Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Refacing Your Cabinets and Beyond: Fresh Ways to Use Wallpaper in the Kitchen

by Melissa Bullard
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

Gone are the days when just the thought of wallpaper was enough to bring a shudder to the modern-minded and style-driven. Today's stylish, contemporary designs mean that wallpaper no longer has to remind you of your great-grandmother's pink and purple parlor, or a 70s-style kitchen with brown and orange paisley patterns. If you've found an attractive wallpaper, consider these ideas for using it and making it last.

Five Modern Ways to Use Wallpaper

  • Use wallpaper as a backsplash. Consider putting it up behind the sink or stove--anywhere there's a blank wall space that could use an accent.
  • Paper just one wall. People do it with paint all the time. Find a bold, attractive pattern and choose a wall you would like for a focus, and you can add visual interest to your kitchen without overdoing the wallpaper.
  • Use wallpaper to reface your kitchen cabinets. If you're interested in refacing your cabinets but aren't really sure if you want to choose a new style, refinish, or paint, consider using a subtle wallpaper on the flat panels of wooden kitchen cabinets. The outer frame can then be painted for a country kitchen look.
  • Add depth behind your shelves or cabinets. If your kitchen has open shelving or glass-paneled cabinets, place the wallpaper against the wall or inside the cabinets. This technique can add a bit of variety and color to plain cabinets and dishes.
  • Add some pop to a plain kitchen. For example, if your kitchen is black-and-white themed and you have large expanses of white cabinets and black countertops, a bit of floral or geometric black and white wallpaper adds interest, variety, and visual blending to the rest of the kitchen, tying it all together and softening the contrast just a bit.

Caring for Your Kitchen Wallpaper

However you decide to use wallpaper in your kitchen, remember that it is not be waterproof. If you place wallpaper where it's likely to be splashed or spattered, then you have a few options:

  • Install glass or plexiglass sheets over it.
  • Use splash-proof wallpaper. This is not waterproof, so spills and splatters should still be cleaned up or dried quickly, but in general it should last longer than regular wallpaper.
  • Use temporary vinyl wallpapers if you don't expect to be living in the house long, or if you simply like to change things up often.

Today's wallpapers can be sleek, delicate, bold, or a mix; using them sparingly can add a pop of color and design. So consider this designing with wallpaper as you renovate your kitchen.


About the Author
Melissa Bullard earned a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, then a Master's Degree in Spanish Language and Literatures from the University of Nevada, Reno. She has taught writing, literature, and Spanish classes, and is currently working as a fre

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