Asked on Oct 13, 2013

Can I paint on just the raised surface of paintable wallpaper?

Elaine Simmons
by Elaine Simmons
I have a bar that is very long and high that separates my kitchen from the dining and family room. There is a knock down plaster at the bottom of it now. First it was painted green and didn't like it so painted it black. It still does not seem right. What I want to know is if I put some paintable wallpaper up, could I just hit the raised surfaces, or, could I paint it and then just barely graze the raised surface? There are so many to choose from out there. I did use it once for a kitchen backsplash and did that in a metallic. Can anyone answer my question? This is the rug in the family room so it can't compete too much with that.
  30 answers
  • The surface that the paper would be going on will make it difficult to properly paper over even when using the embossed paper your thinking of using. Its not so much for the field on the paper but the edges will need to be able to match. And with uneven surface to apply to, it will be difficult if not impossible to do. I would suggest that you perhaps paint the wall a color that you like, then paint it over using a darker color. Once dry, using a sanding block sand the overcoat off to bring out the base coat first applied. Because you have a knock down finish the high spots will be the base color and the lows the top coat. Once done, a clear coat of finish will preserve it. This can be done using spray paint so the continued painting will not make the surface to thick and ruin the textured look of the knock down surface. It also makes it easier to sand off the high spots to uncover the base coat you first applied. Take a sample dry wall board and put a knock down texture on it. Let it dry and experiment with different colors to see how it looks. You can use the colors from the rug and spray those colors in different areas as the base coat then cover with a top coat perhaps so when you sand the high spots off you get different colors showing through that would match somewhat the pattern on the rug. Another idea is to simply sponge paint the wall with the colors of the rug. In any case sizing paper or embossed wall paper will show the seams because of the texture your trying to avoid will not allow the edges to lay flat.
  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Oct 13, 2013
    Thanks for your reply. You might be right but I just stenciled a whole wall and although it was not easy, I managed to get it done. I would not have a clue how to get this knockdown texture. It was this way when we moved in here. The reason it came to mind is that I saw an open house where they applied regular wallpaper so I thought if they could do it with regular wallpaper, one could do it with embossed wallpaper. I have sponge painted before but they were very soft muted colors. I would never use spray paint in the house, by the way. It goes EVERYWHERE! I did an entire bathroom with a method that I made up myself. I have thought about doing this too but afraid it might be too much. My bath that I did this in was elegant with chandelier and old tub.
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  • GranArt GranArt on Oct 13, 2013
    your bathroom wall looks very cool! I see a mural on that bar. A little paint, a design and an overhead projector will do the trick. And of course some good brushes. Or stencil it. My dear friend used that raised wallpaper through out her kitchen and a bathroom due to the walls were in poor condition and we just rolled paint on it then hit it with a glaze after and it turned out nice. But I hate applying wallpaper, give me sheetrock or wood and PAINT! lollll
  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Oct 13, 2013
    Thanks Beth......I would be scared to death to try a mural. I have heard before about doing a design with a projector but I think I would need some guidance on that. If I stenciled it, what colors? I have that red wall in the dining area and the patterned rug. I also have an entry chest that is close to the bar that I will post a pic of so it all has to blend with everything else.
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    • GranArt GranArt on Oct 14, 2013
      @Elaine Simmons what are those pictures of in the dining room area.. that grouping
  • Shari Shari on Oct 13, 2013
    Oh! Oh! I think @Connie Nikiforoff Designs hit the nail on the head! I whole-heartedly agree the solution to solving the problem of this area not feeling right to you is to repaint your red walls and the island area a pretty muted grayish green. I even have a paint color suggestion for you to consider--a Behr (Home Depot) color called "Mountain Haze" (which you could have color matched in your favorite paint brand). My daughter lived in a place that had cabinets the color of yours and she used Mountain Haze in her kitchen. It was so gorgeous with the cabinets. I wish I had a picture to share with you but sadly, I don't (and she doesn't live there anymore). Mountain Haze would also look fabulous with your rug, your black counter tops, black dinette set and it would make a spectacular background for the black frames of your gallery wall in the dining area. I think a simple change in paint color (not wallpaper) is going to give you the "wow" you are looking for. :)
  • Francine Mosuk-Regnier Francine Mosuk-Regnier on Oct 13, 2013
    The black is very stark against the white flooring and too dark with the red walls (which are beautiful and create a very warm area).If you still like the red walls, I think I would go with a slightly darker shade of your cupboards in a golden wheat color on the bottom of the bar. This will pull the room together instead of being so jarringly different from the rest of your room. It will also pull the gold from your carpet as well. If you really want to try the paintable wall paper they do have the type that looks like board slats which would almost eliminate the need to match up any pattern..... just a thought. Have fun, don't be afraid ... it's just paint .... you can just paint over it again.
  • Reinventing Space Reinventing Space on Oct 14, 2013
    I think its the stark nature of the island that is the issue - I'd add some trim, etc. I found this on the web:
  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Oct 14, 2013
    Thanks everyone for the comments. The walls you don't see are painted a grayish green already. The base of the bar WAS painted the same green and I painted the black over. Here is something else I didn't say........when we moved here we had painters come in and paint so I can't really change the red because it was expensive to hire it done. In other words, my husband would have a fit. I really like the Reinventing Space comment but my husband is not handy at all! And to get a carpenter here is next to impossible. Francine, I think your suggestion is a good one too, especially since I have wheat colored curtains that I made.
  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Oct 14, 2013
    Here are the drapes in the living room.
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  • Waysouth Waysouth on Oct 14, 2013
    it can be done! My mother did something similar with anaglypta wallpaper (if they still call it that) . it was all a bit of a mistake really. First she gloss painted the paper to help keep the steam out, disliked the colour so emulsiond over it. then quickly wiped some off. This left the raised pattern in the colour of the gloss paint, and the background the colour of the emulsion. She didn't manage to get it perfected without quite a bit of practice, so we ended up with bathroom walls with varying degrees of pattern. The "perfected" section looked really good. Shame she didn't practice first! She was always coming up with painting ideas. Shame I never inherited any artistic genes.
  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Oct 14, 2013
    I do have some to practice on but it is not the design I want but will still give me an idea if it will work. I will take your advice and practice!
  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Oct 14, 2013
    Wow, they have a lot of designs.....but some are hard to see. Did you get a sample first? If I may ask, which one did you get?
  • Wanda.ll Wanda.ll on Oct 15, 2013
    Why not add some kind of art work there. Something to break up all that black and tie into all the colors in your rung. It is just to stark and blank. Even something in gold, silver or new rubbed bronze might help.That area is a canvas to put something on since you don't have bar stools there.
  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Oct 15, 2013
    I know it is too stark so that is why I was asking about doing a glaze/rub on it with embossed paper.
  • Eileen Dorsey Eileen Dorsey on Oct 15, 2013
    paint it the same color as your walls
  • Loribeth Loribeth on Oct 15, 2013
    I think you need some bar stools. It might be fun to paint some stools in the red color you have on your walls, or the green you have on your other walls. Then the black becomes a background/accent color.
  • Laura Kranz McDonough Laura Kranz McDonough on Oct 15, 2013
    I agree with Loribeth go with barstools
  • SurgChick SurgChick on Oct 15, 2013
    check out what I did to my Mom's island with some paint and fluting. I also browsed the internet for ideas.
  • Kat Tellez Kat Tellez on Oct 15, 2013
    Personally I like the black. I think the link that @Reinventing Space posted was a great idea. An alternative way to DIY it is to get large picture frames, paint them black and attach them to the sides. It will look something like the pics below.
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  • From My Cherry Heart From My Cherry Heart on Oct 15, 2013
    yes you can dry brush lightly over the embossed wallpaper. The key word is dry brush. Dip your brush in paint brush back and forth on paper towel or rag to remove most of the paint and hold your brush at an agel and very lightly drag your brush across the raised parts. It looks wonderful! Good luck!
  • Patty Johnston Patty Johnston on Oct 15, 2013
    I like the black. I would agree with bar stools and some kind of ornamental design with wood frames or corner pieces. You don't need your husband do it, you can do it yourself. It is very easy. I do most everything myself and my husband only helps when he finds it interesting. Being a DIY'er you save so much money and there are so many books, videos and internet learn how's out there for you to use or just ask. You can find old frames at thrift stores and yard sales and you can go to your local rehab store and find things to use also. Good luck and have fun.
  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Oct 15, 2013
    Patty, how would you attach the frames? I don't think I would want to use glue. Would a brad nailer work?
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    • Patty Johnston Patty Johnston on Oct 18, 2013
      I want to add that my husband and myself were never DIY'ers and then we invested in some rental properties and found it was way to expensive to pay someone to what we could teach ourselves. It is called trial and error when working on a rental and then you get better when you do your own home. Now we do just about everything and our son helps with the electrical when we need it. We build things from scratch and recycle old things and resell also.
  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Oct 15, 2013
    I didn't see the other replies and want to address them. We had great looking barstools but we took them back because the bar is so high that even with 30 inch stools, I felt like a kindergartner eating at it. Also, it does not leave enough room to walk when furniture is in the living area. So no, bar stools do not do it. Eileen, I DID paint it the same colors as my walls but I didn't like it so that is out too. I like the idea of the frames the best. Seems like it would be the easiest and I am all for that. Either that or the wallpaper idea with a dry brush. From my cherry Heart, I have dry brushed before so know what you mean to barely touch it. That is what I did in some of the pieces I put in my bathroom.
  • Audra Bailey Audra Bailey on Oct 15, 2013
    I just used some paintable wallpaper on a buffet table. I painted it after measuring it out and cutting it before I applied it to the table. I used satin nickel spray paint then used a clear coat of sealer from a spray can. I did this just in case the color i was putting on top didnt work out i could just wipe it off. I then applied it to my table with spray adhesive(worked better then the glue on the back) let it dry and went over with a smooth foam roller. Use a very light touch and dont put too much paint on the roller and it worked for me!
  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Oct 15, 2013
    Audra, do you have a pic of it? I would love to see it!
  • Audra Bailey Audra Bailey on Oct 17, 2013
    i sure do! i originally painted the wallpaper on the doors satin nickel but i wanted it to be more girlie so i used acrylic paint and went over it with a roller.
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  • Deborah Lafountaine Deborah Lafountaine on Oct 17, 2013
    I did this years ago with a roller I got from lowes that was designed to stay in top of the embossed wallpaper. Years ago meaning 12 years or so but someone that sells the wallpaper may sell. I painted my paper one color then on top used a metallic gold. Have you ever thought about having the bottom of your bar match your cabinets esp since your countertop is black and picking up color in barstools? Let me know about the roller. May still have mine.
  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Sep 16, 2014
    My final solution
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  • Fran Barrett Fran Barrett on Sep 16, 2014
    @Elaine Simmons I think the end result is brilliant! I totally love it. How did you do the faux finish?
  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Sep 16, 2014
    I used kind of a bright yellow paint for base coat and then I used a brush to apply the glaze which was brown paint mixed with glaze in a 4 to 1 ratio. I quickly blotted it off with rags. You have to work fast but it was pretty easy.