A stylish, well-maintained home is within everyone's reach with Martha's simple DIY decorating solutions.
Q: How can I fix curling wallpaper seams?
A: Most wallpapers last at least 10 years, but a host of factors may cause the edges to curl sooner. First, read the instructions that came with the wallpaper to determine which adhesive to buy. (Most modern papers readhere with a lightweight vinyl paste.) To prepare the wallpaper, moisten the underside of loose edges with a warm, damp cloth. Then, brush a thin layer of adhesive onto paper and wall. Leave the paper to stretch for 15 to 20 minutes before brushing on another thin layer of adhesive. When it becomes sticky, press the paper with a seam roller, working toward the seam. Before adhesive dries, remove excess with a damp cloth.
Related: Our Favorite Wallpaper Projects
Q: The walls of my living room are covered with wood paneliing. Can I paint it?
A: Of course. It's a smart move if your aim is to brighten a dark room. Prepare the space by moving furniture to the center of the room and covering it with a plastic drop cloth; protect the floor with rosin paper. Wash paneling with TSP-PF, a phosphate-free heavy-duty cleaner that will help the paint adhere. Spackle holes and scratches. Once the surface is smooth, use a shop vacuum with a brush attachment to remove dust. Right before painting, wipe the area with a tack cloth. Then, apply one coat of 100 percent acrylic primer: With a two-inch angled nylon brush, outline the paneling, and paint recesses. Use a nine-inch-wide roller with a quarter-inch nap to prime the remainder of the paneling. Once dry, top with two coats of latex interior paint, following the same method used to apply primer. Let surface dry between applications.
A: One way to accomplish this is to warm the entire decal with a hair dryer for a few minutes. The heat will loosen the adhesive, and you should be able to lift it. Use a plastic spackling knife to gently scrape off the applique, starting at the corners. (This tool is appropriate for porcelain fixtures as well as fiberglass ones, which tend to be more susceptible to scratches.) If some portions of the decal prove troublesome, try saturating the area with hot vinegar or Goo Gone, a product made from a citrus-based oil that's good for unsticking all manner of things. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then use the spackling knife once again. After removing the applique, rinse the tub floor with clean water, and dry with a cloth.