How to Hang Wallpaper

hanging wallpaperHanging wallpaper correctly takes patience and skill. Once you know the correct techniques for measuring wallpaper, lining up repeating designs and getting the wallpaper to lie straight it is easier than you might think.

Tools Needed

To hang wallpaper you will need:

  • Several rolls of wallpaper (use our wallpaper calculator and remember to factor in repeating patterns when working out how much you need)
  • Wallpaper paste
  • A paste brush
  • A wallpaper brush
  • Fold-out decorating table
  • Dust sheets
  • Sponge
  • Step ladder
  • Bucket
  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil
  • Utility knife
  • Scissors
  • Seam roller
  • An orbital scorer
  • A steamer or some wallpaper stripper

Time Required: The time required will depend on the size of the room you are decorating.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Before you begin, move any furniture away from the walls, and cover your soft furnishings and carpets with a dust sheet. Next, make sure that the wall is clean, strip off paper if it is in a poor state. If you need to do any paintwork in the room, do it before you start wallpapering. Once the wall is clean and dry, you can start work.

  1. Measure the height of the room at a few different points (just in case the ceiling or floor is not level. Add 10cm to the highest measurement, so that you have some excess left over for trimming.
  2. Check the paper so that you know which way around the pattern will go. Unroll the correct length on the pasting table, and draw a line across the paper at the correct point. Cut the paper, write the number 1 on the back, and then turn it over.
  3. Unroll another length and line up the edges with the first length so that the pattern matches. Again, draw a line across the bottom, cut it and label the second piece number 2. Repeat this process for several pieces of wallpaper.
  4. Measure the length of the wall and draw a line from ceiling to skirting board around 480mm from the corner of the room. This will allow for a 50mm overlap with standard sized wallpaper. Adjust the measurement if you will be using a bigger or smaller roll.
  5. Apply the paste to the wallpaper, or to the wall, as necessary. If possible, use a coloured paste (even coloured pastes do dry clear) so that you can easily tell if you have missed a spot.
  6. Place the first piece of paper so that its right-hand edge runs down the line you have just drawn. Leave 50mm of excess at the top of the wall, and a similar amount at the bottom. Lower the paper slowly and gently so that it does not tear or stretch. Once the paper is in position, smooth it from the middle to the edge, making sure to remove all the bubbles.
  7. Crease the top of the paper into the ceiling so that the edge is straight, and then carefully pull the top of the paper away from the wall so that you can cut along the crease. Brush the edge back into place.
  8. Lay the next length of wallpaper against the previous one so that the pattern matches. Once you have a few pieces in place, use a seam roller to smooth out the joins.
  9. Once the paper has dried, crease the ends into the join of the skirting board, and use a craft knife or orbital scorer to trim them down.

Tips and Hints

  • Use our wallpaper calculator help you to figure out how much wallpaper to buy. Buy a roll or two more than you need, so that you have some left over if you make a mistake when cutting or hanging the wallpaper Most DIY stores will allow you to return the extra wallpaper and will refund you for unopened rolls.  It is better to buy all of the wallpaper you need in one go so that the wallpaper is all from the same batch. In many cases different print runs have slightly different colours, and while you may not notice this when you are in the store, the difference can be very noticeable when you look at the paper hung on the wall.
  • There are several different kinds of wallpaper, and each type has its own hanging instructions. Check the wallpaper to find out whether you should apply to paste to the back of the paper, or whether the paste should be applied to the wall. Dry hanging wallpaper (the kind where the paste is applied to the wall) is much quicker and easier to work with than traditional wallpaper. If you are using "paste the wall" style wallpaper, apply the paste to one strip of the wall at a time, to prevent the paste drying before you reach the end of the wall.
  • When papering around corners, use a seam roller to ensure that the wallpaper adheres to both edges. Check that the wall is straight using a plumb line, and try to align the paper in such a way that you have a completely vertical edge when you start a new wall. This may require you to cut into the wallpaper on the previous wall to make an angled edge on the last strip of paper.

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