Choosing and Hanging Wallpaper

Hanging wallpaper can be an inexpensive way to change the appearance of a room. If it’s your first time you may find it a little daunting, but here are some tips to help you along.

Dark blue wallpaper with large floral pattern
Dark papers and large patterns will make a room seem smaller…
Nerine Wallpaper, Blue from John Lewis
Grey vertical stripe wallpaper
Vertical stripes are good in rooms with a low ceiling because they will make it seem taller…
Cole & Son Croquet Stripe Wallpaper, Soft Grey from John Lewis
Polka Dot patter wallpaper
Small patterns and bright colours open up small rooms and make them seem larger…
Harlequin Bon Bon Wallpaper from John Lewis

When you are choosing your wallpaper, take the size of your room into consideration.

  • Dark papers and large patterns will make a room seem smaller.
  • Vertical stripes are good in rooms with a low ceiling because they will make it seem taller.
  • Small patterns and bright colours open up small rooms and make them seem larger.

If your walls are in poor condition a bold pattern or a textured paper will hide the flaws. A patterned border can add a touch of elegance and you can now get borders that you can simply peel and stick, straight from the roll.

How Much Wallpaper do You Need?

If you are about to start papering a room, figuring out the amount of wallpaper you need, may seem daunting, but it’s not as difficult as it looks to calculate. Most wallpapers come in rolls that are 520mm wide and 10 metres long, so just follow these four steps:

  • Measure the distance all around the room, including doors and windows.
  • Divide the distance by 520 to get the number of lengths you need.
  • Measure the drop to the skirting board; add on 100mm if you are using a paper with a large pattern. Divide the total into the roll length (10 metres). This will tell you how many pieces you will get from each roll.
  • Divide the number of pieces per roll (step 3) by the number of pieces you need (step two) to find out how many rolls you need to buy.
  • If you’re just papering one feature wall then, usually, 2 rolls will be plenty.
  • If unsure, buy more paper rolls than you will need and take back any unopened ones for a refund. It always better to have too much because you may not be able to buy from the same batch at a later date, which will nearly always mean the colours will be slightly different.

Doing the Job

Before you start hanging the new paper, it’s best to remove any old paper that’s still on the walls.

  • Turn off the power and remove electrical outlet covers.Make sure walls are clean and dust free.
  • Patch any holes with filler.
  • Start your papering over a door or window.
  • Use a plumb line to draw a vertical line so you can be sure your first piece goes on straight.
  • Don’t have your seams meet in a corner, overlap corners by ½ inch.
  • Make sure to cut each strip slightly longer than you intend it to be, to be safe, then trim it when you are finished.
  • After cutting your first strip, roll out a second strip next to it, adjust it to where patterns meet, then cut it to the same length. It works best to cut four strips at one time.
  • For wallpaper that is not pre-pasted, paste must be purchased in either pre-mixed liquid form, which costs slightly more, or in powder form in which you will need to mix yourself.
  • Use a large paintbrush or roller to paste the back of your wallpaper working from the ends to the middle.
  • Fold the paper in thirds folding the top half to the middle of the sheet, paste to paste, and the bottom to middle, keeping the edges aligned. Be sure not to crease the strip. This is known as booking and will allow the paste on the paper to properly cure.
  • Let the paste sit for three to five minutes before hanging.
  • Unfold the wallpaper and place your first piece against the wall covering the space you have measured and position it against the ceiling. An overlap of about an inch at the top and bottom is best.
  • Align the wallpaper with your pencil guidelines you marked earlier, holding it about one-fourth of an inch off the line.
  • After placing each sheet, press gently with your hands to make the paper smooth (make sure each sheet’s pattern matches up with the next).
  • Use a wallpaper brush to remove ridges and air bubbles working from the middle to the edges.
  • Flatten the seams with a seam roller after about 15 minutes starting with the middle and working toward the ceiling and floor.
  • Trim the excess paper from the ceiling and floor of the wall with a sharp knife using a straight edge as a guide.
  • Wipe the seams with a clean, damp sponge.

Before you know it, your room will be transformed into a new space. Once you have finished the wallpaper, you may want to add a border around the middle of the room or around the top of the wall to create a more elegant effect.

See Also
Designer wall stickers
Give your rented home style without losing your deposit
Hallway mirror
Pro Styling Tricks to get a Magazine Worthy Home