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Weird bathroom walls

We have a 80+ yr old house, and one of our bathrooms has some strange problems. A previous owner put drywall up (as far as we can tell), and then added luan paneling on top of that as a wainscot. Of course, this makes an uneven wall! The chair rail that was added does not meet the walls all the way around, and everything is loose! The luan goes around the tub, behind the sink (I realize that they used it as waterproofing!), and will be difficult to remove, plus, I have no idea what it looks like underneath! I am assuming that the drywall and luan were put up to disguise bad plaster walls. Our goal is to get rid of the really bad 80's wallpaper above the wainscot (I have begun removing it, and the finish underneath is very uneven), and make it look decent. This is a first floor hall bath, and is used more as a powder room (the tub is in a corner, and is used only for baths, no showers). Add the peeling popcorn ceiling, and it makes it awfully fun! My husband & I are on a really tight budget, and I need some suggestions to make the bathroom workable and nice-ish!
Note: Eventually, we will gut & redo the entire room. Right now, I just want it to be functional, and not 1980's country blue, dusty rose and white!

Re: Weird bathroom walls

I would pull the luan down, its better to have a better idea of what your getting into. You can then do a paint technique like a color wash, or a linen texture to help mask the walls uneveness. To do a linen look is really easy and cheap. Tape your walls into "strips" of fabric width sections. Take an inexpensive wallpaper brush, and cut it down to about 2-3" bristle length. Then if you have leftover paint in like a cream or taupe, thin it with a paint flow additive. Put a lighter base color all over with a roller then after it dries take your thinned paint and brush, roll a coat on then brush across the section till you've gone top to bottom, then stroke top to bottom vertically. Then move to the next section. Sounds complicated, but is really easy. If you go to Home depot ralph lauren paint has a how to guide for free, but they say you need an expensive brush and their expensive glaze. I think the paint additive to make reg. paint like a glaze is called flowtrol or something, any good paint store should have it. Good luck!!

Re: Weird bathroom walls

If the wall is rough under the wall paper chances are you are pulling off the paper covering of the dry wall. or it was a terrible mudding job. I would remove the paneling even if you have to cut around some fixtures. Then after the wallpaper is removed you can either skim coat seal with PVA primmer and a couple of coats of Kilz. Then you could paper or paint. If you don't want to go through the skim coating you could try embossed paper like those seen here RENSUP (this is a reference not and endorsement for this brand) You may be able to pick some up locally. It can then be painted. IMHO rather than doing all that work I would go ahead and do it right and gut it.

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