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As a stager and designer, I often come into homes that haven’t been updated in decades. Like these 2 lovely houses in Daly City & San Mateo that we recently staged & sold,

Charming Cottage style home

both felt old & dingy because of the outdated wallcoverings. The floral & textured wallpapers made both homes feel as if I were back in another era, one that included green shag carpets and metal TV trays with “The Brady Bunch” playing in the background. You could almost smell Grandma’s Jean Naté perfume coming off the walls.

Lovely 2 story Centrally Located Home

Most of my clients don’t realize that it is even possible to paint over wallpaper, including ones with texture. Much to their surprise, it is easy & affordable!

BEFORE: Yellow Floral Kitchen

Since staging & selling a home is all about the first impression, homes with outdated flooring, wall coverings and lighting will almost always turn off potential buyers, leaving them feeling like there is too much work to be done and that the home is not a worthy investment.

AFTER: No more flowers!

Plus, what I find sellers always overlook is how buyers feel when they walk through the home for sale. If it doesn’t feel good, if their gut doesn’t scream “YES! This is the ONE!”, then more than likely, they will move on to the next Open House. This is where I come in.

Before: Wallpaper to the Kitchen Ceiling

Especially when the wallpaper covers all of the walls, it is essential to update it! See the living and dining room photos. In this particular home, the 100-year old decorative molding gets lost amongst all of the texture & shine of the wallpaper when it should be spotlighted as the home’s Top Selling Feature. (Note: They even wallpapered the inside of the built in cabinets!)

After: Cleaned up with Paint!

So, since the existing wallpaper in both of these homes was actually in very good condition, and wasn’t bubbling or peeling too terribly, I advised them to paint over it for a quick, easy & inexpensive update that made a HUGE difference.

BEFORE: Can you see the wallpapered shelves?

If you have a similar project, make sure to remove any edges of wallpaper that are beginning to peel. Do this gently with a paint scraper to create as seamless an edge as possible. And then give it all a good scrubbing, to get all the scents and oils off of the wallpaper. Fill in larger holes with spackling and sand to give a smooth finish.

AFTER: Fresh, clean & bright!

The most important step of painting over any kind of wallpaper is using an oil-based primer. This is essential for creating a waterproof barrier between the old glues in the wallpaper and the new coat of paint you will put on!

BEFORE: Mauve textured wallpaper in the living room

If you miss this step, yellow and/or brown discoloring will come through the paint and ruin all of your hard work. Yikes! We don’t want that!

AFTER: So much better!

After you allow the oil-based primer to dry for a day, the walls are ready for their first coat of fresh paint! Two coats may be necessary, but we only put a single coat on these walls and the transformation was incredible! The 2 colors we chose were ‘Swan Wing’ for the updated kitchen and ‘Atrium White’ for both the living room & dining room, both from Benjamin Moore. It really made all the difference and I am certain that it was the reason both of these homes sold so quickly and easily.

Happy Painting!

AFTER: Rooms look bigger now too with the help of a little paint!

Photography: Catherine Nguyen Photography & my handy dandy point and shoot!