Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How to wallpaper your stairs in an hour!

Or, I could have used the title "Why procrastination ALWAYS works for me" because that's also true. I am known for my, shall we say, slow progress on some home improvement projects. Either I haven't come across the perfect color/style/solution or I'm just too tired or uninspired to start/finish, or something more fun grabs my interest. In the best case scenario, I just leave the space alone until the inspiration strikes. Worst case, I dive into the first part without thinking too far into the "how in the heck am I going to finish this" part. This was the way with my stairs.

Last fall, I decided that the carpet on the stairs was so stained, I couldn't possibly have it remain one more day. So, a week before I was hosting a baby shower at my house, I frantically ripped it out. Underneath that disgusting carpet was an equally gross 75 years of grime plus about a million staples and nails. My mother and I spent a good several hours removing the hazards so that our feet would not become fleshy pin cushions. A week later, I stripped the stairs of the grime and old shellac (or whatever they used back then). This I did in my usual multitasking A.D.D. way; running up to spray the chemicals, running back down to make some proofs/check facebook, running back up with the only rubber glove I could find (a lefty) awkwardly positioned on my right hand to scrape the toxic waste into a bucket, running back downstairs to check emails, running back up again to spray the next step. In this fashion, the stairs were at least stripped by the party. The polyurethane staining of course came a few months later when I was ready to deal with them again. Then, thinking that she could incite me to make a final decision, my mother kindly primed the risers and awaited further instructions. She is the exact opposite of me and will finish a project faster than a dog with a meaty bone. I make her crazy.

I knew that I wanted to do something patterned on the risers after seeing this photo on Pinterest. I just wasn't sure what that final pattern was going to be. I even spent an entire Sunday working on one of my patterns and making elaborate templates for hand painting the stairs. In my heart I feared that it was so complicated, I would get about half way up the stairs and give up. Then my sister brought up the idea of using wallpaper on the risers. This gave way to months/hours of ebay and wallpaper store searches. I even went so far as to order samples, but nothing was quite right.

But yesterday, as I was perusing the paper section of TJMaxx, I saw The Best Solution Ever. For $5.99, there were rolls of decorative shelf liner with the color and basic pattern I'd been searching for. Heart racing, I attempted to calculate how many rolls I would need based on the measurements that have been post-it noted to my computer screen for these many months. Only remembering the number 8, I chose to just buy every roll available in my pattern.

While I was on a "Margot is an absolute genius" rant last night, I proclaimed how perfect this method is for someone like me. There is no gluing or taping because shelf liner paper is self sticking. And get this, I didn't even need a ruler because shelf paper already has a ruler on the back! After a while, I didn't even bother to use the counter top. I just sat on the stairs with my scissors and trimmed away. In the end, I got that job done in only one hour! (Yes, plus nine months, but who's counting?)


  1. So clever and beautiful! Margot, you never cease to amaze me!

  2. What a great idea! and when you get tired of it, you can remove and replace. Another "why didn't I think of that" idea.

  3. Hi Margot, do you remember the brand that this shelf liner was? I am looking to do something similar on the back of a bookshelf, and have been searching for decent self-adhesive shelf liner, and am having a difficult time. I love this, and was thinking maybe I would be able to find the brand online somewhere.

  4. you are a genius!


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