We bought our RV used, and there were already some personal touches in it from the previous owners. Some we liked and some we didn’t. For instance, we love the fact that we have a dishwasher.
Most RVs don’t have dishwashers, so we appreciate the time they took and the money they spent to make this renovation.
However, we weren’t huge fans of the wallpaper behind the bed. Not because it wasn’t cute or didn’t look good, but because, well, it was kind of weird sleeping underneath someone else’s stuff.
I mean, it’s already kind of weird sleeping in someone else’s bed, but when you’re also sharing something as intimate as the personal touches they put above their bed, it’s a bit awkward.
The Way it Was
“Home is wherever I’m with you.”
I actually echo the sentiment. The whole reason we’re doing this is that we want to explore the world together. It doesn’t matter where we are, as long as we’re together. It’s a cute idea…but not here.
Tearing the Wallpaper Down
So I got started taking it all down. That’s wrong. I started tearing it down. When you live in an RV, you quickly learn that in order to hang anything on the wall, you need industrial-strength something.
If you don’t, everything will rattle off the wall when you move and you’ll end up with floor art instead of wall art.
They had stuck that sign on the wall with gorilla tape. It was heavy-duty enough already, but when I finally got the sign down, twelve finger blisters later, I saw that they had plastered it up there with six strips of the stuff.
And these weren’t dinky little strips either. They were at least six inches long.
After the sign came down, the wallpaper came off pretty easily. They had used removable wallpaper, which sticks really easily and comes off in one seamless motion. If you like the distressed blue color, you can find it here.
If you peel it off gently, it’s pretty easy to reuse, but we didn’t want to do that.
After that, we were left with a blank wall. It had a bit of sticky residue leftover from the wallpaper and I thought it might help with the sticking of the new wallpaper, so I didn’t clean it off first.
In hindsight, I do think it would have helped to clean the wall first, but I didn’t want to peel off our new wallpaper and start over, so I left it the way it was.
If you do this, I would suggest a bucket of warm water with some Dawn dish soap. Use a soft rag to wipe down the entire surface and then dry it thoroughly before attempting to stick your wallpaper up.
We choose a more neutral peel and stick wallpaper. We like the rustic look of the white and gray and thought it would coordinate better with our bedspread. It looked great in pictures, but we really couldn’t have imagined how good it would really look until we got it up.
The sign we used was one we already had above the bed in our house. We bought it when we were first married, and there have been very few nights (short of one of us being out of town) that we haven’t adhered to this rule.
1. Measure twice, cut once
The first step in the process was to measure. The wallpaper we purchased was 17 inches wide, so we needed three strips of it to cover the entire space from floor to ceiling. We might have gotten away with only two because the rest of it would be behind the mattress, but I really wanted it to look complete, even on either side of the mattress.
However, it was 78 inches long, and the space above the bed was only 62 inches side to side, so I had to trim some length off of it before I put it up. As you can see, the markings on the back of the paper made it a bit easier to get accuracy without much measuring.
Even still, measure, measure, measure. I’ve made that mistake too many times.
2. Easing the wallpaper up
Now that I have a strip of wallpaper that fits my space, I was ready to put it up. I started at the left and worked right. One reason was that we wanted the wood planks to run horizontally. The other is because I’m right-handed and it was easier for me to guide it along to the right. You can do it any way you like.
The best way I found to do it after struggling with it for a while was to peel off a small bit of the backing and stick one end up, getting it as level as possible.
Pro tip: the wood grain is very forgiving, so not only did it not really matter that it was a bit uneven, but it won’t matter later when you go to overlap the second strip slightly to make sure you don’t miss any spots. It also hides bubbles in the paper, which will happen, so just let it go.
After I got the left side of the paper flush against the edge (ish), I wiggled my right hand up under the wallpaper and began to slowly peel off the backing. At the same time, I ran my left hand over the top of the paper, smoothing it out as I went.
Again, it wasn’t perfect, and as I moved to the right, I noticed the top of the paper inching up toward the ceiling. That’s ok, I fixed it later.
3. Working around the lights
As you can see, we have two wall-mounted lights, and I ran into those when putting up the first strip. Rather than measure and fiddle with cutting the paper where I thought it would fall over the light, I waited until I ran into the light to figure it out.
I unscrewed the plates from the wall, laid the wallpaper over it, and then cut a slit from the bottom of the wallpaper up to where I needed it to accommodate the light. Then all I had to do was spread the paper over where the light was wired in, line it back up underneath the light on either side of the slit I cut, and then keep going.
After I got the first strip done, it was smooth sailing. Because the wood grain is so forgiving, you can’t tell I had to cut slits in the bottom of the paper to go around the lights, and you can’t tell that my strips overlap each other just a tiny bit.
I also had to create a cutout or two on either side to fit behind the window valances and around the nightstands. Surprisingly, that was a tad bit harder than working around the lights because I was working in a smaller space, but at a glance, you can’t tell it’s not perfect.
4. Putting up the sign
With the wood planks on the wallpaper to follow, leveling the sign was a piece of cake. What I’ve discovered is that, even though a level is always level, your RV won’t be.
Sometimes it rains and the front of your RV sinks. Or maybe you didn’t get it properly leveled when you set up camp last week. If that’s the case, your level will measure level to the ground, but in your RV, it’ll look lopsided.
Basically, what I’m saying, is that in an RV, you can’t always trust your level.
So, I used the eyeball method. Sometimes that works just as well. For this, it worked better because, say it all together now: the wood grain is very forgiving. You’re getting the hang of this!
I hang things with 3M command strips. I get the heavy-duty ones that hold up to 16 pounds each. Then I just use as many as I feel like I need to hold the item I’m hanging. For this sign, I used four of them.
The sign isn’t nearly that heavy, but I also don’t want it to fall on my head while I’m sleeping and I certainly don’t want the pressure it suffers during travel to cause it to fall.
I put one 3M command on each edge. First, I velcro two strips together. Then I peel off the backing of one side and stick it to the item I’m hanging. I let it sit for 30 minutes or so to make sure it sticks, then I peel off the backing of the other strips and hang the item on the wall, holding it for about 30 seconds.
The Final Result
I’m really happy with the way it turned out. It looks better and more professional than the installation actually was. It fits our personalities and our relationship a lot better than what was there before. Next: putting up new curtains!