How to Hang Wallpaper

If you’ve never wallpapered before, then don’t worry. This handy guide will help you create a perfect finish.

Tools You’ll Need

Before you start wallpapering, make sure you have the following tools to make the process as easy as possible:

  • Step ladder
  • Wallpaper adhesive
  • Pasting brush
  • Pasting table
  • Tape measure
  • Plumb line
  • Wallpaper scissors
  • Trimming knife
  • Paper hanging brush
  • Sponge
  • Seam roller

Before You Start

Ensure that you have enough wallpaper from the same batch to complete the job and that there are no obvious signs of damage.

When wallpapering around electrical sockets, plugs or switches, make sure that you isolate the electrical power at the main fuse box.

Remove any furniture that might get in your way and cover the flooring with dust sheets to protect them.

Step 1 – Preparation of walls

  • Old wallpaper should be removed to ensure a smooth finish.
  • Surfaces will need to be clean, smooth, dry and free from any loose material.

Removing old wallpaper:

  • Some wallpaper may peel away easily. If you can lift the corner then it may peel away if you lift gently.
  • For other types of wallpaper, you may need to soak them first with warm water. To do this use a sponge and gently wet the wallpaper with warm water. Allow the water at least 10 minutes to absorb before attempting to peel back the wallpaper.
  • Once the wallpaper has been removed, your wall will need to be thoroughly cleaned to ensure that any small bits of wallpaper have been removed.
  • Leave the wall to dry completely before adding your new wallpaper.

Step 2 – Lining Your Wall

  • This is an optional step, however by lining your walls you will achieve a higher quality finish. Lining paper can help to cover any imperfections in your walls and give a smoother finish.
  •  Lining paper should be hung horizontally around the room so that the vertical seams don’t show through to the wallpaper.
  • If you do use lining paper then please leave it to dry before hanging your wallpaper.

Step 3 – Cutting the wallpaper

  • Start by measuring the height of your wall and then add 10cm to this. This allows for trimming. Don’t assume that this measurement is correct for the whole of your room, especially for older houses. Take a measurement at regular intervals.
  • Use wallpaper scissors to cut your first length to the measured height.
  • On the back, mark the top of wallpaper with the word ‘Top1’. This is to avoid hanging any pieces upside down.
  • Use this first length as a guide to cut your second, taking any pattern matching into account. Mark this length ‘Top2’.
  • Check each length against the next for any colour variation and do not proceed unless you are satisfied.

Step 4 – Pasting the wallpaper

The information below assumes that you are using paste-the-paper wallpaper.

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing the wallpaper adhesive.
  • Place the lengths of wallpaper face down on the pasting table.
  • Using the pasting brush, apply paste by working down the length of wallpaper from the centre to the edge.
  • Once you’ve thoroughly pasted the paper, lightly fold the pasted edges together. Allow it to soak for the recommended time as stated on the label.   

Step 5 – Hanging the wallpaper

  • Use the plumb line and a pencil to mark a vertical line from the floor to ceiling. Start from the corner on a wall adjacent to a window. If you’re creating a feature wall such as on a chimney breast, align the centre of the wallpaper with the centre of the wall and work outwards on both sides.
  • Take your first length of wallpaper and unfold the top half. Position this onto the wall at the ceiling, making sure you allow about 5cm extra at the top to trim. Make sure to match the edge with your vertical line.
  • Use the paper hanging brush to brush the paper down and out from the centre to the edges, expelling any bubbles.
  • Once the wallpaper is in position, trim off the excess at the top and bottom with the trimming knife.
  • Remove any excess paste with a sponge immediately. Run a seam roller over the join.
  • You can now place your second and subsequent lengths of wallpaper next to the first. Make sure that you create a seamless butt joint each time and ensure that the pattern matches where relevant.
  • Please check for faults after hanging 3 lengths of wallpaper. No claim will be accepted for material hung in excess of 1 roll or for the hanging costs thereof.

Step 6 – Corners

  • Don’t try to hang a full piece of wallpaper into a corner.
  • From the last piece of wallpaper before the corner, measure into the corner and add approx. 25mm to this width.
  • Cut the paper down the length to this width and paste into the corner. You should now have a 25mm overlap on the next wall to be prepared.
  • Mark a new plumb line and use the remainder of the last piece of wallpaper to start on the new wall.

Step 7 – Sockets and switches

  • Start by switching off the electricity at the fuse box.
  • Smooth down the wallpaper over the top of the light switch.
  • Find the centre of the socket/switch and make a series of diagonal cuts towards the outer edges. Don’t cut further than the edge of the switch plate.
  • Fold back the triangles of wallpaper and trim off most of the wallpaper.  
  • Loosen the socket/switch screws and slightly pull the plate away from the wall. Tuck the extra wallpaper behind the plate and tighten the screws.
  • This should leave you with a nice neat finish.