How to hang wallpaper
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.
Whether you opt for a striking pattern for a feature wall or a more subtle and muted color to paper an entire room, wallpaper is an excellent design tool to transform the look of a room without a huge amount of hassle. It’s also hugely flexible - choose to paper a room with the same print or focus on a bold color for a single wall or panel.
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 put up wallpaper like a pro.
Tools - where to start
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
- Application wallpaper brush
- A clean cloth or two (to smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles)
- Sharp stripping knife and scissors
- Plumb line measuring tool
- Tape measure and a pencil
- Stepladder to get to those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies
- Protective dust sheets for your flooring and furnishing
(Tip: Always allow for a little extra wallpaper - around 10% - to make sure you have enough in case of the odd mistake).
How to prep
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.
Make sure all walls are properly cleaned and thoroughly dried beforehand.
(Here's everything you need to know about wallpaper prep)
Wallpaper hanging instructions
The moment you’ve been waiting for - it’s time to get stuck in:
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.)
Trim off any excess wallpaper using your knife and ruler. Smoothen the seams and repeat for the entire wall.
Things to watch out for when wallpapering
Although hanging wallpaper isn’t hugely complicated, there are a few common mistakes that beginners make:
Not making sure the working area is well lit and well ventilated. Trust us, a little space and breathing room can make the entire papering process a lot more comfortable.
Papering around switches and sockets? Cover them up with a wallpaper strip and use your knife to cut around them to avoid sloppy edges.
Not putting in the prep work. Your walls should be free of grease, dust, bumps and cracks.
Read our wallpapering for beginners guide to fixing mistakes when hanging wallpaper and find out more about how to prep a room for wallpapering. Are you using self-adhesive wallpaper? Check out our tips on how to apply self-adhesive wallpaper to a wall and everything you need to know about self-adhesive.
And, you’re done! Step back and admire your masterpiece. You did that.