New Uses for Old Wallpaper

A few months ago I scored a major find at an estate sale in my neighborhood.  I found 2 large old wallpaper sample books for $1 each.  It appears that they are from the 1950’s or 1960’s, and they are chocked full of blast-from-the-past vintage wallpaper samples. Vintage Wallpaper Sample Books

Floral Wallpaper Sample Of course, it’s not like I can use it to wallpaper a wall or anything.  But it got my wheels spinning thinking of how I could incorporate these vintage snipits into my home.

I love this retro bandana print . . .

Vintage Wallpaper Samples

These are so sweetly nostalgic!

Vintage Wallpaper Scraps

Mid-century cool –

Retro Wallpaper Samples

Classic, just classic.

Old Wallpaper Sample

What to do?  Let’s get some inspiration.   I like this example from Better Homes and Garden.  What a cool way to customize an old dresser!  All you need is a little Mod Podge and your imagination.  And how about a very custom lampshade? Wallpaper Dresser via BHG

Wallpaper Folding Screen via BHG With larger pieces of wallpaper, you can cover a folding screen like they did here.

You can frame wallpaper samples very easily and very inexpensively.  Maybe I’ll do a cluster of framed vintage wallpaper . . . imagine the possibilities!

Wallpaper Art via BHG

Wallpaper Scrap Art via BHG Maybe like this!

Frame a picture with a vintage wallpaper scrap for an original work of art. Wallpaper Scrap Frame via BHG

Patchwork Wall of Wallpaper via BHG

Or maybe just go crazy with a patchwork focal wall of wallpaper samples to make a truly original statement.

This is the weekend project I decided to tackle with my vintage wallpaper scraps.  It’s an old doctor’s medicine cabinet – my husband bought it for me when we were dating.  I simply taped a few pieces of my wallpaper samples in the back of it and, voila, a lovely backdrop for my vintage book collection. Wallpaper Scraps in Cabinet

vintage wallpapered cabinet Other ideas I’ve had:  very special wrapping paper for that extra-special present  or decoupaged boxes for decorative display.  Oh, and wouldn’t it be absolutely precious to use it to wallpaper a dollhouse?  You could even cut out smaller pieces for area rugs and doll-sized wall art.  I would love to hear any ideas you have for new uses for old wallpaper samples.   I refuse to let this stuff go to waste!


  1. LaJuana Gill

    I like to use them for book covers. It can make a paperback book into something special and grouped together they make a statement. I also like to line drawers with them especially in the guest bedroom where they will surprise overnight guests. I once had a guest room that was so small that I put the chest of drawers inside the closet. I painted the inside of the closet a dramatic color and added a wallpaper border. It was always a delight for our guests!

  2. Jamie

    I have a cabinet much like your medicine cabinet that I think will be spruced up with some pretty paper very soon. Thanks for the idea!!

  3. Michelle

    I love these ideas! And your cabinet looks so cute. Can’t wait to find out what you do with those samples. Keep us posted!

  4. Heather

    Well, I love this idea. I would love to get me some vintage wallpaper! yeah! Love your inspiration photos ideas. Have you seen the wonderful decoupaged wall plaques in Anthropologie that are made with vintage wallpaper sections?
    Im glad to know you and your blog. I love your home on Apt. Therapy, i had seen it before and melted with desire and envy. your work is amazing.
    Maybe we can meet one day!

  5. Andrea

    I’m with LaJuana — perfect drawer/shelf liners.

    If it should happen that one day some crazy person has broken into your home and stolen all those 50s/60s atomic fab sheets from your books…well, you should probably come check my house.

    I only recently learned about glazing wallpaper. (New when you want it to look aged/vintage.) Perhaps I could do that for the backs of my closets, you know, rather than breaking into your home.;)

  6. kristiebarnett

    In my former home I hung wallpaper in a bathroom, then sanded it strategically. I had planned on glazing it to age it after that, but it looked so cool with the sanding I just left it like that. Super-easy! It definitely looked vintage (it was a floral).

  7. uslugi informatyczne

    I found your website from and it is brilliant. Thank you very much for sharing such an incredible post!!!!

  8. Strony internetowe Katowice

    wow ! great idea ! I agree with “uslugi informatyczne”- thank You for sharing this 🙂

  9. Instalacje Elektryczne Katowice

    lot of work but good effects. Thank You for sharing this and please, give us some more 😉

  10. Italfosa

    That looks very nice.
    We have the same medicine cabinet . It was already painted in white for decorating with wallpaper I bought in a special shop.

  11. strony

    This blog was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something which helped me. Appreciate it!

  12. Rose Purdy

    One of the things I love to do with wallpaper samples is make origami gift boxes for small items. If you don’t know how to do origami you could simply paste cutouts to plain gift boxes or bags. You could craft your own gift bags as well.

  13. Tina

    Make holiday decorations, coasters, collages, greeting cards, anything you can do with scrapbooking papers but these are heavier and more stain resistant. Also good for dollhouses.


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