Real Life Rental Challenge: How To Temporarily Wallpaper Staircase Risers

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Camille Simmons)

This week Camille is sharing her real life rental challenge and how she transformed her dingy carpeted entryway stairs (with her landlord’s permission!) into something more welcoming, yet still temporary. If you want to see the first post, check out the before photos here.

Removing wallpaper can be a terrible task and it’s the last thing anyone wants to deal when they move. This tutorial uses a temporary adhesive that works well for wallpaper in smaller pieces. It took just a couple hours to complete the process. The trick is to create a continuous cut pattern that looks great from the bottom of the staircase, all the way to the top. Using a beautiful Pineapple Wallpaper by Rifle Paper Co. from Hygge and West, we successfully redecorated our staircase.

(Image credit: Camille Simmons)

What You Need



  • Tape Measure
  • Straight Edge
  • Wallpaper Roller
  • Razor Blade or Box Cutter


(Image credit: Camille Simmons)

1. First we measured the height of the stair risers, know that they would require narrow strips of wallpaper. The risers varied a little bit in height so we jotted down a list of all the measurements.

(Image credit: Camille Simmons)

2. We carefully cut strips of paper using a long piece of plywood as a straight edge. A yardstick or T-square is a much better option.

Important Tip: Since the width of the wallpaper roll was approximately half the width of our staircase, we measured and cut the entire right side so that the pattern would not be interrupted vertically.

(Image credit: Camille Simmons)

3. To apply the wallpaper, we used Loctite spray adhesive and covered the entire back of the wallpaper strip. Each strip was sprayed one at a time so that the glue doesn’t try before application.

Tip: Use a drop cloth to protect your floors.

(Image credit: Camille Simmons)

4. After the strip is sprayed with an even coating, press it up against the stair riser. It’s easy to move the paper around if it gets a little crooked.

(Image credit: Camille Simmons)

5. We originally bought a wallpaper kit, think we would use actual paste. Luckily a few of the tools came in handy, like this tiny little roller. It helps to smooth out any bumps or air pockets, especially around the edges.

(Image credit: Camille Simmons)

6. Once the right side was completed, we repeated the measuring, cutting and gluing process for each step.

Important Tip: Before cutting the strips, make sure the pattern matches the first side. This was a little tricky to do this after the right side was already glued, so I recommend cutting all the pieces for both sides before gluing anything to the stairs.

(Image credit: Camille Simmons)

7. Use an object (we used a sanding block) to push the wallpaper and create a crease between the step and the wall.

8. Using a box cutter, we sliced off the excess wallpaper and gently peeled it off the wall. We let everything dry for a while and reapplied glue to any corners or edges that didn’t adhere well. The whole process left very little mess and clean up, mostly paper strips and tools. The paper is very easy to remove, just peel away without removing any of the paint underneath.

(Image credit: Camille Simmons)

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