how to8 min read

How to hang wallpaper and where to start

Lick Botanical 02 wallpaper strips hanging on a rack

WordsMaha Elley


Bought yourself a roll of gorgeous wallpaper and still procrastinating on the actual hanging process? We’ve all been there. The good news? Hanging wallpaper isn’t quite as complicated as you might think. It’s time to stop nervously eyeing up those rolls you got and start to hang. Follow our step-by-step guide and learn how to prep a wall for wallpapering, how to hang up wallpaper like a pro, and how to fix common wallpapering mistakes.

The tools you need for wallpapering

Start by gathering the wallpapering tools:

  • A roll (or three, depending on the space) of wallpaper
  • Wallpaper paste/ adhesive (opt for one that’s already mixed to save time) 
  • An application wallpaper brush (and a smaller wallpaper brush for wallpapering corners)
  • A clean cloth or two (to smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles) 
  • A sharp stripping knife if you need to remove any scraps of old wallpaper (get a wallpaper removal steamer if you’ve got lots to remove) 
  • Sharp scissors (steer clear of old and dull blades to avoid rips when trimming wallpaper edges)
  • Filler to deal with any holes or gaps
  • A piece of sandpaper to sand down any bumpy bits
  • Plumb line measuring tool. Get things straight with this handy little tool.  
  • Tape measure and a pencil to work out where to trim 
  • Stepladder to get to those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies  
  • Protective dust sheets for your flooring and furnishing
  • Protective mask and safety glasses. Protect your eyes from dust and your lungs from paste fumes by covering them up.

(Tip: Always allow for a little extra wallpaper - around 10% - to make sure you have enough in case of the odd mistake).

How to prepare walls for wallpapering

Once you’ve collected the above, kick off with the prep steps: 

  • Remove any existing wallpaper (yes, even the tiniest of scraps) with a stripping knife, taking care not to damage the plaster behind. Struggling with a few stubborn strips? Soak with hot water and a sponge to loosen up before stripping away. 
  • Inspect your walls for any cracks or gaps. Get rid of any holes with a filler and sandpaper down for an even finish.
  • Unscrew any fixings. 
  • Scrub your walls with warm soapy water and a clean sponge to get rid of any grease or grime before you start to hang wallpaper. Dirt can make it more difficult for wallpaper to stick and it can also lead to a bumpy look.  Leave to dry overnight before you get to hanging.

How to hang wallpaper

The moment you’ve been waiting for - it’s time to get stuck in:

Step 1: measure your walls

Pick an area of the wall with no switches or sockets and measure the length. Add 20 centimetres for leeway and use your tape measure to mark the back of the paper where you need to cut. Fold wallpaper over on itself and cut your first strip. 

Step 2: mark your wall for guidance

Using your plumb line measuring tool, mark a vertical line on the wall near, right next to where the strip should go. You’ll use this line as a guide when hanging the first strip. 

Step 3: apply your wallpaper paste

Time for the application process. Deep breaths. Use your brush to apply the wallpaper paste to the surface in even layers. We’d recommend starting at the top and working your way down. Perch on your stepladder to reach the ceiling if you need to. 

Step 4: position your wallpaper

Once you’ve pasted the wall, position your wallpaper to check alignment. If it all looks straight, apply your first strip to the top and start to smooth it out from the centre to the edges using a clean cloth.

Top tip: no need to panic if you’re not happy with the positioning. Lick wallpaper is designed for easy removal so you can reposition and replace to your heart’s desire. 

Step 5: trim and tidy

Trim off any excess wallpaper using your knife and ruler. Papering around switches and sockets? Cover them up with a wallpaper strip and use your knife to cut around them to avoid sloppy edges.

Step 6: smooth

Smooth the seams as you go for the best finish. Always smooth out from the centre of the strip to avoid air bubbles. 

Top tip: be gentle. Don’t put too much pressure on it or the paste may squeeze out from the edges.

Step 7: repeat!

Repeat this process for the entire wall.

Step 8: sit back and relax

And, you’re done! Step back and admire your masterpiece. You did that.