Beadboard wallpaper allows you to get the authentic feel of real shiplap or wainscoting without requiring much effort and money. The remarkable looks, relatively inexpensive cost, and easy-to-maintain features are what’s making beadboard wallpaper so much more popular these days.
Whether you want to redo your bathroom walls or need to give a visual boost to your hallway or dining area without the hassles of a traditional wood planks installation – it’s an easy fix.
But can these beadboard wallpapers be painted? What to do with the old wallpaper that looks dull and dingy with time?
Can you paint over them just like a real beadboard? And whether you should paint them in the first place or replace them completely? Let’s get into all those details right here.
Can You Paint Beadboard Wallpaper?
Beadboard is a type of wallcovering originating from long pieces of pine with tongue and groove edges. It was often used as wainscoting, installed at the bottom half of rooms. Today, you typically find beadboard in large panels that need to be cut down instead of individual wood slats.
Beadboard vinyl wallpaper is made with a similar concept in mind that can replicate the looks of a real beadboard (or even better) without showing many seams. The paper comes on a roll and is easy to clean – simply wipe it down as needed.
While it’s not a requirement, you can paint them if they start to look aged; yes, they are mostly paintable and can be painted in any color desired.
Even if you want to keep your beadboard wallpaper to be classic white – paint it. This will make your wallpapers appear much more genuine, and the paint you put up will make them much more durable and long-lasting.
The nicest part is you can also recolor the vinyl wallpaper with wood stains, making it look like a real wooden beadboard. And no one will come to realize that your stained beadboard is wallpaper, a faux beadboard, or a real one made with MDF panels.
Installing and Painting Beadboard Wallpaper
Now that we know all about beadboard wallpapers and how they can enhance the look of any space, let’s get into how to paint them correctly.
Remember that the steps you follow will decide the suaveness of the end result. So, I recommend you take some time out and read the instructions below carefully, especially if it’s a new project. If you already have the old wallpaper in place and just want to make it look fresh, skip to the 7th step directly.
Step 1: Prepare the wall
The first step to hanging the beadboard wallpaper is ensuring your wall is bare, clean, and dry. So, you need to start by removing any old wallpaper, paintings, or other objects like a towel rack or toilet paper roll holder – if it’s a bathroom wall.
Once the wall is clear, use a damp cloth to remove any dirt or dust particles on the surface. For stubborn stains or grime that is hard to remove, use a detergent soap or something tougher like TSP to get the job done.
Then rinse the wall completely so no residue is left behind that can alter the adherence of the wallpaper. After that, let the wall dry completely.
While preparing the walls, you may also need to fill any holes if they are present. If you leave them as is, these minor imperfections may show through wallpaper, making your job a failure.
Step 2: Measure the walls
Measuring and taking the sizes accurately is key to sticking your beadboard wallpaper right.
- To ensure you’re doing this step correctly, use a measuring tape and mark the width and height of each wall in your bathroom on a piece of paper.
- Draw a horizontal line where you will stop the paper if you aren’t going all the way to the ceiling.
- To determine how long your paper will be, measure from the line to the baseboards and add a few inches for the margin of error.
After you have all the dimensions, add up the totals to calculate how much wallpaper you need to buy.
Most wallpaper stores will have a minimum order, so you might as well buy a few extra rolls on hand in case you make any mistakes (we all do).
Step 3: Cut the wallpaper
To begin, pick a straightforward area with few complications like cut-outs. Cut your paper to the appropriate size and hold it up in place to test.
It’s good to test the “fit” several times with the first sheet before feeling confident enough to hang it. Don’t worry – you can always fix mistakes later.
Step 4: Apply the beadboard wallpaper
Apply the paste generously, mainly where peeling is most likely to occur.
Start lining up the vertical edge of the paper with the corner from top to bottom. The paste will enable you to move your paper around, so don’t be alarmed if air bubbles or wrinkles form on the paper’s surface.
To fix the bubbles or wrinkles, you can use a wallpaper kit with wide and short-bristled brushes. Be extra careful not to apply too much paste, as this can make the wallpaper lose its adhesive quality over time.
It is also necessary to avoid overlapping the paper so that the design remains consistent and smooth. Also, it helps if you keep a wet cloth handy in case glue drips from the paper’s surface or onto your skin.
Step 5: Trim off the excess wallpaper
Trim off any excess with a sharp utility knife, being mindful not to cut too deeply and damage the wall beneath.
Then wipe away any paste or glue that may have gotten on the trim or other surfaces with a damp sponge or cloth.
Step 6: Hang the next wallpaper piece
To avoid any visible seams, try to line up the edges of each piece as closely as possible. If you’re having trouble, don’t hesitate to use a leveler or other similar tool to ensure your beadboard wallpaper is hanging evenly.
You can also use a seam roller to help smooth out any air bubbles or wrinkles that may have formed during the application process. When you’re finished, stand back and admire your work.
Step 7: Fill, sand, and paint your beadboard wallpaper
Once your beadboard wallpaper is hung correctly, it’s time to get creative with some paint and colors.
Before applying the paint or the stain of your choice, sand any rough areas using fine-grit sandpaper very lightly to avoid damaging the wallpaper. Although you have done it before, take a second look, as these may still be present along the seams.
Next, fill the holes with a multi-purpose Polyfilla, which is a great filler product with a smooth, creamy consistency to make painting much more effortless. It will also help the paint or stain adhere evenly to the surface, giving it a more polished look.
Once your beadboard wallpaper is set and dried, apply a thin layer of oil-based paint (matte finish) with a nylon/polyester brush or a roller with a soft, woven roller cover of ⅜ -inch nap.
I would recommend having both brushes and a roller for your project. You never know when a touch-up might be necessary, and the tools at hand will make the job much faster.
What Color to Paint Your Bead Board Wallpaper?
In terms of paint colors, the sky is the limit. So, experiment with different shades and techniques to create a one-of-a-kind look for your bathroom, dining hall, or kitchen.
But whether to color the peel-and-stick beadboard the same color as the walls – or try something different.
Well, there is no hard-and-fast rule for real and faux beadboards. But I still recommend painting the walls’ top and bottom in different colors. This means sticking with at least two shades for your top and bottom layers to maximize contrast and overwhelm the darker one, giving it greater depth.
The most common color scheme for a wall is white, with a light brown hue for beadboard wallpaper. But because it’s not always the best option for all, you could try experimenting with something different hue based on your specific room’s style.
For example, a more rustic kitchen might look better with white paint on the walls and a dark wood stain for beadboard wallpaper. In contrast, a contemporary bathroom might benefit from black paint and white beadboard wallpaper.
You could even try a stenciling pattern or sponge painting for a unique design, especially when putting the peel-and-stick beadboard wallpaper in the bathroom. With a little bit of creativity, it’s easy just to transform your bathroom into a stylish yet relaxing oasis.
TIP: Bathrooms are high-moisture areas, so using a waterproofing sealer is reasonable to protect your stencil design from moisture. Also, do not feel reluctant to ask a professional or look at some home design magazines for inspiration when in doubt.
Where to Use Bead Board Wallpaper – Creative Uses and Ideas
Paintable beadboard wallpaper is an excellent way to add character with a beautiful vintage appeal to any room in your house.
If you are wondering where to use them best, here are some creative ways you can use beadboard wallpaper to enhance your home’s décor:
- On wainscoting or as an accent wall
- On stair risers and cabinets
- In a child’s room or nursery
- On bookshelves, lampshades, or in an office
- As a backsplash in the kitchen or dining room
- On furniture, such as dressers, headboards, or tables
- In the bathroom, on walls, or for covering popcorn ceilings
In reality, there are so many possibilities when it comes to using paintable beadboard vinyl wallpaper.
Not to mention, when they look dull and a bit aged, you can always paint them to make them look fresh and new. As long as the paper is still in good condition, you can paint over it repeatedly in different colors to create an entirely new look.
If you’re planning your beadboard wallpaper to get painted, follow the steps outlined above to ensure a professional and polished finish. Although it will take some time and extra effort, with a little imagination, you can create a beautiful and unique space that is all your own.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.