Vintage Wallpaper - Bathroom Redo

My husband and I built our home over 20 years ago and I have since updated and changed many rooms. Our bathroom, however, was still in its original condition and I decided last year that I was more than ready for a redo. During the summer I got antsy and ripped the wallpaper off the walls to kick-start the whole process. After much debating on my part, I picked a bathroom pattern from my vintage wallpaper collection, matched the paint color, and painted three of the four walls. My plan was then to cover the fourth wall in the paper. Before I started paperhanging, though, we wanted to rip up the vinyl floor and replace it with ceramic tile. Last weekend my husband finally had some free time to tackle the floor project--which turned out great! So then it was my turn to finish that fourth wall. But when I measured again, I realized that one roll wouldn't be enough to cover the whole wall! Then I started to panic: What do I do? Should I change patterns? No, that would mean I would need to change the paint color. Besides, I loved this pattern. Should I paper a different wall instead? No, this was the one that would look the best. Finally, my youngest daughter suggested I wallpaper only part of the wall--a perfect solution!

I went ahead and painted the bottom third of the wall and was finally ready to begin with the paper. In my next post I will share with you how to hang vintage wallpaper.

The almost finished bathroom re-do! We still have some trim to hang.


Vintage Wallpaper Border - Home on the Range

Today was such a beautiful day with temperatures in the 60's. I was hoping to get outside and enjoy it more, but I have been chained to my desk, knee deep in papers, working on our income taxes. I am such a huge procrastinator that I always wait until the day before our tax appointment and now I have no choice but to finish.  

Since I couldn't actually be outdoors today the best I can do is share with you an outdoorsy, cowboy themed border. I call this one Home on the Range.


Pictures of my Vintage Wallpaper Collection

I thought I would share with you a few pictures of my vintage wallpaper collection.

This is a row in the main building.

Another row of wallpaper and some small borders.

Some floral patterns.
The boxes on top hold flocked wallpaper from the 1970s.

Part of my wallpaper sample book collection.


Vintage Wallpaper-Bathrooms in the 1950s

Love them or hate them--I am big fan, myself--bathrooms in the 1950s were known for their use of tile and color. Ceramic tiles were not only used on the floor, but usually one-third to two-thirds of the way up the wall as well. A colorful wallpaper would have been added to finish the look up to the ceiling. Two of the most popular colors for mid-century bathrooms were pink and green and common wallpaper designs for that era were fish, seashells and driftwood. 

This pattern would have been typical of a wallpaper found in a 1950s bathroom.


Vintage Wallpaper-Hearts and Flowers

Happy Valentine's Day! The other day I was searching through my collection for a rose pattern to post in honor of the holiday and instead I found one with hearts. It reminded me of grade school and how much fun I had decorating valentine boxes. I would find a cardboard box, wrap it in red and white paper and start cutting hearts like there was no tomorrow--no such thing as too many hearts for a valentines box!

Hearts and Flowers Vintage Wallpaper


Vintage Wallpaper - DIY

I am a do-it-yourselfer. My philosophy is why pay someone for a job that I should be able to do myself? Not only do I love using my own creativity on a project, there's nothing like the satisfaction of a job well done when it's all finished! 

A few years ago I decided to change the color of our living room. I painted the walls a neutral beige and changed the curtains, but the old blue couch just didn't go. There was nothing wrong with it, however, except the color. I am a big fan of Rachel Ashwell and the whole shabby chic look and I thought why not sew a slipcover! I bought about 12-13 yards of white duck cloth, cut pieces to fit, and then pinned them together. I added some piping for the edges and finally started to sew it all together. It took some time, but it really wasn't that difficult and when it was finished, I loved it! I have a throw draped on it with some colorful pillows and when it starts to look a little grungy, I just throw it in the washing machine and it comes out fresh and clean.

So my point is don't be afraid to tackle a household project--it could turn out better than you expected! This same thought applies to hanging vintage wallpaper: it's an easy way to add that little bit of uniqueness  to your home. Does it seem like too much too soon? Start with a smaller project first. I just listed several one of a kind rolls on eBay, perfect for a do-it-yourselfer!


Vintage Wallpaper Memorabilia

Since I collect vintage wallpaper it would only be natural for me to collect the memorabilia to go along with it, right? Well that is what I tell my husband anyway, he he. Some things that I have from wallpaper businesses of long ago are thermometers, rulers, matchbook covers, calendars, sample books and signs. I also try to find old random family photos from the early 1900s with wallpaper in the background. They sometimes have the coolest patterns such as large cabbage roses or big geometric designs.

This is one of the signs that I have in my office. It does have a little rust around the edges, but I don't mind. It has raised lettering, plus it is says High Grade Wall Papers which makes it sound extra special.


Vintage Wallpaper Trivia - Children's Rooms

In the early twentieth century children's rooms were often decorated with a frieze or a very large border. It frequently depicted nursery rhymes or scenes from foreign lands and was used to educate as well as entertain. The frieze was usually placed on the wall just out of the child's reach with a washable wallpaper below and possibly a different pattern above. A narrow shelf might have been installed below the frieze to hold toys or other collectibles.
1940s vintage children's wallpaper


Retro Vintage Wallpaper

When I was three years old my parents built a new house right across the road from where we lived. It was a three bedroom home with paneling on the walls and hardwood floors throughout. My mom and dad bought a few new pieces of furniture before we moved in and the rest was easily carried from the old house to the new. Although I hardly remember the other living room furniture we had throughout the years,  I cannot forget the bright orange couch and green chair we had in the 1960s. The fabric on these had a nubby texture that was both soft and slightly scratchy, too. I loved to stretch out on that sofa and read my favorite books.

1960s retro wallpaper
Now, every time I see this wallpaper pattern it reminds me of growing up with our orange couch. Happy memories!


Vintage Wallpaper/Mr. Rooster

This bantam rooster is the newest addition to our flock of backyard chickens. Mr. Rooster is very protective of his hens, even though they are almost twice his size. He doesn't seem to mind my husband, but when it's my turn to shoo them into their pen for the night, he keeps a beady eye on me and almost always makes a charge for my leg. Luckily, he is not as big as he thinks he is and causes no harm. . .or, so I thought. Yesterday evening Mr. Rooster was already in the pen and up on his roost. As I walk underneath him to fill their water pail, the next thing I know he is beating me on the head with his wings. No scratches on him or me this time, but next time I will be better prepared.

If you are like me and have a love of all things chicken, (although I am not feeling the love for Mr. Rooster today!) then you will appreciate this pattern from the 1940s. I recently found six rolls of this one and couldn't pass it up.
Roosters on Yellow