Kitchen walls are exposed to cooking odors, moisture, and potentially stain-creating spatters. Choose practical and beautiful wallpaper that stands up to your kitchen's workload.


Question: I'm considering putting up wallpaper in my kitchen. What do I need to know?

Answer: There are special concerns if you are going to hang wallpaper in your kitchen. As in other rooms, heavily textured walls will disrupt the look of the wallpaper and possibly cause poor adhesion. Textured and/or porous wallpaper in the kitchen will collect grime and absorb cooking odors. Hanging wallpaper behind cooking areas increases the possibility of stains from cooking spatters and other damage. Moisture around sinks can cause the paper to come loose.

Take your time selecting the pattern for your kitchen. Choose a pattern that will complement your kitchen's style without looking dated over time. The most successful wallpaper for kitchens will be a high-quality, cloth-backed vinyl.

I would suggest that you have a professional install the wallpaper to ensure the best results. For a recommendation, contact your local chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). Any of their remodelers will be able to help with a referral.

If you install the paper yourself, be sure to start with a clean, painted wall. Keep in mind that the paper will show every imperfection on the wall. If your walls are damaged, repair all the blemishes (fill nail holes, smooth walls where needed, etc.) prior to applying paper. Clean your wall as if it were made of glass. Use a cleanser that won't leave behind residue that could affect the properties of the glue. Once the wall is clean and dust-free, use a manufacturer-recommended sealer or sizing on the wall to even out porosity and improve the paper's bond to the wall. If you live in a moist climate, check with a local expert about which type of sizing to use to avoid mildew.

Following the manufacturer's directions, apply the paper carefully, precisely lining up each sheet before moving to the next sheet. You will not get a second chance to adjust errors after the paper dries.

After the paper is completely dry, apply a small bead of caulk or silicone around the edge of the wallpaper where it meets the counter backsplash. This will seal the edge, ensuring that moisture will not work its way under the paper if the backsplash gets wet.

If your wallpaper is installed correctly, you can look forward to many years of easy-to-clean, good-looking walls.

Answered by:

Steve Shinn, Certified Remodeler, NARI

About Steve Shinn:

Steve Shinn is one of the leading remodelers in Phoenix. His interest in ongoing education has resulted in his recognition by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) as a Green Certified Professional and a Universal Design Certified Professional. He recently completed the NARI training and will soon complete the testing to attain their Certified Kitchen and Bath Remodeler designation. Steve is president of the Greater Phoenix NARI chapter and a local NARI Contractor of the Year award winner. His creative focus is on solutions rather than challenges. His commitment to working for happy homeowners continues to result in a growing family of satisfied clients.

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