Have you ever take a good, long look at an archway in your house and wondered how it would look with some beautiful wallpaper slapped over it? Probably two basic types of homeowners exist in this situation: those who see an archway and would like to know how it could be improved with wallpaper yet think that wallpaper is hard enough to use as decoration when you’ve got a flat, straight wall and so give up.
And those who don’t give up.
I must admit I belonged to the first group. Between the fact that my wife loves to redecorate and remodel and the fact that I once worked for the single most creative interior decorator in the greater Atlanta area, I’ve had more than my fair share of dealing with wallpaper. I’ll be honest: when the idea was first proposed that the latest idea for home decorating would be to attempt to plaster wallpaper over the curved lines of an interior archway, I was not exactly hopeful. Or eager. But here’s the thing about home decorating: just when you reach the point where you are ready to throw up your hands at the very thought of a difficult decorating job, the skies open and the wind whispers one of the holy secrets of the design world.
Step one to decorating an archway inside the house with wallpaper is the application of the wallpaper to the curved architectural structure in such a fashion that the strips of paper are hanging down over the opening. Regardless of whether the wallpaper is going to be attached to both sides of the archway or just one, follow this advice. Once the wallpaper is applied, start smoothing down the strips and then pull out your sharpest set of shearing scissors and trim away all the excess as the point of the ceiling and the point of the baseboard. Then take those very same scissors and start trimming the wallpaper excess around the curve of the arch. You want to aim for a cut that is about an inch beneath the bottom of the arch.
Now cut some notches in the wallpaper following along the path of the archway. Be sure to cut the paper as close to the edge (to quote the Art of Noise) as you can whilst avoiding the potential danger of making the cut on that part of the wallpaper that will ultimately be on the wall itself. A special note of caution at this point of the process of wallpapering an archway: the tighter the angle of the arch, the more notches you will want to put into the wallpaper. The more expansive and relaxed the angle of the archway, the fewer notches will be required.
Press the flaps hanging down after you have cut notches into the wallpaper against the underside of the archway. When one of the rooms adjacent to your archway is also going to be wallpapered, you should wrap the wallpaper around the edge of the arch, too. Now get out a ruler or tape measure and take a measurement of the thickness of the archway. Cut two strips of wallpaper so that they are 1/4 th of an inch less than the thickness of the archway. The total measurement of the two strips should equal the distance around the interior section of the archway. Join the strips of wallpaper together. The most aesthetically pleasing result will be accomplished by joining them near the center of the archway.
Apply some vinyl-to-vinyl adhesive to the back of the strip of wallpaper and line it up along the inside of the arch. Keep a space of about 1/8 th of an inch at each edge and the smooth over the strip of paper using a brush. A moistened sponge will take care of any paste that oozes out and then you are done. Just like that you have beaten back the demon of an archway that needs to be wallpapered.