Tuesday, April 29, 2008


The title of this post comes from the fact that several of the walls in our new house are covered in flowers--in the form of wallpaper. Please help! What are your best tips for getting that stuff off?! I'm specifically wondering about using a steamer--anyone tried it?

Secondly, do you have any great advice on choosing paint colors? I feel kind of overwhelmed with knowing how to start. We'll specifically be painting my son's room, the guest room/2nd child's room (no, I'm not making any announcements!), and the basement play area. Are there colors or brands you love? Websites with fun kids' area inspiration? How do you narrow down the options?

And while we're on these subjects, I'd also love to hear any of your tips on moving/packing. Keep in mind we're moving locally--just one block away!

Thank you so much for your help!!


Jthemilker said...

Oh how exciting! We've moved several times. Pack your boxes and label by room so those can be delivered to the correct room immediately. Don't spend extra money on packing peanuts and the like. You likely have plenty of cushiony material at home already... Like when you pack your dishes, cushion them with dish towels. Other breakables... use clothes or bath towels, etc. Newspaper is great too, if you have some on hand. I'm not much help on the painting part. My hubby takes care of that and we have no children so creativity is at a mimimum. ENJOY all the wonderful changes!

thehomespunheart said...

Carrie - I've never tried a steamer - but, we had tons of wallpaper that needed to be taken off in our house as well. I found the best two things were spraying the wall with water (spray bottle) and scraping it off. I have a neat tool that worked great I think it was only a few dollars. I'll send you a photo of it. The other thing was a bottle of remover from Lowe's - you mixed it with water and sprayed the wall with that. I found that letting the water sit on it for a little bit and "loosen" helped too.

As far as choosing paint colors, some places (Pottery Barn does this and I'm wondering if Sherwin Williams might) have paint sample bottles. It is a small bottle that you can test out a square on your wall of that color and see how you like it before buying a gallon.

Another thought is to check on line for a place where you can upload your photo of the room and "test" colors on the computer for the walls.

I probably would not pack too seriously for just a block away - lots of things could be carried over rather than one big move. Just my thought.

Love you,

Lauren@Baseballs&Bows said...

I don't have any wallpaper removal tips, but I have heard that is a difficult job. Good luck!

A, B & C said...

For removing wallpaper my favorite trick is to use a scorer, available in the aisle with the other wallpaper removal gear. You score the wall first with the tool (which is super fun and very theraputic to use), then put the wallpaper removal stuff on and let it sit. The scoring (holes) let the liquid permiate the wallpaper and get to the glue. Granted, our wallpaper had only been on there for a few years, but when I returned, it was practically hanging off the wall in spots!

For paint, there are some great types out there for kids. I love the chalkboard paint, but due to expense, I'd just put it on a special spot of either your son's playroom or his bedroom. You could even put up a molding around the area to remind him (and friends) where the "chalkboard" is located. There are also some neat effects you can create with paint, which would be great in your guest room. Bella and Birch is one brand that sells these kits. It looks so neat and much more professional than doing it yourself.

I'll email you about packing... as you can probably guess, I have a lot of advice and this post is becoming a novel!

Anonymous said...

We moved just a year ago and it is still fresh in my mind! I suggest boxes from a wine and spirits store as they are very sturdy and some come with bottle dividers that work well for kitchen glasses. If you ask, they will probably save a number of them for you. Newspaper printing companies use huge rolls of paper. When they get toward the end of the roll (still tons left on it) they change rolls. You can ask them for the ends of the rolls. (These are also great for the kids for drawing.) They are great for packing breakables and are clean, unlike newspaper.

We like Behr paint from Home Depot. We painted every room in our old house and 5 rooms in our new house with it. For kids' bedrooms and play areas, I would recommend something with a gloss higher than eggshell (satin?. Marks come off the wall easier without taking off some of the paint.
We have found neutral colors to be best and more versitale. I am in love with a tan color that we used in 3 rooms. It is cozy, warm, and you don't have to worry about things "matching" so much.

Good luck on the move!

Katie said...

Carrie ~ I've never had the *pleasure* of dealing with wallpaper. :-) However, I know my sister-in-law has moved a couple of times and took some down ~ I'll ask her and get back with you. I bet if you go to the HGTV website ~ they probably have a lot of good tips there too.

As far as moving ~ if you have any friends with trailers, it goes rather quick if you have a few folks to load and unload. We've always used my uncle's trailer with the help of a few men from the family!

Also, I know several discount stores around us are usually more than happy to get rid of cardboard boxes and such ~ and a great way to recycle their use! On a similar note, we've had Walmart donate several shoeboxes for a couple years to help out with our Operation Christmas Child program. So, if you are in need of boxes ~ go asking!

If you are looking for keeping anything in storage for awhile, we prefer using clear plastic bins so we can readily see what's in them.

Hmmmm...paint color choices... I love to go to Menards/Home Depot/etc and pick out those freebie paint pallet strips and bring them home to coordinate with other pieces that will be in the room. That's usually quite helpful. We used to buy *flat* paint for every room, but with children, the washable kind is nice.

Ok, I'm afraid that's all the tips I have in regards to moving that I can think of.

How exciting for you!! :-)

Hayley said...


Oh the memories of scraping off wallpaper.....good luck! Nothing worked real well for us, we just had to suffer through it! :) I hope you find something that works for you....we did use a scorer, and seemed to help speed the process along.

Paint colors.....Oh, I LOVED this part! I got a lot of inspiration from the HGTV website, there are links to Kids' room ideas.
If you google "Photos of Kids' Rooms" or "Photos of Play Rooms" you should get a PLETHORA of information....like that word, PLETHORA...the word of the day, right??? Oh, that makes me laugh!

MyHeartIsAlwaysHome said...

I like to use a wallpaper steamer. It is an investment though. I have used liquid starch in a spray bottle. You could google it for the right portions. I have also used just warm water. It works, but it does take longer.

For packing I make sure that I label all of the boxes carefully. Instead of just writing books on the box I put book/cooking/kitchen or books/gardening & crafting/living room.

We moved only 5 miles from our last home. We had an overlap and ended up having both places for a month. I was able to get the rooms ready and then move car loads of things one room at a time. By the time we did the big move with all of the furniture I had all of my kitchen cabinet items put away. I was also able to have the pantry and frig stocked. That really helped the budget since we didn't need to stop for a cold drink or sandwich.

Even though moving is lots of work it is also very exciting!

Krista said...

For moving, here are some tips I've collected that I haven't seen posted yet:

Pack books in small boxes. The cartons they ship reams of paper in work great...ask a printing company or the computer department at your school to save them for you. The smaller size means you can't overload the boxes too heavy to lift. However, the glue tends to come loose, so duct tape to reinforce the ends of the boxes has been helpful for me.

Pack a couple of boxes and label them clearly as "first ones open" boxes. These should have your basic living essentials: sheets, towels, dishes, silverware, pots, pans, kitchen tools. Just the survival stuff for sleeping and eating till you get a little more settled.

How great is it that you're only moving a block away! It's still labor intensive, but not as detailed as a cross-country move is (because all the stuff will shift and vibrate and settle in the boxes in the moving van).

Do you have pets? Be sure to move their bedding/litter boxes/food dishes with the "first to open" stuff so that their territory can start to get established as soon as you all start to settle in.

debra said...

I have used several things to take off wall paper- fabric softener and water (about 1/2 and 1/2-maybe a tad more water)in a spray bottle and the commercial wallpaper remover - it is blue - I can't remember the name but You can get it at Lowes or Home Depot. I like the water/fabric softener better since I feel like it's a bit less toxic and it smells better. I have found that they both work about the same. Get a 'scorer' too (in the wallpaper dept).I haven't used a steamer.
Paint - I LOVE PAINT! I usually use Behr (Home Depot). But I heard that Olympic (Lowes) now makes a low VOC paint. I haven't used it yet but plan on trying it. Benjamin Moore also makes a low VOC which I have used and like. As far as color, I usually suggest finding an 'inspiration' piece - comforter, curtains, painting and have them mix the color specially to match.
Sorry to write a book - have fun!! :)

Steve & Molly said...

Big tip on the paint (we just recently painted our entire upstairs), buy a bit and paint a small square on your wall to see if you really like it. You can NOT trust the paint chips to look on the wall like they do on paper!! We will be re-painting some b/c they turned out totally different than what we thought.

Also, we have learned a lot the hard way about moving over the years as we have moved 11 times in 12 years of marriage. Believe it or not, the hardest move for me was when we moved from living totally in the downstairs of our house to moving the bedrooms upstairs. We weren't overly organized thinking "we're only moving upstairs." We ended up "losing" things for a period of time b/c it didn't get done in an organized way. I was a wreck trying to find stuff I needed! (Of course, I had just had a c-section 2 weeks before, so it could have been the post partum emotions, too! ha!)

Here are the things that have helped us most. Mark boxes CLEARLY with room and a general idea of what is in them. Then you can put them right in the room where they need to go to be sorted and unpacked later. Also, pack everything that you will need for the first couple of days, including bedding, bathroom stuff (meds, too), clothes (belts, socks, shoes, etc.), snacks, paper plates and cups, etc., in a box that you can access easily so you will not be pressured to dig and unpack to find something on the spot. If you are going to store some stuff, # the boxes and list specifically what is inside. We did it on the computer in Word, so we can look things up in the search and go right to the correct box. Sorry for the long comment, but hope it is helpful.

While moving can be a bit overwhelming, it is also an exciting adventure! :) Enjoy!

Megan D. Crow said...

While I haven't painted a home yet (still in an apt!), I would look for low VOC paints, especially in the kids' rooms.


And I'd look for plastic tubs for moving...I have seen companies that will deliver plastic bins to use then pick them back up after (so no trash from moving)...but I can't find the link.

And just try to go light on packing as well as you can. Maybe pick up a few plastic bins on sale that you can reuse for storage later...or use blankets for padding instead of plastic bubble wrap, etc. Borrow bins, blankets, etc. from friends...since you're only going 1 block everything will be safe :)

My other tip is to get the kitchen set up first. When we moved I had a few days overlap between apts so I spent a couple days (by myself!) setting up my new kitchen so I wouldn't be tempted to buy pizza or eat unhealthy and could cook for the people helping us move.

Good luck moving! Congrats on the new house :)

Amy said...

Wallpaper really stinks. We still have one room left to go in our house. Take care when scoring the wall (as others have mentioned) because if the water softens the paper, you will want to score with a firm hand, but not too firm. We scored our drywall- no joke. :)

I was suggested going through magazines and seeing what colors you like. You can also take in comforters, pillows, or any other decoration in your house and scan that (at hardware stores) and it will come up with a color palette that will match those colors. Everytime I went to the hardware store, I would take a bunch of swatches home with me. Hold it up to everything in that room- cabinet, in particular, and make sure that it looks the same in that space.

If you go under the Organize section of our site, there is an Organized Move with a checklist. I compiled this after a difficult move here ;)

Hugs to you- such a fun time in your life!

Heather of Troy said...

I love painted walls so much that I actually painted my apartment. We did not ask for permission. I'm counting on forgiveness later. Or a fine. Either way, it was worth it!

I went with Behr paint this time because they were on sale. It's the cheapest home transformation but the gallons add up.

When I was in Chattanooga I had much better coverage and color consistency with Porter paint.

The colors I used for my apt turned out so well. They are from Sherwin Williams. The yellow is called "Friendly Yellow" and the green is "rice paddy." I would use them again, we like them so much.

Choosing the color is the hardest part of painting. You get that right and everything else is just fine.

I love using deep paint colors and decorating with lighter fabrics and furniture but that's not very practical with children, I'm sure.

One major tip I have is take home plenty of samples and choose the color at home. It will look completely different in the store and in the car on the way so do not change your mind in the store. It doesn't matter how it looks in the store. It might look awful because the lighting is so different.

You can get samples at Sherwin Williams for $5. Those can add up as well!

I love looking through Pottery Barn and Better Homes and Gardens for their paint colors. You can usually get the exact color or take the magazine to the store to match. Pottery Barn colors are available through Benjamin Moore Paints but remember you can get anyone to match a paint chip so you don't have to go with the more expensive paint.

HOWEVER, more expensive paint seems to cover better so that's one reason to invest.

Okay, I think you've gotten enough to think about! I can't wait to see what you choose! Wish I could come help. I love painting!

Ewokgirl said...

Buy a paper tiger, score the paper with it, spray it with some DIF (or you can use watered-down liquid fabric softener), then scrape. Use a steamer if it's too hard to get off.

We have ugly wallpaper in our kitchen. It was also in both bathrooms, and it was such a nightmare to remove that I haven't been brave enough to try it in the kitchen yet. I think the previous owners used super glue or something because wallpaper isn't supposed to be that hard to remove. A steamer is what finally did it for us.

Anonymous said...

Carrie, you've gotten some good suggestions. I think I still have some DIF (if it is still good) from when I was removing wallpaper. It is a chore, but it partly depends on how it was put up.

As for paint, as we talked about when you were here, colors on the chips will look darker on a big wall. I've heard of the little sample-size containers of paint which allows you to put some paint on your wall to try out before buying a lot of it -- good idea! Also, I would definitely get low VOC paint.

Have fun! Love you, Mom

thehomespunheart said...

I forgot to mention a great trick I learned while painting the ladies room. Put the paint roller in the fridge or freezer between uses (wrapped in plastic wrap) you won't have to clean it out each time, just let come to room temp and use. Love this!

mer said...


When I read this post yesterday I was completely blank, but since then I've thought of a few things...

Paint--I echo Monica's tip about putting your roller in the fridge/freezer! That is so handy when you're painting large areas the same color and need to stop. Also, invest in quality brushes and rollers. The better your roller/cover is, the better the paint will go on your walls. Same with brushes. I've had the same paint brushes/supplies for 10+ years.

Also...if you're not extremely picky about color, check for "oops" paint. At our Home Depot, it's on an end cap. Quarts are $1, and gallons are $5. It's paint that wasn't the right color for someone. I've found some great deals that way, though it definitely works better for smaller projects (bathrooms, or a single wall) because it's a limited quantity.

Moving--such a great time to purge stuff you don't want/need.

Someone said it already, but it's so nice to get your kitchen set up first.

Hire a babysitter for a couple of hours to get big tasks done more quickly. This was HUGE help when we moved here. Abbey was 17 months and into everything. It's amazing what you can get done in 2 hours when you're working alone!

If I think of anything else, I'll email ya!


gail said...

great post, and you got some great answers. on moving, make sure you set aside those things you want to lay your hands on right away: coffee maker, clothes to wear, brush/comb, etc i agree its great to get the kitchen done first, then the bathrooms and bedrooms.

declutter and get rid of stuff! you guys may not have as much stuff as we do, but everyone has extra stuff they don't need to move.

we moved one house away and it was the worst move we did. i spent one day while hubby was at work, walking stuff over. ohhhhhhh, my feet were killing me by that evening. its better to just pack it up in a trailer or truck and drive over and unload.

on wallpaper, i've had great times when the paper practically melted off the walls, and i've had nightmares where nothing worked. in my master bedroom here i think the wallpaper was on for more than 40 years! i ended up painting on a plaster stuff and doing swirls in it and then painting over it. it turned out beautiful and looks like a designer redo.

on colors: if your basement is dark, stick to lighter colors. if you have lots of light then you can go with darker colors which i love. one fun thing to do in your son's room is paint a basic color and then put up a wallpaper border, or paint a mural on one wall. i also liked the blackboard paint suggestion.

also with books, don't pack a large box! we made that mistake and then couldn't even lift the box!!! aaaccck!

take pics and post your fun adventure!

Anonymous said...

I don’t have any experience with the wallpaper so good luck there! About the paint colors...also tricky. My two tips for choosing colors are: 1) “Borrow” somebody else’s paint color! Find some friend’s homes that have done some painting and take note. I had a very difficult time choosing the blue and red colors. They turn out so different when painted in mass. I really like mom and dad’s dining room color red, so I got the name and brand that they used and did it myself. It made it much easier and less stressful to watch the paint go on, knowing I would like the finished product. 2) Use the paint swatches to your advantage. I would suggest getting the ones that have 5 (or so) colors on one swatch strip of the same color but different hues. Once you pick the color you like, move up the swatch (lighter) one place and use that color. If you go with the one you actually like, it will likely turn out too dark or too bright. We also learned that if you don’t like the color once it’s on a small part of the wall and dried, stop where you are. The color also changes in different lighting, so beware of that and if you have the time, paint a bit and look at it at all times of the day. One other thing – when we didn’t love the blue color in the guest bedroom, we were able to bring the paint back (Home Depot) and they added dye to move us down the rung of the swatch to a darker color. They probably can’t change it too much, but it worked for us. I don’t think they can make it lighter though, so that’s the other plus of getting the lighter color paint.

Regarding the move – using a wagon/stroller sounds wonderful! I would certainly just carry the dishes over on a nice day. It’s such a pain to wrap all of them, and if you use newspaper, it gets that grimy black residue all over everything. The last thing you want to do it spend hours washing the dishes when you get there. I would love to do a close move like this. Eric loads a car up – you receive it and put it away in the new house...or at least get the box into the appropriate room. As long as you pack things by room, and can place the box directly into that room, you shouldn’t have too difficult a time finding everything. Of course, you’ll have a box or two of miscellaneous “stuff.” Allow yourself those boxes and deal with them at the end. If it’s not too important now to have a designated spot, you shouldn’t need it too soon.

Jamie said...

I second all the people who commented DIF for the wallpaper. It helps a lot!

Deeapaulitan said...

Hi Carrie!

We've Done Wallpaper!! The solution that worked best ans was most economical was:

1/2 HOT water & 1/2 Liquid fabric softener in a spray bottle. Spray a 5' square area and let it sit 10 - 15 minutes. Then use a putty knife (I liked my 3" one) to pry up a bit, wiggle your blade under and scrape. It should come off fairly "easy" (that would be easy in terms of other methods of removal of the nasty stuff!). I used a dry Loofa to take off any residual flakes.
Also, I kept a basin of the same solution with a sponge in it close at hand so that if the wall seemed to be drying to quickly, I could just wipe it.

As a side bar: Most wallpaper glue has pestisides and other chemiclas in it, I wore gloves and sometimes a mask.
Blessings! ~D

Anonymous said...

I always used vinegar and hotwater in a spray bottle...worked the best for us...and a scraper; old wallpaper came right off