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- Wide selection to appease different aesthetics
- Mistake-proof application, great for beginners and DIYers
- Luxurious finish
We don't like
- Extra tools and materials (scraper, level, utility knife) needed for optimal application; kit can be purchased separately
- Peel & Stick not compatible with all wall types; can’t be used on ceiling
Until just a couple of years ago, my appreciation for wallpaper existed only through the lens of nostalgia: the peeling white floral wallpaper that outfitted my childhood bedroom; the yellow print that I had always admired in my grandparents’ house, which, in a very strange coincidence, was just resurrected in this Reformation dress. (Yes, I bought it.)
It was only after moving into my current home that I not only began considering wallpaper as a design choice, but craving it. After years of apartment living, my partner and I found ourselves in a 1947 bungalow in the heart of Los Angeles — and this house demanded more character than its white-washed walls allotted. With our landlord’s blessing, we slowly began making this place feel like our own, with a nod to its midcentury roots: adding color and antiqued brass accents, filling it with vintage furniture, amassing a nursery’s worth of indoor plants.
But the project I was most eager to take on? Wallpapering the guest bedroom we also use as a home office — a cozy space with dappled light that wasn’t quite meeting its potential.
Using traditional wallpaper felt a tad too involved for a place we don’t own, so I turned my attention to peel-and-stick varieties—and quickly found myself perusing the digital shelves of a brand called Chasing Paper. To be clear, the removable wallpaper market has expanded quite a bit over the past few years: searches for “peel and stick wallpaper” are up 500% since 2018, and there are now a number of brands with beautiful options for the wallpaper-curious.
But I had a very specific aesthetic in mind: a deco-traditional print that would help transport this room back to the 1940s. Chasing Paper had a few swatches that fit the bill—and after ordering a few samples, we landed on a vibrant botanical print called Ruth’s Garden, created by Chasing Paper in collaboration with interior designer David Quarles IV.
It’s worth noting that touching the sample sealed my excitement to kick off this project — the weighty, fabric-like texture felt far more expensive than a renter-friendly solution. I took the plunge without hesitation and placed a full order.
A Mistake-Proof Format
Our full order arrived a few short days later, and in the meantime, we prepped the rest of the room: wiping down the walls with soapy water, patching holes, and perhaps most importantly, sanding down any weird bumps or divots that might cause ripples or bubbles in the wallpaper. I decided to fully lean into the vintage feel by painting our window trim a complementary blue. Then, it was time to try my hand at hanging wallpaper.
I very quickly realized that peel-and-stick isn’t just convenient for renters and noncommittal folks alike — it also offers built-in training wheels for any wallpaper amateur. Although my Chasing Paper order arrived with very specific instructions (start from a corner, remove the backing paper a few inches at a time), there was definitely a bit of a learning curve. The instruction to use a level, for example, proved absolutely crucial when I realized that the corners of the walls weren’t perfectly even (most aren’t) and that our ceiling sloped ever-so-slightly. Had I simply aligned each panel with the ceiling, the design would have become increasingly crooked.
Thankfully, the process proved to be all but mistake-proof: It was easy enough to un-stick my work if things were misaligned, and the adhesive still held strong with a little maneuvering. That said, the process of aligning the busily-designed panels absolutely perfectly, working around outlets and windows, all while avoiding air bubbles and wrinkles was a delicate balance, to say the least. A couple of hours in, I was exceedingly grateful that we had settled on an accent wall rather than papering the entire room.
The final step was carefully (read: anxiously) trimming the edges — something that required a very sharp blade and a very steady hand. (Pro tip: If you’re a coffee drinker, maybe wait for that last cup to leave your system.) But when the utility knife revealed the window and moldings, it all suddenly came together. After swapping in new bedding and thrifting some vintage art that serendipitously matched the wallpaper, the room’s transformation (or was it a resurrection?) was complete.
Whether you’ve been looking to participate in wallpaper’s resurgence, bring your home back to its roots, or simply step up your Zoom background (in my case, all of the above), Chasing Paper delivers an aesthetically pleasing solution that even the most DIY-cautious will be able to handle… with a little patience, of course. Renters can rest assured that this wallpaper will un-stick itself easily when the time comes, but not a moment sooner.
Maybe one day the peel-and-stick training wheels will come off, and I’ll graduate to Chasing Paper’s traditional and faux grasscloth offerings. But in the meantime, you’ll catch me hanging out in my mid-century time capsule.
Looking for more home decor ideas? Check out our guide to styling your coffee table like an interior design pro.