Home Improvement Q & A

Q & A–What Can Be Done With Etched Stripe Mirrored Walls? (This One Has Me Stumped!)

Last Updated on December 26, 2015 by Kristi Linauer

I got a very interesting question from a reader today, Elenir in Sao Palo, Brazil.  Here’s what Elenir had to say:

“I have striped mirrors on the walls of small powder room.  The vertical stripes are over glass (mirrors and opaque etched glass) so the surface is a whole wall of glass, and I hate it.  I don’t want to break them out of the wall, so I thought about covering them with wallpaper, or fabric or even painting them.  Could you help me with this?”

Elenir didn’t send a photo, but I can only imagine how busy a small powder room with etched stripe mirrored walls would look!  But as far as how to disguise the walls, I’m a bit stumped.

If the room was larger and the mirrored walls weren’t striped, but were just solid mirror, I would suggest something like this…

mirrored walls 1

via The Exchange

But I don’t think that would work on a mirrored wall with etched stripes, and certainly not in a small powder room.

The idea of wallpapering over the wall sounds like the best option in my mind, but I’ve never used wallpaper paste over something like mirror, and I’m also not sure if a wallpaper liner would need to be used so that the etched stripes don’t show through.

So, any advice for Elenir?  Have any of you ever wallpapered over a glass surface before?  It think painting over them would be the least viable option unless the entire surface of the mirrored walls were etched first so that the paint would adhere, and I can’t even begin to imagine how costly that would be!!!

Update:  Elenir sent a photo of her powder bath with the striped mirrored walls.

elenir mirrored wall

What do you think?

Update:  Y’all really came through with your suggestions, both here and on the A2D Facebook Page!  Elenir wanted me to give you a big, “THANK YOU ALL!!!”  It looks like she’s going to try Mary’s suggestion of priming the surface, wallpapering, and then painting over the wallpaper.  Hopefully she’ll let us know how it turns out!

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Randi at Dukes and Duchesses
    September 22, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I just covered small etched mirrors on a cabinet with beadboard … you can see it here: http://6dukes.blogspot.com/2011/09/bathroom-cabinet-redux.html.  Not sure if that would work on an entire wall.  Wallpaper might work but paint definitely won't because the etching will show through.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 22, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    I would love to suggest fabric with some serious adhesive spray, however, fabric in a bathroom may not be the best option. However, indoor/outdoor fabric would probably be a more durable option to withstand the use of a bathroom. So it may be worth a shot. Here's what they suggested here:


    Good luck!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 22, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    I was going to suggest the same thing Randi already said….beadboard.  If she could use the individual 4" boards instead of the whole sheet she would have more control and they wouldn't be as heavy so adhering them would be easier.  Another idea is to hang a curtain over the whole wall (as if it were covering a window).  A curtain from ceiling to floor could make a real statement in a small room.  That's my 2¢.  Lisa~

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 22, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Bless your heart, Elenir. Oof.
    I think the beadboard idea is a great one. You could also adhere wallpaper with the right adhesive. And while the stripes may show through a paint job, that might add interesting texture to the wall, too.
    If you don't mind the mirror, maybe etch the whole thing?
    For the record, my bathroom growing up was wallpapered in an avocado/orange/cream/mirror plaid. Heinous.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 22, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    I attached fabric over mirrors with hot glue–worked pretty well and when I wanted a change, everything peeled right off the mirrors!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 22, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    I would think that you could  paint them by scuffing it up with sand paper, then use a really good primer like Bin oil based and then paint.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kim Malkiewicz
    September 22, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    I'm pretty sure you can wallpaper grasscloth (a very textured wallpaper) over it.  I remember my folks doing it over their old paneling–yes, I'm that old!  You can also paint the grasscloth.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 23, 2011 at 3:24 am

    Although beadboard would look nice straight on, it will add thickness that won't look right where it meets the counter or door frame. Better to use a a high adhesion primer, let fully cure and finish with a heavy paintable wallpaper in a simple pattern like reed grass or basket weave. It will have the benefits of solid colour but enough weight and texture to mask the etching. 

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 23, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Before all that work I would try to use glass paint on a small area to see what that looks like.  I bet it would give the effect of using gloss and flat paint on painted striped walls that so many use for a suble stripe affect.  Embrace the stripes but with color instead of mirror… does that make sense?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating
    September 23, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    That makes sense to me, but I thought glass paint was translucent, and generally had to be baked on after application. 

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 23, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    I have a great suggestion that I have seen before but have never tried.  You can put fabric on the walls very easily with liquid starch.  You cut the fabric a couple of inches longer than the wall.  Dip it in liquid starch or spray both sides with liquid starch (I've read both methods used) and then smooth onto the wall.  After it dries go back and cut to exact size. 
    Nate Berkus recommends it so it must be worth trying 😉

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 24, 2011 at 5:08 am

    Use liquid nails to attach a piece of wallboard…a wood or tile look