Leesa Stroman
    | Reply

    You know, Mary, there’s a technique for hanging fabric like wallpaper using starch. Google it. Think of the fabric possibilities! And it can be removed more easily than wallpaper if you change your mind as we women often do. Good luck!

  10. Andrea
    | Reply

    I have scraped so MUCH wallpaper off of so many walls….I will nevah evah evah put up wallpaper again! It might be in my marriage vows, I can’t remember. 🙂

    | Reply

    I know someone who just put fabric on the walls with liquid starch. It looked fabulous! Think of the possibilities! You could even use fabric from you own fabric line. It wouldn’t hurt anything to try and it would be soooooo much better on the budget.

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