Cities In the Guest Room


Like a habit we can’t kick, every time we walk past the guest room, we have to open the door and stare at the wallpaper. It’s just so pretty! And shiny!

We only wanted to do one accent wall, as it was a way for us to create a zone for seating, a small light and perhaps a tiny table. This isn’t the first time we’ve done wallpaper in one of our homes, but it was the first time we’ve hung it using a traditional pasting method (our first foray came pre-pasted). We were a little nervous before jumping in, and although there’s always a bit of panic when the first strip goes up, it’s really not bad at all – in fact, let’s wallpaper everything! (Okay, maybe not everything. But most things?)

Keeping with a traveled, city-esque theme – this’ll be a cozy crash pad for out-of-towners, after all! – we picked up a roll of Cities Toile from Hygge & West. The quality is outstanding (bonus: it’s screen printed in Chicago!), and we still cannot get over how perfectly gold the metallics are, how smooth and matte the black runs and, well, we just love it!

Paint roller + tray
Wallcovering paste (1 quart per roll)
Paper smoother
Large sponge
Bucket of water
Wide putty knife
Knife with new blade
Measuring tape


WHAT WE DID. We did prep the walls first with a wallpaper specific primer, which claims to block mildew and allow for easy removal down the road – if and when. The room was cleared as a place to stage our paper, and after going over a tutorial from This Old House and the FAQs from Hygge & West, we felt ready to dive in!


ONE) After cutting a strip that was about 6″ longer than the length of our wall, we used a paint roller to apply the paste, making sure to get the edges, top and bottom. TWO) With the paste applied evenly, we booked the paper together and allowed it to relax for 5 minutes. It was time to put up the first strip!


THREE) We brought the paper up to the top left corner, and I used a paper smoother starting at the top and middle, while slowly and (very, very) carefully pushing out towards the sides to release air pockets. Scott helped by guiding the bulk of the paper down with me, and FOUR) we followed that up with a sponge and fresh water to wipe away excess paste. As air bubbles reappeared (because that will happen), I used the smoothing tool again and again until we were in the clear.


FIVE) Using the putty knife as my guide, I cut along the top, sides and baseboard to cut off the excess paper. As much research as I did beforehand, I couldn’t quite figure out if it was best to do this at the very end or strip-by-strip, but we opted for strip-by-strip. It made things much easier to move on to the next one!


Some takeaways that we experienced:

  • A damp sponge will do you better than one that’s been completely soaked, as we found that if our sponge was too wet, air pockets will begin their takeover. But if you get a small bubble or two? Don’t sweat it! The paper always looks much better dry than wet, and some of the tinier pockets will even fade away.
  • For lining up your seams: The wallpaper primer helps to buy you more time, and the paper does give a little stretch to help you pull those seams together. (Just no overlapping!)
  • Whether you’re laying your wallpaper on a floor or table to paste, remember to wipe the excess paste from your floor (or table) before measuring, cutting and pasting the next strip.
  • And if you royally screw up? Peel that paper back and start again from the top. You have time to smooth the paper once it goes up, so move at a pace that’s slow enough for your nerves, but efficient, too.

We completed our accent wall in about an hour and a half start to finish, but of course I realize that we were completing a simple square, with no need to go around corners, doors or windows. We did, however, have an electrical outlet installed before starting (there was only one outlet in the room prior!), so we needed to cut that out.

Speaking of which, we never in our lives thought we’d on purpose buy a black outlet and plate, but here we are:


This paper is so good! The black and gold is so stunning in person, and just like our dining room light, I feel as though photos can never do it justice. It doesn’t help that the room is empty – or that we haven’t yet completed our big headboard to balance out this wall – but the paper, while dark, feels so fun and fresh.


The thermostat wire has been tucked up alongside the closet, but it – along with the gas line – will be completely hidden once we add curtain panels. That is, after we add proper shelving and storage.


We only wish that a Sears Tower would’ve been added to the tally of cities (can you pick them all out?), but it’s such a dramatic-yet-light-hearted touch to the room our friends and family will be staying in! Up next? Headboard. Closet. Window shades and shelving and a rug and bed linens and art (and, and)!

26 replies on “Cities In the Guest Room”

  1. That wallpaper is so bold and stunning, I can imagine your guests staring at it for hours (and never coming out of the room!). It’s the perfect design for an accent wall too – it would overwhelm the room if you put it on every wall. But on that small area, it really stands out. I love the cities theme too! (boo, no Sears Tower?)

  2. I love it! I am sure the matte black is beautiful in person. I would love to try wall paper. Maybe in our bathroom. Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. Gorgeous! I have always wanted to put up wallpaper but it has always scared me just a little! This makes me feel a tad better! Especially when the outcome is as beautiful as this!!

  4. This is truly stunning. I LOVE this wallpaper. I’m hoping to be able to turn an old butler pantry into a half bath this year, and the more wallpaper designs I see, the more I want to try it out in there.

    1. I may be in the minority, but I love the look of wallpaper in a bathroom – and a half bath would be the perfect application!

      1. I was just thinking about how cute this wallpaper would be cute in a half bath/powder room! Sort of like the bathroom Daniel at Manhattan-Nest did for Ana Gasteyer, but smaller and maybe all the way to the floor.

        1. I loved that bathroom! I was just telling Daniel that he inspired to go bold with the black/gold combo. Until his recent wallpaper adventures, we were on the fence between this or the black/white. Gold wins every time, it seems!

  5. Love the wallpaper! And great job hanging it yourself- I’m always way too scared to attempt wallpapering! I had the Petal Pusher hung in my bedroom and the wallpaper guy actually covered my electrical plates with the wallpaper. Just a thought if you end up not liking the black electrical plate.

  6. Wow! It’s stunning – can’t wait to see what you do with the rest of the room.

  7. If only you knew a great photographer that has a shot of the Chicago skyline or maybe the Bean. And, if only same photographer that was amazing at selecting just the right brass or gold frame with maybe a black or charcoal matt to house the slightly tinted image that is treated in her very unique style and plays off the other wall colors.

    If you just had all of that you could pull in the world class city of Chicago with the whimsy of the wall paper by adding it, in a large format, to the adjacent wall.

    That is an excellent accent wall and is creating the “guest relaxing space” perfectly.

  8. I like having plenty of seating so everyone gas their own space and can relax.

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