How to refinish a dining room

  1. Discuss with your wife what color you would like the walls to be.
  2. Stand by passively while your wife changes her mind seven times.
  3. Agree with your wife’s final decision.
  4. Agree again with the decision she makes after her final decision.
  5. Attempt to peel off existing wallpaper.
  6. Discover existing wallpaper is not dry-stripable.
  7. Attempt to remove wallpaper with warm water, a sponge and a scraper.
  8. Discover that you’re digging gouges in the wall.
  9. Remember that a friend gave you the DIF that she used to remove her wallpaper.
  10. Apply DIF.
  11. Peel wallpaper off wall in two-inch bits.
  12. Run out of DIF.
  13. Go to hardware store and buy more DIF.
  14. Continue peeling wallpaper off wall in two-inch bits.
  15. Realize that you’re peeling as much drywall as you are wallpaper.
  16. Return to store and buy wallpaper scorer.
  17. Run the scorer over wallpaper.
  18. Continue peeling wallpaper off wall in two-inch bits.
  19. Go to hardware store and rent wallpaper steamer.
  20. Peel remaining wallpaper with steamer.
  21. Notice that the wall is pitted, gouged, torn and covered with tiny holes where you used the scorer.
  22. Stare at wall and wonder what to do next.
  23. Go to store to buy TSP pre-paint surface preparation.
  24. Clean wall.
  25. Find bag friend gave you when she gave you the DIF and discover that she also gave you a bottle of TSP.
  26. Apply Spackle to pits, gouges, tears and tiny holes in one wall.
  27. Allow to dry.
  28. Sand.
  29. Reapply Spackle to places that still aren’t smooth.
  30. Allow to dry.
  31. Sand.
  32. Come to the conclusion that Spackle isn’t the answer.
  33. Contemplate hiring someone to plaster the wall or put up new drywall.
  34. Decide to put up new wallpaper instead.
  35. Discuss with your wife what pattern of wallpaper you would like to buy.
  36. Stand by passively while your wife changes her mind several times.
  37. Order samples of several patterns of toile wallpaper.
  38. Purchase paint for portion of walls beneath the chair rail.
  39. Paint the lower portion of the walls red.
  40. When the toile wallpaper samples arrive, tape them to the walls above the chair rail.
  41. Discuss with your wife which of the samples you prefer.
  42. Agree with your wife’s final decision.
  43. Order the wallpaper.
  44. Discover the style you chose is not longer in stock.
  45. Decide you don’t like the other style.
  46. Make a decision to purchase textured, paintable wallpaper.
  47. Discuss with your wife which texture you prefer.
  48. Agree with your wife’s final decision.
  49. Agree with the decision your wife makes after her final decision.
  50. Order the wallpaper.
  51. Discover the style you ordered is no longer available.
  52. Order your second choice.
  53. Receive notice that it’s on backorder until July.
  54. Cancel order.
  55. Go to wallpaper store and look at every style of wallpaper in stock.
  56. Tell your wife what you think about the various styles she looks at.
  57. Agree with your wife’s final decision.
  58. Purchase the wallpaper for $100.
  59. Take a day off work and apply the wallpaper to the wall. (For tips on applying wallpaper with your wife, click here.)
  60. With an Exacto knife, trim wallpaper neatly.
  61. Decide that your dining room now looks like a room in a Ramada Inn.
  62. Determine to live with it.
  63. While buying something else at a home improvement store, notice that textured, paintable wallpaper is available for $50.
  64. Sigh.
  65. Buy the textured, paintable wallpaper.
  66. Strip the wallpaper you just put up off the wall.
  67. Discover that only the outer layer comes off and that your wall is still covered with paper.
  68. Contemplate moving.
  69. Contemplate putting up the textured, paintable wallpaper over inner layer of previous wallpaper.
  70. Remove inner layer of previous wallpaper with hot water, a sponge and a scraper.
  71. Clean wall with TSP pre-paint surface preparation.
  72. Put up textured, paintable wallpaper.
  73. Go to store to buy paint and crown molding. Discover that the store doesn’t have the molding style you want, so come home with paint and crown molding corner blocks.
  74. Drive to another store to buy crown molding.
  75. Measure and cut crown molding.
  76. Search through garage for stain.
  77. Apply stain to crown molding.
  78. Paint textured, paintable wallpaper.
  79. Realize that textured, paintable wallpaper is very absorbant.
  80. Give textured, paintable wallpaper a second coat.
  81. Realize that two coats aren’t going to cover.
  82. Go to store to buy additional paint.
  83. Give textured, paintable wallpaper a third coat.
  84. Apply second coat of stain to crown molding.
  85. Wonder if crown molding needed a second coat.
  86. With an Exacto knife, trim wallpaper neatly.
  87. Put up crown molding.

And there you have it. This list is precisely what we did in our dining room without exaggeration. We started the project in February and finished it this past weekend.

It looked like this to begin with:

Here’s what it looked like right after we took the first wallpaper off:

And the wallpapers:

And all of that to get to this:

The finished dining room

Finished dining room

And since the house was a mess and we had paint cloths and ladders and paintbrushes all over the place, we went ahead and repainted the living room — which took less than two days. We still need furniture in there, but the work is done.

And so it goes …

(6/20/07)

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3 Responses to How to refinish a dining room

  1. Tim S says:

    Wow, is that a new doily on the dining room table?

  2. Roger says:

    No, we just refinished the old one.

  3. Jonathan says:

    I think you left out a few steps; like sobbing, gnashing teeth, and hitting head against wall.

Comments are closed.