Ask Martha: Discover the joys peel-off wallpaper

If you're a wall-covering commitment-phobe (or a renter), breathe easy. A wave of stylish removable prints makes it a snap to add personality to any room — and to switch things up on a whim. Single out a surface, order some panels and get ready to unroll.

Sources: Chasing Paper by Molly Hatch Geo wallpaper, in Blue, $40 for a 2 foot by 4 foot panel, Horne Gio Ponti F.A. 33 rectangular mirror, in Small, $1,399, Kohler Memoirs Classic pedestal bathroom sink, in White, $360; and Purist Widespread 2-Handle Mid-Arc Water Saving bathroom faucet, in Vibrant Moderne Brushed Gold, $573, Michele Varian Dual glass and brass sconce, $354; and brass wall bar, 32 inches, $38,

Wonder walls

Whatever decorating vibe you’re going for — soft and elegant or bright and graphic — get it with one of these artful peel-and-play papers, which deliver style by the square foot.

1. Hot Spots: Dappled gold dots are as cheerful as confetti. Devine Color Speckled Dot wallpaper, in Karat, $30 for a 20 inches by 16.5 foot roll,

2. Luxe leaves: The striking palette makes this retro botanical print modern. Frond Silhouette wallpaper, in Carbon, $78 for a 27 inches by 27 foot roll,

3. Different strokes: Sun-washed stripes feel laid-back and beachy. Chasing Paper by Rebecca Atwood Stripes wallpaper, in Tangerine, $40 for a 2 foot by 4 foot panel,

4. Shifting shapes: Kaleidoscopic patterns create a pop-art effect. Timothy Sue Coconino wallpaper, in Sand, from $120 for a 2 foot by 9 foot panel,

5. Boho blues: Indigo wakes up any room. Boheme Indigo wallpaper, $38 for a 20 inches by 5 foot panel,

6. Chic scales: This lustrous scalloped paper looks practically hand-painted. Genevieve Gorder for Tempaper Collection wallpaper, in Brass Belly Old World Brass Metallic, $125 for a 20.5 inches by 11-yard roll,


Clean cloth

Ask Martha: Discover the joys peel-off wallpaper

Measuring tape

Rolls of peel-off wallpaper


Squeegee or straight edge

Utility knife

1. Using a clean, damp cloth, wipe down the surface you want to cover; let dry completely.

2. Measure the surface, adding 2 inches of excess to the length. Unroll the wallpaper and measure, mark and cut it to size. Lay out the next piece and carefully align its pattern with the first, then measure and cut it. Repeat with the remaining pieces.

3. Peel off 8 to 12 inches of backing at the top of the first piece. Align the edge at the top of the surface and press to adhere. Using your hand, a squeegee or a straight edge, smooth out any air pockets, starting at the center and working outward. Peel off more backing and continue pressing and smoothing the paper. Align the next piece so the pattern looks continuous; smooth onto wall. Repeat until finished.

4. Use a utility knife to trim and remove excess wallpaper at edges and baseboards.

To remove: Starting at a corner, firmly and slowly peel the paper up or down, keeping it parallel to the covered surface.

Scene change

Large-format prints, like an elegant botanical, set a serene mood when combined with furniture in bold, complementary colors.

Sources: Tempaper Chinoiserie wallpaper, in Pomegranate Sand, $12 a square foot, West Elm Lola sofa, in Wasabi Plush Velvet, $1,299, and Glass Geo Stepped coffee table, $349, RH Modern Charlton floor lamp, in Burnished Brass, $659, Tidal rug, $85 a square foot, Alicia Adams Alpaca throw, in Ivory/Beige, $485, Howard Elliot Kidney pillow, in Moss, $39, Kirsten Hecktermann pink and green square pillows, from $140 each, Hay Paper Porcelain vase, $69,

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