Today I am so excited to share phase 1 of our Budget Bathroom Makeover! When I started making a plan to update our downstairs bathroom, I knew that I wanted some sort of texture on the walls. I considered several different options. I thought about doing wood planks like we did in our master bedroom, or the ever so popular board and batten look (that I love!) – yet I kept coming back to the idea of adding beadboard. But here’s the thing… This makeover project has a tight budget and, even thought it’s a small space, the cost of lumber/paneling can add up. That’s when I discovered Graham and Brown’s Paintable Beadboard Wallpaper. At only $30 bucks a roll, I knew this was the perfect solution for a bathroom makeover on a budget!
You may be thinking to yourself, “Beadboard wallpaper..? Is that even a thing??” Those were the exact thoughts I had when I first came across this product. So let me fill you in on a few of my favorite things about beadboard wallpaper.
- The price – I’ve already touched on this, but I had to mention it again. If you are looking for a way to add beadboard to a bathroom (or any room) on a budget, this is a great option
- The quality – this is a textured wallpaper and has actual 3-D grooves in it, making it look like the real thing after being painted
- The versatility – I love having the option to paint it any color I want, plus its perfect for if I ever want to switch up the look in the future
Before we get into the step-by-step tutorial, what’s a makeover project with a good before photo?! Here’s a quick look at what our bathroom looked like when we moved in…
Ready to see how we brightened this space up? Let’s jump into the tutorial!
How to Apply Beadboard Wallpaper
(Affiliate links are provided below for convenience. For more information see my disclosure, here.)
Step 1: Gather the supplies
The supplies we used for this project are as follows:
- Graham and Brown Beadboard Prepasted Wallpaper – our space used 2 full rolls
- Wallpaper smoothing tool
- Tape measure
- Box cutter
- 1″ x 3″ boards for trim (we used four 8′ boards for our project)
- Dual-Bevel Miter Saw
- Finish nails
- Paint (I used Benjamin Moore White Dove for the beadboard, trim and baseboards and Benjamin Moore Pale Oak for the wall above beadboard)
- Painter’s tape
- Paint brush
- Paint roller
- Paint tray
Step 2: Prep Walls
For this space, I only wanted the beadboard to cover the bottom 2/3 of the wall so before applying the wallpaper I painted the upper portion of the wall. I didn’t bother painting the bottom half since the wallpaper would end up covering it up anyway. I used the same color grey that’s in our modern farmhouse guest room (Benjamin Moore Pale Oak).
We then removed all of the baseboards and trim pieces, as well as the toilet. (Luckily my handy husband was able to do that part!) We also had to use a sander to remove the texture from the walls to give the wallpaper a nice even surface to adhere to.
Step 3: Draw a horizontal line where you want your wallpaper to stop
Since the wallpaper was only going to cover the bottom 2/3 of the wall, we used a level to draw a horizontal line at 64″ across all four walls. This acted as a reference point when we went to hang the wallpaper. (If you’re applying the wallpaper to the entire wall, skip this step.)
Step 4: Measure & Cut the wallpaper
Next, we rolled out the wallpaper over cardboard and used a level and box cutter to cut a straight line creating 63″ strips.
Tip: Cut the wallpaper into strips about 1″ shorter than the space you are applying it to. (For us this meant 63″ strips.) Here’s why – the bottom of a normal sheetrock wall is uneven; by cutting the wallpaper a little short, it saves you from dealing with pieces that may hang lower than the sheetrock. In the end, it will all get covered by baseboards anyway.
Step 5: soak & set
Once the wallpaper was cut into strips, it was time to soak it and activate the paste on the back. Our sink wasn’t large enough to fit the 24″ wide strips, so we had to use the bathtub. In order to soak the entire strip at once, I would gently fold the paper a few times so that it would fit. I then applied light pressure, holding the wallpaper completely underwater for 30 seconds.
After 30 seconds, I would carefully remove it from the water and let all the excess water roll off. To activate the paste, I set the paper paste-side up on the floor folding both ends toward the middle. You want the paste side to be completely folded over itself for best results. After 5 minutes, the wallpaper is ready to apply!
Step 6: Apply wallpaper to the wall
For bigger areas, it would be a good idea to use a plumb line to mark a straight vertical line to use as your starting point. Since this space was so small, I opted to start in the corner instead, and worked my way out from there. Once the wallpaper was on the wall, I was able to easily slide it around to get it lined up with the horizontal line I drew earlier. I would then work all of the air bubbles out using a wallpaper smoothing tool.
As I smoothed out the wallpaper, excess paste would squeeze out at the seams. I kept a damp sponge handy which cleaned it up easily. Once all of the excess paste was smoothed out, I would run the sponge over the entire length of the paper for some final smoothing.
Repeat steps 4-6 until all of the wallpaper is on the wall
After the first strip was in place, I continued the process until all of the walls were covered. Each time, lining the top up with the horizontal line, and then pushing the vertical seams as close together as they’d go without overlapping. To get around the vanity, we had to make special cuts into the beadboard wallpaper so that it fit together like a puzzle without any gaps. This part was pretty tricky and unfortunately we didn’t get any photos of the process (we must have been thinking too hard! 😉 ). The key here is to get these irregular pieces mapped out before you soak the wallpaper and activate the paste. The switches and outlets were quite a bit easier. All we had to do was cut out the outline with the box cutter while we hung the wallpaper.
Step 7: add baseboards and trim
Next we used a dual-bevel miter saw to cut down (4) 1″ x 3″ boards to use as trim along the top of the wallpaper. We cut the ends at a 45 degree angle so they would fit seamlessly in the corners.
Using a studfinder, we located the studs and then nailed the boards to the wall along the horizontal line created in Step 3.
Step 8: Finish with paint
Once the beadboard wallpaper had dried for 24 hours and all of the trim pieces were in place, it was time to paint!
I used a 2″ angled paint brush to paint all of the trim and baseboards in my favorite color of white paint by Benjamin Moore, White Dove. (Checkout 4 of my other favorite white paint colors in this post!) I also brushed paint into the corners and vertical seams to help fill in any gaps. It worked like a charm! I finished by using a paint roller to add two coats of paint to the beadboard wallpaper and – voila – phase one of our budget bathroom makeover was done! Yippee!
(Don’t mind the missing trim piece on the back wall – we have to wait to put that up until after phase 2 of this makeover project is finished. Phase 2 coming to the blog soon!)
Below is a closeup look at how trim turned out. It’s painted in Benjamin Moore White Dove and contracts nicely against the grey color (Pale Oak) on the wall above.
I think the beadboard wallpaper achieved my goal of finding a budget-friendly option to add texture to the walls. It definitely brightens up this little space and I love how it turned out!
I can’t wait to share a few more projects we’ve been working on in this space! And, of course, the final reveal of this little half bath soon! So stay tuned! Checkout some of the other DIY tutorials in our Project Gallery!
A big thank you to Graham and Brown for providing the product for this post. As always, all opinions are my own.