“This should be ugly, but it really isn’t.”

“I have an idea.” These are the four most dangerous words in “Amy Speak,” and they are usually followed by Doug saying, “Uh oh. Let’s hear it.”

I’ve had this idea for YEARS every since I had wallpaper samples in my hand and thought “I wish I could just use them all.” All along since then, my thought was (and still is) that whenever I build a master closet, I would wallpaper the ceiling with wallpaper samples.

My rationale was –

  1. I like interesting things in closets, but you wouldn’t be able to see the walls because I’m kind of a clothes horse.
  2. Wallpapering a ceiling sounds fun, but also sounds terrible. But using little bitty pieces seems less terrible.
  3. It’s a closet. If no one likes it except for me, IT’S A CLOSET.

And as I was thinking about this $0 makeover for the bathroom, I thought…… why not? I have a million wallpaper samples that I’ve collected over the years. They are fun and colorful and bonkers. They don’t deserve to be hidden in a box, but if they are awful, I’m re-doing this bathroom for real in hopefully less than a decade….. so no risk, right?

Just a reminder – when I took off the wallpaper in the bathroom, I only steamed the top half. I left the bottom wallpaper on, knowing I was going to cover it. I did remove anything loose or in bad shape.

I wanted this to be a controlled chaos. First, I took all my wallpaper samples out. I used a paper cutter to cut them all to a 5.5 inch height (I didn’t worry about length). I wanted the samples to be in stripes, not completely random.

Once I had the samples cut, I sorted them by color. I had a folder of pinks, blue, purple, green, metallic, multi…… and then I counted each color. To no one’s surprise, I had a lot of teal and purple.

Then, I made an order. I wasn’t planning on following this STRICTLY, but used it as a guideline to make sure I didn’t run out of one color too soon, or use too much purple at once. And, then I made folders with a set of 21 samples to get through my pattern. I was TOTALLY BIASED and had folders of samples I loved the most (those would go on prominent walls) and samples that were just okay (those could go behind the toilet and next to the vanity).

To make sure I liked what I was doing, I laid them out to visually look at a row, and if I needed to change something around, I would.

I did not use wallpaper paste. I used Modge Podge, because I wasn’t sure if I would need to go back over the top (I didn’t) and it just felt like it would be easier for what I was doing. But since I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, it was just a guess. (Spoiler alert – it went great!).

I started with the wall behind the door – which felt like a good place to learn. The first piece, I painted the back of the wallpaper paste with the Modge Podge. This was a terrible, horrible, messy idea that I do not recommend. After the first piece, I just painted the Modge Podge on the wall, and pressed the piece on. I overlapped each piece by about 1/8 inch (and the overlap got glue), and I kept my paper cutter in the room to make any adjustments. And then I went over everything with a dry rag to get each piece evenly adhered. I thought it would be a mess and I would set the room on fire, but it was SO FREAKING EASY.

I am super sorry that I didn’t do video of me hanging this. But, I’m not smart, so I didn’t.

If you remember, there were a lot of critters in the previous wallpaper in the room. Please notice the bunnies!

I was strategic, and made sure that some of the bunnies survived! Four, to be exact.

“Find the Bunny” is a new favorite game for guests. Well, it will be once the plague is over and we can have guests again.

I was so proud of finishing the first wall that I took a selfie. It’s a pretty fun selfie background.

There are new critters on the walls now – I LOVE this fish.

And this bee! Or hornet. Or kitten? I don’t know. I’m not an entomologist.

So – now find them! And find THREE MORE BUNNIES! It’s a really fun game. (Also, peep that sconce shadow on the wall.)

Something interesting about this project – normally, when I’m working on something repetitive and tedious, I can only do it for so long. 30 minutes, MAYBE an hour, and then I need to do something else for a bit. I absolutely COULD NOT STOP this project. I was addicted to seeing how the pattern would come out. “Just one more row.” “Okay, one more.” “It’s not THAT late, I can do one more.”

Some rows had to be made narrower to make everything fit, but that works okay. I wanted it to look like tile, but not enough to do the math to make it all even.

Also, initially I was planning to just do the walls that had wallpaper before, and leave the white plastic “I’m pretending I’m tile, but I’m not tile” walls around the sink and toilet.” But once I started, there was no way I was leaving that white in the room. And I knew I would have enough wallpaper.

Doug took the tank off, which was a HUGE help.

This room was a disaster while I was working on it. And I was so happy. You can see my paper cutter on the floor in this shot!

After I finished! A little video tour. See if you can spot a monkey from the Laundry Room wallpaper!


It is this vibrant, colorful, texturally exciting space. And I hate the floor even more now. But, oh well!

Now, the wall, trim, and vanity colors make sense.

This is, apparently, how I quilt.

When Doug came to look at it, he said, “This should be ugly, but it isn’t.”

It’s so bonkers. And I know not everyone will love it, but it’s delightful to me.

I’m already kind of sad that it will go away someday, and maybe I should try and keep it / recreate it.

This wall was hard to do. I think some of the bottom corner isn’t totally perfect, but I have zero cares.

The “Fish with Teeth” is amazing! As is the chandelier underneath.

I know this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but my cup of tea of choice is color and patterns and texture – so it’s a raucous tea party in here!





  1. I love it. I would never replace it. Such a clever idea, I’m trying to figure out where I could do that in my house.

    On Sun, Jun 28, 2020 at 2:01 PM Vivacious Victorian wrote:

    > amyheavilin posted: “”I have an idea.” These are the four most dangerous > words in “Amy Speak,” and they are usually followed by Doug saying, “Uh oh. > Let’s hear it.” I’ve had this idea for YEARS every since I had wallpaper > samples in my hand and thought “I wish I could just” >

  2. 100% in line with Doug – I should hate this, but I don’t. In *your* house. 😂 However, I already see one I want to become a bathroom once we finally have a house we’re going to stay in for more than eight years. Or maybe Addie’s bedroom.

  3. Maybe you could try painting the vinyl floor, too?? I’ve seen online where people do that and they all say it’s super easy and surprisingly long-lasting.

      1. I painted the old vinyl floor in my bathroom with just a semigloss wall paint and it was fine, easy to clean and did not scratch or chip. I used it about five years until i could afford new flooring.

  4. I love it!! I wasn’t sure at first, but the finished product is awesome. It truly does look like a quilt!

  5. This should be awful but it is not. So fascinating! Great job working outside the box.

  6. I absolutely love it! How clever are you?! Amy, you are inspiring.

    I wouldn’t cover up that wall if you paid me- great job!👏👏

  7. Mod podge! I remember my Mom using that for decorating projects when I was a kid in the 60s. The bottle label hasn’t changed a bit. I love the finished wallpaper collage — it’s beautiful and artistic. And I would love to play “find the critter” in the bathroom. Your creativity is inspiring.

  8. Love your patchwork “quilt” walls! I’m a quilter and can totally relate to all the bits and pieces and favourites throughout! And people think we’re crazy! 😉

  9. Love it! I’m wondering how it would look with a black floor… Maybe paint or peel and stick tiles?

  10. You surprised me. I love the purple wall, but the trim in combination with it not so much. Then this crazy quilt of wallpaper–well, had I been asked I would have probably said NO. But you’re right. It works! It makes the wall paint and trim work. I love it!

    Someone else suggested painting the floor, and that’s my suggestion as well. Chalk paint should adhere to it, but I know you’ll research for what’s best. That will violate your $0 budget, but chalk paint can be made with latex mixed with calcium carbonate powder.

    Creative and super cool. Thumbs up for a great job!

  11. I have painted the vinyl in our kitchen three times. This time because it is a little worn, the other times because I wanted a change. How else can I change the flooring in a whole room for $35 dollars or less. My favorite floor paint is called Flor. It comes from the Benjamin Moore store. It just glides on. It is a joy to work with, and is holding up to our large dogs on the steps. I will put it in the kitchen next time some of the family leave for a weekend. The big box floor paint is good to, but not as much fun to work with.

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