How to Improve Furniture With Peel & Stick Wallpaper

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We have a lot of furniture from the thrift store and a few custom pieces like the one I share here–that just need a little something to give the piece of furniture style and a finished look.

We covered an old cabinet with faux marble paper a few years ago. So when my husband built our son a desk and it needed a finished edge–I decided to try faux wood peel & stick wallpaper.

The finish is more matte than contact paper, but the process to covering furniture with peel & stick wallpaper is very similar. Peel & stick wallpaper is a cost-effective and stylish way to improve furniture without replacing it.

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Last month I updated the style of our son’s bedroom. My husband Lee reused the wood material from our son’s old IKEA bed to build him a new desk! Everything was repurposed, including the plexiglass top we added to his desk (found it in the garage, leftover from our outdoor coffee table). My husband did buy the two front legs of the desk new–he got the legs on clearance, 80% off at the home improvement store.

Our son loved his new desk! But because the wood had been recycled, there were a lot of rough screw marks that made the edge look unfinished. So I shopped around online for a material that would cover the front edge without a lot of extra effort (at this point the desk was in his room, so moving it back downstairs to paint or stain it wasn’t ideal!). 

I am thrilled with how the peel & stick wallpaper turned out on the desk. It gives it a finished look and the color ties in his great with his blue bed frame. Scroll down for steps to covering a furniture edge with wallpaper! 

How to Apply Wood Contact Paper to Furniture

Step 1: Measure the length and width of the furniture you want to cover with wallpaper. We measured 3 rectangles for this desk: front, left, and right sides.

If you are covering the top and/or bottom edge of furniture, include extra material in your measurement so the wallpaper folds over the edges.

Step 2: Flip over the peel & stick wallpaper and mark where you want to cut using a pencil and straight edge. 

Step 3: With a ruler and an x-acto knife or box cutter, carefully cut the paper where marked in pencil.

Step 4: Repeat for each strip of paper you need. We cut 3 rectangles to cover the front & sides of the desk.

Because the blue color was important to the design, I was intentional in us cutting from the part of the wallpaper that would show a blue wood grain.

Step 5: Starting at the top, cover the furniture piece in wallpaper after removing the paper off the back. Gently smooth out big air bubbles.

Step 6: For a smoother finish try a hair dryer (low heat setting) to heat the surface then rub out air bubbles.

Step 7: Repeat steps 5 & 6 for remaining wallpaper panels. We covered the desk sides with contact paper first, and the front of the desk last. 

Applying faux wood contact paper to furniture is an easy way to improve the look to less than perfect furniture for a fraction of the price to replacing.

The contact paper tied in the look of our son’s desk with the nearby bed. And it covered a lot of rough screw holes. The paper is good quality and you have to look pretty closely to realize it is paper! 

This is a DIY project you can complete in an afternoon. The furniture wallpaper is easy to work with and cost us under $30 with a lot of wallpaper material leftover for the next DIY project! While I applied faux wood contact paper to a desk, it would also work well on cabinet doors, wood panels, or coffee tables.

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Julia Fain

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