How to Use Wallpaper to Decorate Furniture

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Things You'll Need

  • Dust cloth

  • Household cleaner

  • Soft cloth

  • Craft paper

  • Scissors

  • Tape measure

  • Pencil

  • Decoupage medium

  • Disposable plate

  • Foam roller

  • Paintbrush

  • Brayer

  • Damp cloth

  • Craft knife


Decorative wallpaper serves as a striking backdrop for open kitchen cabinets, highlighting the dishware and glassware displayed within. Under-cabinet lighting installed on the bottom of shelves enhances the look so the wallpaper is visible even when the rest of the room's lights are off.


If the project surface is not completely smooth before wallpapering, the paper will show bumps and flaws beneath it. Sand the surface smooth, if necessary, or hammer down nails to ensure a neat papering job.

Wallpaper transforms an entire room or just one area with its decorative print, but you don't need to use it only on walls. Create a focal point or accent for a room by papering furniture instead, such as the inside back wall of an open bookcase or cabinet, or boring old drawer fronts that lack visual interest. Swap out unwieldy wallpaper paste and wallpapering tools for decoupage medium, a foam roller and a brayer to smooth the paper in place.

Step 1

Clean off the project area using a dust cloth, otherwise dust and dirt may get on the top surface of the wallpaper when you apply decoupage medium. If the area is particularly dirty, wipe it down with a gentle household cleaner and a soft cloth, allowing the surface to dry completely.

Step 2

Press a piece of craft paper over the surface being papered, such as the face of a drawer or the back panel inside a bookcase. Smooth and crease the paper so it shows distinctive lines, indicating where to cut this paper template. The creasing process comes in handy for areas with tricky angles or curves. For a simple straight area, use a tape measure instead to measure the craft paper to size.

Step 3

Cut out the creased or measured craft paper with scissors. Position it in place to double-check your work and ensure it's the exact size needed; adjust as necessary.

Step 4

Place the craft paper template over a piece of wallpaper, lining it up so the design shows in the way you would like -- for instance, a chevron pattern that lines up with its peaks in the center of the project area. Trace the template onto the wallpaper front using a pencil, and then cut out the wallpaper shape with scissors.

Step 5

Pour some decoupage medium onto a disposable plate. Dip a foam roller into the medium, rolling excess off onto part of the plate. Roll the decoupage medium over the project surface, creating a smooth, even coating. You can use a paintbrush in place of a roller or to reach into corners the roller missed.

Step 6

Place the wallpaper over the wet decoupage medium and smooth it down with your hands from one side to the other, or from one edge to another. Roll a brayer over it, if desired, to smooth out excess decoupage medium and to remove air bubbles. Wipe up any decoupage medium that squirts out using a damp cloth, otherwise it may leave an unsightly dry blob behind.

Step 7

Inspect the wallpapered area and trim away any excess paper, such as bits left in a corner, using a craft knife. Wipe the craft knife blade clean with a damp cloth as you work to remove decoupage medium. Allow the project area to dry completely.

Step 8

Apply a coat of decoupage medium over the top of the wallpaper, if desired, to seal it, using either a brush or foam roller. Allow the surface to dry completely.

references & resources

Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, SFGate, Landlordology and others.

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