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3-d effect geometric in 1/2 bath that I just papered on Brant Point

If Walls Could Talk 3

Half baths and dormers and ceilings, Oh My!

Papering the ceiling in a small bathroom makes it cozy.
Beautiful, wallpapered, dormered bedroom-designed by Barbara Eberlein
Fenway Roomset in the Indigo colorway by Bradbury & Bradbury.
In this dining room I used a wide border and coordinating colors.
Embossed wallpaper backsplash painted to imitate copper.
Mural of the Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel- Post restoration by Murals your

In my experience as a paperhanger one of the most frequently wallpapered rooms is one half bath or as it is euphemistically referred to “The Powder room” and known to realtors everywhere as .5

In the February issue of House Beautiful there are several articles on wallpaper.


“A bathroom is a perfect place to experiment with exuberant wallpaper, and its small size keeps costs reasonable” pg 55.


I have often had clients say “It’s only a small bathroom, it should be easy.” However the .5 is generally the most difficult room to hang as almost every strip of paper has something to cut around or is going around a corner, window or door, or behind the toilet or around plumbing.  It would be easier to remove everything from the walls and room, but that is not always possible and that is where the skill and experience comes in.


Many houses on Nantucket have their bedrooms upstairs in dormered spaces. This is a space that can be visually enlarged and unified with wallpaper as your eye follows the pattern. This is probably the second most difficult place to hang but it is worth it and I always love a challenge.


Something that can give you a big bang for your buck is a border. Wallpaper borders are relatively easy to hang and can add height to a room or can be used to outline windows and doors, or as a visual “Chair rail”-No carpentry skills needed. Borders can be used alone on in combination with other papers. Wallpaper was originally not pasted to the wall but put up with tacks and borders were developed to hide the nails and the seams.


Wallpaper is imitative in general. It was developed for the gentry to mimic the tapestries on the walls of the wealthy. As styles changed to leather, damask and wood carvings, wallpaper evolved.  Flocked papers were developed  to mimic fabric,there are embossed papers that can be painted to imitate tin on ceiling or backsplash. Wood veneers with cloth backings can be hung with wallpaper paste. You could even have a digital print of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel to look up at.


There are almost no limits to what can be done with wall coverings so open your minds and start planning.

Other articles in this series:

Nantucket Preservation Trust has designated June as Preservation month. There will be a wallpaper symposium in June with Panelists Melanie Gowen (Chronicle Captain of Design and Lifestyle), Tom Ayars(me)and with Audrey Sterk and more panelists to be added.  Time and location is still to be determined.

Please comment so I know that you are there or email me if you have any questions or suggestions. 

Tom Ayars has been hanging wallpaper professionally since the early 1980s. He attended wallpaper school in Columbus, Ohio and then did a two year apprenticeship with a third generation paint and paperhanging contractor in Ithaca, NY.  Tom and his wife Kathy purchased a cottage in Nantucket Town in 2010, after being longtime visitors to the island, and are transitioning his business to Nantucket from New Haven, CT. Tom is passionate about paper and can be reached at  [email protected]