Pattern Players: The Dos, Don'ts, Ins, and Outs of Wallpaper With Professional Wallpaper Installer Louise Jones
We're so excited to be chatting with Louise Jones, a Bay Area professional wallpaper installer. Even though we've been in the wallpaper biz for over 10 years now, there are always more things to learn about properly installing wallpaper. So, when our friend Becca Jones of XO Bakes mentioned that her mom is a professional installer we just had to get in touch for definitive, once and for all, answers to our wallpapering questions.
Hygge & West: Tell us a bit about your background and how Jones Paint & Paper came to be. How did you become a wallpaper installer?
Louise Jones: When I was in my mid-twenties, I was a stay-at-home mom and my husband was a paint contractor and we needed to make more income. He was always running into clients who needed paper hung. I was good with my hands so I started working with some paper installers and learned the craft.
H&W: What are your favorite and least favorite things about being a wallpaper installer?
LJ: My favorite thing about hanging paper is the challenge. Every paper is different. You need to read the instructions, look at the space you in which will be hanging, and determine how you want the pattern along with the seams to look on the wall. It makes all the difference.
My least favorite thing is when people don’t appreciate the craft of hanging paper and that each paper is different. It takes time and experience to execute a good installation—measuring the space, giving an estimate, prepping walls, learning about the paper, envisioning/laying out the room, etc.
H&W: Let’s talk wallpaper primer. Do you always use it prior to installation? Do you have a recommended brand? Why is it an important step in the process?
LJ: Yes, yes, yes! I like to use Zinsser 1-2-3 Water Based Primer. It creates a smooth surface for the paper and seals the surface so the paste will not penetrate into the wall material. It's also easy to remove the paper in case you need to do any repairs. I usually do a light sanding over the wall and then do the primer. The walls need to be clean and smooth. I wait at least four hours before I start to hang wallpaper.
H&W: What about wallpaper liner and sizing. When and why do you use it? Do you have a recommended brand?
LJ: Sizing is usually clear and easier to use than primer. I personally like the Zinsser 1-2-3 primer, as mentioned. My jobs seem to hang better using that. I think sizing does the same thing. It creates a sealer between the paper, paste, and wallboard.
If I am hanging over wood-paneled walls or a textured wall, I will use a heavy liner paper and hang it horizontally on the wall. Also, if I am hanging a paper and they recommend using a liner before installation, I will hang a lightweight liner. A true foil paper usually requires a liner beforehand.
H&W: What are the biggest installation mistakes you’ve made (or seen made) that can be easily avoided?
LJ: Wow, there can be a number of things. Here are some tips to avoid mistakes: First, look at a picture of the paper installed to make sure that is the look you want. Order a little more paper than you will actually need; I always do. I play with a piece of paper before I start an installation. Always read the instructions. If the instructions say to let the paper relax for 5 minutes, then let it relax. Hanging the paper too soon can cause bubbles and the paper can shrink on the wall as it dries and you will have a gap between the wallpaper drops.
H&W: Have you ever coated a wallpaper with protective coating? If so, what do you recommend and when would this type of protective coating be necessary or helpful?
LJ: Yes—Modern Masters has a dead flat varnish. It needs to be sprayed on with a fine finish tip with an airless paint sprayer.
H&W: Do you have any favorite wallpaper installations? Tell us about them.
LJ: I've had a lot of them. In general, I love hanging fun colorful wallpaper—something that makes you happy when you walk into the room. I like hanging kids' wallpapers and teenagers' rooms. They always want something different or something that they can come home to. I also love doing accent walls, and fun small-scale residential projects like bathrooms and powder rooms.
H&W: Have you noticed any new wallpaper trends lately? What are the most popular spaces for people to wallpaper?
LJ: A lot of homes are wallpapering ceilings, back sections of bookshelves, accent walls behind beds or in the living room, and, of course, powder rooms are always trendy.
H&W: Hygge loosely means living cozy, creating contentment, and appreciating small joys in life. How do you think wallpaper adds to the hygge way of life? How do you create hygge in your own home?
LJ: I love your wallpaper! It can be a fun, unique, colorful way to make a house a home. I especially love using color. Finding the right color in a wallpaper can really bring joy to a space and help me appreciate it even more. The right wallpaper can invite you into a space and show off the lovely things in a room.