When my family and I moved into our home twelve years ago the majority of the walls were covered in floral wall paper. The formal dining room was no exception as it had a peach floral pattern covering all four walls. Over time it was starting to fade, become drab and depressing. So, last summer I decided to make the change from drab to FAB. I wanted to look at solid color and I had a PURPLE color scheme in mind! Two shades of purple to be exact with silver accents throughout the room.
Unfortunately, before any purple painting could be done the infamous blah
wall paper had to come off. Wall paper can be tricky when it comes to
removing it. If your lucky it will peel off in large sheets and other times you can only remove it a square inch at a time. My son had just graduated from college and was home for the summer so I enlisted his help with this project.
Downy & Elbow Grease
Several people told me that they used Downy Fabric Softener to remove their wall paper. It seemed strange to me, but I was willing to give it a shot. It involved using 1 part Downy to 3 parts water, I used a little more water and it worked just fine.
Before applying the Downy and water mixture to your walls you'll want to score it. I found a tool from New Zealand with small rotating blades that made perfect little holes in the wall paper. All you do is hold it in the palm of your hand and move it in a circular motion on the wall. I felt like I was in the Karate Kid movie while I was doing it, "Wax on, Wax off."
Once all the scoring is done start with a small area and sponge on the Downy mixture. Do a small section at a time as the mixture gets absorbed by the wall paper and glue fairly quickly. You can always sponge on more if it dries out before you’re able to remove it. Then use a metal scrapper to get under the corners of the wall paper and start peeling it away from the wall. Sometimes the glue is still sticking to the wall after you remove the wall paper. Just go over the glue again with a damp sponge and scrap it off.
Tackle with Spackle
When the wall paper is finally removed you may have a few nicks or holes in the walls you'll want to repair before continuing to paint. I used DAP Fast' N Final lightweight spackling to cover up these problem areas. Make sure the area is clean and dry before applying it. Then mix the spackle and smooth a small amount on the area with a putty knife and let dry. It can be painted over within a few minutes if you’re using a latex paint to cover your walls, if painting with oil paint wait 2-4 hours for the spackle to dry.
Drab to FAB PURPLE
The purple paint colors I chose were made by Dutch Boy paints. The colors Kissin' Cousins and Folk Festival won out and can be seen on the right. Once I had the color samples in hand the local Wal-Mart mixed them up with Color Place Interior - Latex Satin wall and trim medium base 22148.
Did I prime the walls before painting the purple? No, I wanted to keep costs down and planned to paint two coats of the purple paint anyway. The paint went on smooth, covered the walls great and I couldn't have been happier with the results.
It's so amazing to see a room change in a few weeks to a totally different space. It wasn't that difficult to do or expensive and worth the effort in the end. Every time I walk into that room now I find it a very relaxing space that I want to spend time in.
Gold to Metallic Silver Mirror
This antique framed mirror was transformed in just a few hours. First I took it outside to spray due to the strong paint fumes. If you can't spray a project outside be sure to spray it in a well ventilated area. Then I covered the inner mirror with newspaper and masking tape along the edges. I used about one and a half cans of Krylon Metallic Silver spray paint to apply two coats on the entire 4x5' frame. Last of all I let it dry overnight and hung it on the purple wall in the morning.
Purple Painted Cabinet
This small wooden cabinet has always been painted a cream or white color. To jazz it up a bit I thought it would be fun to paint it the two
purples used on the walls. I did that and added a third darker
purple as well. The drawer fronts were spray painted metallic silver to
match the other silver accent pieces in the room and two metal drawer pulls
were swapped out for crystal ones. To avoid breathing in any toxic paint fumes the cabinet was taken outside to brush and spray paint.
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© 2011 Laura Ross
Laura Ross (author) on August 20, 2012:
I'm glad the fabric softener worked well for you. I recently saw an idea to use vinegar and water to remove excess glue too. I haven't tried it yet but like the idea of using fewer chemicals to do this job. Thanks for the vote up:)
moonlake from America on August 19, 2012:
I was looking at Martha's metalic paint today. Your room looks so nice. When we sold our house in 2005 we bought the expensive stuff that did not get the wallpaper off and I heard one of the tv shows say to use fabric softner for removing wallpaper. It worked great got that wallpaper off in no time. Voted Up.
Laura Ross (author) on April 21, 2012:
I like the silver and blue cushioned chair idea. An entire wall painted silver sounds really fun too. I've been thinking about painting a dresser silver or side table for an accent. So many possibilities!
Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on April 21, 2012:
I love the metalic silver. Recently saw a chair painted metalic silver with a blue cushion. Never would have thought to do a thing like that but it was so pretty. Also visited a home where the walls were metalic silver, a faux type paint job with the silver painted in a box pattern, the silver a bit smudgy. It looked beautiful even though it sounds a bit weird.
Laura Ross (author) on January 03, 2012:
Thanks SUSANJK! In the January 2012 issue of Better Homes and Gardens they have some beautiful purple colors with names like, "storybook charm, spangle, and purple davenport" to name a few. Go to BHG.com/newcolorquiz to get a free printable personal palette.
Do you have a room in mind that your planning to paint using purple?
Have fun planning and painting with PURPLE!
SUSANJK from Florida on January 01, 2012:
Some great ideas for decorating with purple. thanks
Laura Ross (author) on August 28, 2011:
Thanks Tina, that's cool your dining room is purple too! I decided with Halloween coming up to add black accents.
I replaced a white lamp shade with a black one, put a black table cloth on the dining room table and hung a small shelf I spray painted black. With just a few simple changes it totally changed the room.
Have fun decorating!
tina serrano on August 27, 2011:
You did amn amazing job! I too love the color purple. My dining room is purple too. Fantastic artical...
Laura Ross (author) on July 13, 2011:
Its funny to think a fabric softener would remove wallpaper, but it does and smells nice too. When I walk into the finished room now the color scheme seems help me relax. Thanks for stopping by Deborah.
DeborahFantasia from Italy on July 13, 2011:
I love the Downy tip, I never knew Downy would remove wallpaper ! I love the silver and purple colors, very pretty !