Installing Beadboard Wallpaper

By Kate Riley January 12, 2012

Hey all, I’m so excited to show you the beadboard wallpaper in our powder room!  I’ve been thinking about doing this for a long time, especially after reading Rhoda’s tutorial, and at last I got around to it the other day. This really is such a great solution for those who want to add the classic look of beadboard wainscoting to a bathroom but avoid the expense of real panels (and the tricky cuts around the plumbing).

This project is step one in the little makeover going on in here, and I worked up a ‘how to’ with the steps I followed.

how to install beadboard wallpaper

I’m took a lot of these step-by-step pictures with my phone (sorry for the quality) but you’ll get the idea!  First, here’s your supply list: primer* for walls; beadboard wallpaper, chair rail trim, sponge, measuring tape, bucket, level, scissors, roller, brad nails and hammer (or brad nailer), paint color of choice, miter saw for chair rail trim.

*I primed the walls with water based Zinsser 1-2-3 Plus where I was installing the wallpaper because the before paint was semi-gloss and I needed that paste to stick… I believe the wallpaper is recommended for primed walls as I recall from the instructions inside (which I threw out of course before I sat down to write this today…gah.)  If you have flat paint on your walls, you probably don’t need primer.


Measure the height of your first section and cut it off the roll.  Start in a corner and lay your dry beadboard wallpaper against the wall, use a level to ensure accurate vertical alignment and a pencil to score the edge where you’ll install your first piece.

level and score paper

Next, roll your paper inside out and dip it in your bucket of water.  Once wet, unroll it on your long table with the beadboard pattern on the bottom.  Use a moist paint roller to spread the water across and activate the paste.

paste in water


Wait five minutes as recommended then stick ‘er up on your wall, yay, you’re wallpapering!!!!!

beadboard wallpaper on wall

Use your sponge to smooth it flat on the wall and remove any air bubbles.

sponge beadboard wallpaper on wall


Continue applying your wallpaper all around, trimming around any electrical sockets, light fixtures, etc.  Once the paste has had sufficient time to bond with the wall (about 30 minutes or so) carefully trim the bottom of the beadboard wallpaper.

cut bottom with scissors


Finally, you’ll want a finished edge on top.  You could do a cap like shown in this diagram from This Old House . . .

beadboard wallpaper cap rail this old house


… or choose a flatter chair rail which I used instead. I measured and cut the pieces with a compound miter saw, used a level to ensure horizontal placement, and a brad nailer to attach it to the wall.

attach with brad nailer


Here’s how I wrapped the corners…

trim window corners


. . .  but with windows pay attention to clearance for inside mount blinds. I’ll be using an outside mount when I finish up this space.

end trim for inside mount shade


Caulk any seams or corners with latex caulking and fill the nail holes with spackling. Give the beadboard at least one coat of paint (if you choose white) and two if you choose a color.

paint beadboard wallpaper


Ta-dah!  You’re done!

beadboard wallpaper in bathroom cg

beadboard wallpaper cg

beadboard wallpaper sink side cg

This really is a simple DIY project, don’t be intimidated if you’ve never wallpapered before! I’m telling you, it’s easy to do!  And the look is timeless too.

I even made a video of the process if you’d like to see it in action. *gasp*  And I keep saying “sponge roller” but any paint roller will do.

Two caveats… the product is a foam like material, which hardens a little after a coat of paint, but won’t be as firm as real beadboard paneling so consider that if you have kids or pets that will be in the space you plan to use it in, they might scratch or dent it. Also, the wallpaper is not very thick so if you have heavily textured walls, the texture will show through it. In this space we have orange peel texture (ugh) but it’s light, so I felt okay not retexturing the wall and it’s not noticeable, but be aware of that when you go to apply your own.

Now the next step is picking the paint color for the upper portion of the wall above it… I’m really drawn to a mushroom gray color so I’ve narrowed it down to these.

powder room colors

1) Benjamin Moore’s ‘Rockport Gray’ is in the lead followed by 2) ‘Coastal Villa’ and 3) ‘Siene’ by Valspar, and 4) is ‘Heron Grey’ by Glidden.

Want a peek at more wainscoting projects?  Here’s our picture frame wainscoting and our board and batten project too.

Applied this beadboard wallpaper in any of your spaces?  What do you think?




  1. This looks so great! I was thinking using beadboard wallpaper on the back/side of my kitchen peninsula, but I’m not so sure now that you mention potential dings – it’s a high traffic area! Maybe I’ll just go with the real stuff since it’s a small area. Thanks for sharing, and I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of your new bathroom!

  2. I’ve been thinking of installing bead board in my downstairs bathroom and your showing the wall paper might just be easier than trying to cut the board around the fixtures!
    thanks for sharing the information..

  3. This looks so pretty. I LOVE it. I would love to do this in my powder room downstairs. How do you know how high to go up the wall with the wallpaper or beadboard? Is there a formula with how high the ceiling is? Thank You for the tutorial.

  4. What lovely grey color choices. I struggled with grey because I didn’t want it to look “dirty”. I finally went with with a greige color from BM — Hot Spring Stones. I painted 1800 sq ft of my upstairs in this color. It’s lovely because it can read both warm and cool, depending on the other colors it’s with.

  5. Your bathroom looks great, and you did a very nice job on the beadboard wallpaper! I used it once in a dining room for an inexpensive perk-up, and it was so easy to match up (and I’m definitely NOT a wallpaper hanger!) I’ll admit when I read your post, that I was surprised you used scissors to cut the bottom edge. I would have botched that for sure! An easier way is to use a utility (or X-acto) knife with a sharp blade, running it right along the top of the baseboard. It’s almost foolproof!

  6. Hey, Kate! So glad you did try it out and it worked fine for you on those walls. That was the only concern I had for you. Love the stuff and it really is so easy to apply. I’m still selling it in my online shop too and it has been a big seller for me last year. It’s the one product I feel so passionate about for ease of use and looks so great too. super job!! xoxo

  7. I have never wallpapered but have been thinking about it. It is just such a pain to take down though isn’t it? I guess I’m remembering the nightmare wallpaper on horsehair plaster from my first house I bought :)

    This looks real! Great job :)

  8. WOW! Either these pictures are doing the wallpaper a lot of justice, or it is VERY difficult to tell the difference- what a great alternative! BTW- I am digging the 4th paint color, but it might be a little close to what you already have…?

    • Hey Jamie, it’s funny lighting, but the color on the walls now is Silver Sage which is a light greenish grayish blue, but I’ve had that color for years, I think a punch of something darker will look good *fingers crossed*.
      Susan I thought a Xacto or box cutter would be better too, but somehow I was unable to make a clean cut with it, the foam tore so I opted for good ol fashioned sharp scissors, worked great!
      Rhoda does sell the product online so here is the link!
      Thanks everyone!

  9. I bought a roll of the beadboard wallpaper last year and then got caught up in other projects. It’s sitting waiting for me to get inspired to actually put it up–thanks for providing the inspiration! It’s going up as a backsplash in the kitchen, but I’m hoping I might have enough to do our half bath too. Love step 1 in your bathroom redo!

  10. I love bead board wallpaper. I have it in my kitchen and it clean so well. I would love to know what the current bathroom color is. It’s so pretty.

  11. Looks great! Can’t wait to see the whole reveal! This is my next project for my downstairs bathroom.

  12. Talk about a timely post…I had just TODAY decided that we are going to put beadboard wallpaper in our master bathroom. Now I KNOW it was meant to be! I will be going with a very light robin’s egg blue on top, like BM Blue Haze. Can’t wait to see your bathroom when it’s all done!

  13. Great job, sis! Must copy. As far as the upper wall, I’m thinking that #4 is a nice blend of 1 and 2 and not too dark considering the small space. I’m concerned that #2 might be too dark especially at night. Are you going to change the overhead light?

    • Hey sis! Thanks for the input and you better believe the fixture is getting switched, remember the old florescent like thing? Ugh!

  14. I have an insane question…do you think this would work OVER existing tile? I have ugly green tile in my bathroom and it’s in perfect shape and would be extremely expensive to pull down (old house, thick layer of concrete and chicken wire behind the tile)-do you think if I caulked in the grout lines I could wallpaper straight over the tile?

  15. Thanks for sharing this- I’ve always wanted to add beadboard around my house! And I highly recommend Rockport Gray- it’s what we have in our Master Bedroom/Bath– LOVE IT!

  16. This information is certainly timely… I have plans to use this wallpaper in the backs of my upper kitchen cabinets this weekend! I primer tip is good since I probably wouldn’t have done that! Can’t wait to give it it try.


  17. What great post and spectacular job.

    “If you have flat paint on your walls, you probably don’t need primer.”

    Just a heads up. If you have a full bath on want your wallpaper to strip easier in the future always add a wallpaper primer to the wall. Plus most wallpaper primers have a mold resist built into the primer

  18. Two coats of paint, even though you use white paint, will make the wall paper lose more of that spongy feeling. I’d also recommend getting a cheap wallpaper tray instead of a pail. It’s just a lot easier.

    Looks great! I love the chair rail you chose!

  19. I have been wanting to do this too. Did you order yours from Rhonda? I looked at something like it at Lowe’s or Home Depot and when I pressed my finger into it it left a mark. Is yours really durable?

    • Hi Laura, I used the Lowe’s version, although I’ve read the GRaham & Brown brand is more durable, but I have no basis of comparison. If you press your finger into it, it bounces back, but if you dig your nail deeply into it, you will damage it.

  20. Oh thank you so much! I was planning to do this very thing to my own powder room this month. I learned a great, great deal from your tutorial that I did not know before, especially to prime before adhering the wallpaper. I hope my project turns out as beautiful as yours has. Was it difficult working around the water hoses?

    • Hi Wendy, not too difficult, just a little more time consuming. If you carefully run your fingers along the edges of the vanity, you can trace the outline and carefully cut, which helps you get down to the plumbing and water hoses and be accurate with your cuts. Good luck!


  21. Love the wallpaper – it totally looks like the real thing, and it’s so classic!
    I thought I’d chime in about your paint choices, to let you know I recently used Valspar’s “Seine”. It’s a very pretty color – sometimes it looks gray, sometimes brown, even a bit of green shows through depending on the lighting (at least where I used it). However, I feel it ends up being much, much darker than the swatch. Well, maybe not so much darker, but you know when you do a whole room, there’s just so much more of the color than on that tiny swatch! Usually I’m good at remembering that, but I surprised myself this time, ha! Anyway, I still really like it, but it’s definitely a deeper, darker color.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents – can’t wait to see what you choose!

  22. I’ve been thinking of doing the real beadboard in my kids bathroom but now I’m going to do the wall paper. It looks so good. LOVE your site – I’ve been telling all my friends to check it out and have even posted several of your ideas on Pinterest. Keep up the good work!

  23. How bad would this look if your baseboards, doors and frames are stained a medium brown, not painted? I’ve only ever seen this with painted trim

    • Hey Lori, the beadboard is paintable only, not for staining (if that’s your question), but real beadboard panels can be stained, and I’ve seen beadboard painted all sorts of colors, it doesn’t have to be white!

  24. I’m really thinking of doing this in our bathroom reno. Subway tile and wainscot…couldn’t get any more appropriate for our 1899 house!

  25. Love how it turned out!!
    I had to tell you that I have all three of Valspar colors thru out my house (Coastal Villa, Seine, and Italian Leather) and I love them all. Coastal Villa (your #2) is the main color on my walls and I love it. Most of the accents in my house are white/cream with pops of color for accent and this is a beautiful color on the walls. It goes well with everything!!! I had a Christmas party and everyone had to know what the colors were in my house! What a compliment :) cant wait to see what you go with. I know what ever it is it will be beautiful!

  26. I have been thinking about using this product for the ceiling on my screened in porch, just because I think it would be easier and lighter than the real thing– do you have any idea if it would hold up to extremes in temperatures? It wouldn’t get ‘wet’ from rain, but it would have to withstand outdoor moisture, etc.

    Your bathroom looks great!

  27. It’s beautiful, Kate! Such a timeless, classic look. I actually have a LARGE room that needs some architectural interest. I’ve wondered if I should think about a faux board and batten treatment or beadboard wallpaper. From what you’ve pictured here, it looks to me as if the wallpaper might be a much quicker option. Hmmm. . . .

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  28. Wonderful! Amazingly realistic, too! Even though you didn’t ask, I like paint choice #2 best, because of its warm undertones. I’m quite impressed with your mite ring skills, too. Not surprised, but impressed!

  29. What great wallpaper. I think I will put this in my laundry room. Looks beautiful, I like the paint choice #1 Rockport Grey.

  30. Your bathroom looks great! I tried to do this last year and I swear my attempt turned more into a Three Stooges act than anything else! Haha, great job though, it looks amazing!!!!!

  31. Looks awesome!! I have had my eye on beadboard wallpaper for awhile for my laundry room, and am even more excited about the idea after seeing your post.

    I, too, have orange peel texture walls, and tried installing a “wall liner” (I’ve seen it at Lowe’s, but I ordered mine on Amazon) during a previous wallpaper project — it’s AMAZING! I’ve heard wall liner described as “spanx for walls,” and it’s so true! It completely smooths out the wall so that you can apply your wallpaper on top and have a wonderfully smooth finish. Although this project was before my blogging days, you can see the finished product here (see wall behind my dining table):

    Great job!!

  32. Hey, Kate! This looks beautiful!! Wallpaper scares me but you make it look so easy! I want to do this…and love the video!

  33. This is intriguing! I’m curious about the cost difference of using a wall liner (per Alison’s recommendation) and wall paper vs. actual bead board?

    • Hi Alyssa, great question… I found my paper at Lowes and one roll covered a 3′ x 8′ bathroom for $20. Beadboard panels vary in price, I believe they’re about $18 for a 4′ x 8′ sheet at Lowes, but I’d have to double check. I have no idea how much the liner costs, I’m guessing the same amount as a roll of beadboard, or maybe slightly less? In a big living room space or as a kitchen island surround, I would probably opt for the real panels, but on cabinetry or in a small bathroom like this, the wallpaper works great!

  34. I just put bead board paper in an open closet in my back hallway. The idea was to make it look like a mudroom area. It has worked out wonderfully well. I’m sold and am telling everyone I know who has the same decorating aesthetic about this great product. Love how your bathroom looks.

  35. This is fantastic! I’ve never seen beadboard wallpaper before. Where is it sold? I want to do this in my bathroom, now. Debra

  36. Wow, impressive, Kate! It looks gorgeous! You did a fantastic job. I am redoing a bookcase right now. I am thinking I might try the beadborad wallpaper on the back of the shelves. Might look nice and fun to give it a try! Love the colors you are considering. We have Silver Sage in my husband’s home office.

  37. Looks great! This is my first time commenting here (and I know the girls outnumber me), but your site has been a source of inspiration as I work on our little house. I had to end my lurking streak with this post since it really puts me in the mind of my most recent project–except our own half-bath had to be taken to studs and joists first! I used the plywood-panel beadboard with picture frame molding on top, but the wallpaper looks much easier. Wish I’d known of it a few months ago!

    Here’s my before-and-after (well, not completely done, but getting there):

    Before, in July:

    After, just before Christmas:

  38. I love it! What a clever idea. I had been wanting to do beadboard or board & batten in my sons’ bathroom, but was a bit intimidated by it. This is a great idea. Thank you so much

  39. I need to get out more, I didn’t even realize that they had started making beadboard wallpaper!!! Just this week I was thinking of adding beadboard to the bottom portion of my dinning room walls, but thought better of it since we do not own (nor does my hubby know how to use) the correct saws, etc. So this will be the perfect solution!

  40. Hi Kate, this looks amazing! Did you also add new trim around the baseboard where the wallpaper ends? I can’t imagine my cuts there looking too great! Thanks!

  41. It looks so real Kate..I would love this in my bath..must show the boyfriend..Thanks!

  42. I’ve never seen this wallpaper before but I simply love it. After my home burned down several years ago I vowed to never have wallpaper again but this makes me want to rethink that decision!

  43. Looks really nice. Isn’t it amazing what paint and a beadboard/wallpaper make. Like a new bath.

  44. Looks great Kate!! But then again..whatever you do is great:) I’m considering doing this in my ensuite..Love this look. And thanks again for your inspiration. Cheers!

  45. I am so very excited about this! I have plans to incorporate this in the cabinet in my powder room as well as all the way around NOW!! Thank you so much!! This flabbergasting idea was mentioned in my blog crediting your genius!

    • So far so good Holly but like I said, if you want to use it in a high traffic area, think twice, it can get damaged!

  46. Love this look and I would like to do the same for my guest bath. Where did you get the beadboard wallpaper? Thanks for the inspiration.

  47. Thanks so much! This is terrific as I was getting ready to use this in my laundry room. Wish me luck ;).

  48. Great info, thanks for sharing! We have Rockport gray in our dining room and also a smaller office and LOVE it in both spaces… It looks great against our white wainscoting in the dining area… Good luck!!

  49. Love this look! I have BM’s Rockport Gray in my white kitchen and LOVE it! Cannot even say how happy it makes me, every time I see it!

  50. 90% of my house is painted in Rockport Gray (only the master suite, my daughter’s suite and the library are different). I l.o.v.e. it. As in. I want to lick it off the walls. It looks awesome with the crisp white trim and dark wood floors. In some rooms in reads more taupe, in others more gray. I love that about it. It’s the perfect taupe, in my opinion.

  51. Question – you say to trim the bottom of the wallpaper after it has dried some. I would be worried about it ‘bubbling up’ toward the bottom and not being cleanly flush with the baseboard. Notice any issues?

  52. I had to pin this since I’m heading off to Lowes tomorrow to get some bead board wallpaper. I have a question about the corners … did you wrap it around slightly? You know like how they tell you to do when wallpapering so that the seam doesn’t end up in the corner? Or did you just line it up at the edge? And perhaps add some caulk to cover the seam?

    Thanks for your help.

    [email protected]

  53. Love this. I have a question. Does anyone know if this would work over primed (old 50’s pink) tile. Might be just the right solution if that would work. Thinking then I could go around the built in soap holders and toilet holders without it looking weird and trim the top with moulding. Just a thought.

    • Hi KD, that’s an interesting idea. It’s thin so my concern would be the tile and grout lines showing underneath, plus how well it would hold even to primed porcelain tile. You could certainly try it out, it’s about $20-$25 a roll if you’re willing to invest in a trial run.

  54. I just installed this for our kitchen backsplash this morning. It was so easy. I was going to use beadboard planks like I did for our island but didn’t want to mess with adjusting the outlets to account f

  55. I just installed this for our kitchen backsplash this morning. It was so easy. I was going to use beadboard planks like I did for our island but didn’t want to mess with adjusting the outlets to account for the thickness of the boards. This was the perfect option. I’ve never wallpapered a thing before. I was glad you had this tutorial because I tossed the directions by accident. Just keep in mind if you try this stuff that it’s like a foamish material, so if you bang it with something it will dent or gouge easily. I have 3 kids 6 and under plus I babysit, so I would not use this in a high traffic area with little kids.

  56. I was thinking about doing this on my kitchen cabinets. My cabinets are now oak. The real ugly late 80’s oak. I want to paint my cabinets white but first bead board the sides of the cabinets and around the island. Do you think this would work good for that spot? And if I do it, do you think I need to paint underneath the parts I wallpaper or just wallpaper it first then paint a coat over the wall paper?

    I hope that all makes sense.

  57. I can’t believe it! This is our powder room! We did the exact same thing except for the floor which is black and white tile. We have also done our bedroom with the paintable wallpaper. I like it but you do have to be careful about gouging it. Very nice!

  58. We are thinking of doing this in the powder room of a house built in 1906. The ceiling is at least 10′ tall. Is there a proportion between the wallpaper section and the above painted section that we should be aware of? such as wallpaper + chair rail = 1/3 wall height, painted = 2/3? Or should it always go above the sink so it doesn’t look broken up? Thanks!

  59. Did you have any difficulties getting the paper to stay stuck? In the picture looking straight on at the sink, is there something in the left hand corner. It looks wrinkled or is it just bad lighting ? Other than that it looks great. Thank you.

  60. So far so good. I finished my bathroom in about 4 hrs. I will put up chair rail and paint. Thank you so much for your instructions.

  61. How is the wallpaper holding up now that you’ve had it installed for a little while? Thanks!

  62. Still looks great Liz! The cat scratched at the TP roll when it was a kitten and scratched the paper too so I had to replace that one section but it wasn’t difficult (followed same installation process) and repainted the piece. Lookin’ good!

  63. Hi there. How is it holding up directly behind the sink? I was wondering if I should maybe prepare the surface or maybe trim it out differently? I have a pedestal sink and I’m worried that my children may get water under the paper where the wall and sink meet. Thank you :)

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