How to wallpaper a room

Difficulty:

Easy

A well-papered wall creates a stylish finish to a room and with so many patterns available is a great way to stamp your own personal style to your home decor. However, papering can be a tricky prospect and one which may DIY decorators avoid for fear of getting it wrong. 

With these simple tips, you can cut out some of the hassle of papering your walls, and ensure an excellent finish that you can be proud of.

Wallpaper paste

1. Preparation

Preparation is key to making a success of your decorating project so before you begin hanging the paper, you need to complete a few preparatory tasks. 

  • Remove existing paper from the walls. A wallpaper stripper will make this task much easier and will ensure all paper is removed leaving no debris
  • Prepare the surface, ensuring the wall is smooth and free from debris that is likely to show through the paper; 
  • Hang lining paper in order to create a more even surface 
  • Seal freshly plastered walls with wall sealer. This ensures the surface is not porous and aids adhesion
  • Remove any fixtures from the walls, leaving wall plugs in place. Place a matchstick in the hole so it can be easily found and reused later.
  • Make sure you get wallpaper with the same batch number. This will ensure the patterns match correctly once hung.

2. Measure and cut wallpaper

Using a tape measure, measure out the height of the wall. Add 100mm to the length to allow for any fluctuations in the wall height, particularly if papering a large room. Lay out the paper on a pasting table and measure the length, marking the cut line horizontally with a pencil. Cut the first length. 

 

Next, turn the paper pattern side up and unroll the next length, lining the pattern up. Cut several lengths, ensuring the patterns and lengths match. Make sure you number each length with your pencil and mark where the top is to avoid mis-matching during the hanging.


3. Apply adhesive

Mix the wallpaper adhesive according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then lay the paper pattern side down on the paste table. You may need to use a piece of wood to weigh down one end to stop it curling back while you’re pasting. Keep the long edge of the paper flush to the side of the table to avoid any paste ending up on the patterned side of the paper. Apply the paste to the middle of the paper and brush out toward the edge flush with the table. 

Concertina the paper, carefully folding at the pasted end so that the paste doesn’t end up on the front of the paper. Continue sliding the paper up until adhesive has been applied to the whole length.


4. Hang the first length

It’s best to start in a corner and work away from the window. However, if you are papering a feature wall, you should start in the centre and work outwards. Check the width of your lining paper and subtract 50mm to allow for an overlap between sheets. Mark where you have measured on the wall and then hammer a small nail near the ceiling in line with the mark. Hang your plumb line from the nail. Mark along the plumb line with a pencil and then use a long rule to draw a straight line along the edge. 

 

Line up the right hand edge of your first sheet along the plumb line. You’ll have 50mm at the top and bottom of the length that will hang over to the ceiling and skirting board. When fixing the paper to the wall, hold at both sides to avoid it dropping and tearing or stretching. Use a paper smoothing brush to smooth out the surface and clear any air bubbles beneath the paper. Work from the centre outwards and ensure the paper doesn’t slip away from your vertical line. 

If necessary, wipe away any residual adhesive from the surface of the paper with a damp cloth. With the paper in place, use the blunt edge of your papering scissors to crease the paper into the wall edges. Then fold the paper back and cut along the crease. Use your papering brush to smooth the paper edges back into place.


5. Hanging the remaining paper

Line up your next length against the first one and repeat the steps above, ensuring the paper doesn’t slide away from the first length and the pattern continues to match as you go. When two or three lengths are in place, use a seam roller against the joints to make sure the paper is flush. When papering over the matchsticks, hang the wallpaper over the top and use the matchstick to pierce the paper. 


6. Hanging around a radiator

Hang the wallpaper as usual and cut the paper around 150mm below the top of the radiator. Then cut another length from the bottom of your length to fit beneath the radiator, measuring 150mm from the bottom of the radiator. Use a radiator paint roller to push and smooth the paper into place. 


7. Hanging around a corner

Measure and cut the paper so that it reaches slightly around the corner. Measure the distance between the last length hung and the corner, measuring at the top, middle and bottom of the wall. Take the widest measurement and add 25mm then cut a length to your required measurement. Hang the length as before, allowing the extra 25mm to hang over the corner. 

Hang your plumb line on the next wall at a distance equal to the width of your next length of paper. Mark along the line and then make a vertical mark using your long ruler. Hang the next length in line with the vertical line, overlapping the paper with the corner sheet.


8. Hanging around door frames and windows

Measure the door frame and cut into shape before hanging. Add 50mm to allow for an overhang. Then repeat the stages above for trimming the edges and ensuring the paper is flush to the door frame. 


9. Hanging over light switches

Hang the paper straight over the light switch and lightly use your paper hanging brush across the light switch to create an impression on the paper.

Then use a pencil to mark the corners of the fitting. Pierce a hole in the paper at the centre of the fitting, then cut outwards to the corners, though not all the way. Fold back the flaps and cut, ensuring an overhang of around 5mm around the edges of the face place.

Partially remove the face place and carefully ease it through the hole in the paper, then smooth down the paper beneath the face plate before fixing the plate back onto the wall.