How to hang wallpaper | Decorating | How to guides | diy advice | B&Q

How to hand wallpaper...

Always read the instructions to see if there are any specific requirements for your paper. Ensure that each wallpaper roll has the same batch number, this will ensure a consistent colour and pattern. If ordering from diy.com we'll do this for you.

Walls and corners are rarely straight, so don't rely on them as a guide when you are hanging paper. Check the markings you have made on the back when cutting the paper to make sure that you hang the lengths in the correct order and the right way up.

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Wallpaper brings glamour to a room by changing the colour, pattern and texture of the walls. New designer wallpapers combine vibrant colours with neutrals for an up-to-date look that's easy to live with. You can paper all the walls in a room, or create a stunning impact with one dynamic feature wall.

  • Request a sample

    To help you plan your design, diy.com offers a free sample service on selected wallpapers. You may request up to 8 different samples which will be delivered to your home within 5 working days. Samples that are out of stock may take up to 5 weeks.

    Look out for the grey “Request a free sample” box on the product's page.

  • Wallpaper and colour

    Our wallpaper in the Colours range has been designed to make choosing the right wallpaper easy, with mix and match ideas for any room. Strong designs are complemented by a palette of textured plain colours, while the Colours range of paints can be used to tie the whole room together.

  • Creating a feature wall

    It's easy to create a striking feature by wallpapering one wall of a room with bold stripes, geometric designs or ornate prints. Plain complementary wallpaper or paint from the Colours range on the other walls can enhance the impact of the design.


Types of wallpaper

Paste the back

Traditional style wallpaper where the past is applied to the paper, then fixed to the wall.
Shop standard wallpaper

Textured wallpaper

Features a relief pattern making it suitable for uneven wall surfaces. Some textured wallpapers are also paintable once applied to the wall.
Shop textured wallpaper

Kitchen and bathroom wallpaper

Suitable for these areas due to it's material properties, it can also be cleaned with a damp cloth.
Shop kitchen & bathroom wallpaper

Paste the wall

Also known as 'paste-the-wall' or 'dry-hanging' paper - that is hung 'dry' because the wall is pasted rather than the paper. This makes it much quicker to hang than traditional paper, which must be set aside for several minutes to allow the paste to soak in. It's also easier to avoid getting paste on the patterned side of the paper as there is no need for a painting table. This type of paper also peels off easily, so there's no need for steaming or soaking when you want to redecorate. Simply lift a corner at the bottom of the wall and pull steadily upwards. Don't paste the entire wall before starting to hang the paper. Just paste one section at a time.
Shop paste the wall wallpaper


Before you start

  • Move furniture and soft furnishings and cover carpets.
  • Ensure walls are clean, dry and smooth. They should be a uniform (pale) colour prior to hanging wallpaper - marks on a wall may show through a pale wallpaper.
  • Strip off paper that's in a poor state (and remove relief or washable paper).
  • Wash painted surfaces with sugar soap before papering.
  • Paint the ceiling, doors, windows and skirting-board.
  • Apply a sealer known as 'wall size' to new plaster wall surfaces.

Estimating paper usage

Use the chart below to estimate the amount of wallpaper you are going to need - a standard roll of wallpaper is approximately 10m long and 530mm wide. When you measure around the room include the windows and doors - this allows for wastage when the paper is trimmed. Allow extra when using a paper with a large repeat pattern. Make sure all the rolls you buy have the same batch number. For best results line the wall first - lining paper helps to cover imperfections, giving you a smoother surface for the wallpaper.

Always read the manufacturer's instructions on the reverse of the roll label and follow their instructions.

Distance around room Wall height
2.3-2.6m 2.6-2.7m
10m 5 rolls 6 rolls
12m 6 7
14m 7 8
16m 8 9
18m 9 10
20m 10 11
view wallpaper calculator
Stripping the wallpaper

Stripping the wallpaper

Soaking wallpaper with hot water makes it much easier to remove. The water soaks in more easily if you perforate the paper first, either by scoring with the blade of a stripping knife or running an orbital scorer over the surface.

Safety first: Use a steam stripper safely. Always read the instruction leaflet before you start.

  • Score the paper

    Run the orbital scorer over the paper, being careful not to damage the plaster behind. Fill a bucket with hot water and add some liquid detergent and a handful of wallpaper paste to thicken it a little.

  • Wet the wall

    Using a large sponge, wet the wall, covering a few square metres at a time. Leave it to soak for at least five minutes. Slide the edge of a wide stripping knife under the paper at a seam to see if it is ready to be stripped. It should come away in fairly large sections. If this doesn't happen even after a long and thorough soak, you will need to use wallpaper stripper solution or a steam stripper.

  • Stripping the wall

    Hold the stripper pad at the bottom of a wallpaper length for a minute or so, until the paper around it appears damp. Move the pad up onto the next section, while pulling off the damp paper below, loosening stubborn areas with a stripping knife. Strip each length from bottom to top. Take care not to damage the plasterboard or plaster with the blade of your stripping knife.

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Lining the walls

Note: Lining paper helps to cover imperfections, giving you a smoother surface for the wallpaper. If your walls are already smooth, this stage may not be necessary. In addition if you are using a thick, textured paper, this will negate this stage as it has the same qualities as lining paper.

Lining paper is pasted and hung in the same way as wallpaper. Leave the lining paper to dry (this can take up to 12 hours) before applying the wallpaper. When hanging lining paper, always use a wall size and paste that are compatible with the manufacturer's recommended adhesive for the wallpaper. Hanging lining paper uses the same principles as hanging decorative wallpaper, however sometimes its is hung horizontally.

If you require help calculating how much paper you need, you can reference our wallpaper calculator.

view wallpaper calculator
  • Lining paper hung horizontally

    Wallpaper is usually hung vertically, so it's quite a good idea to apply the lining paper horizontally - that way the two lots of seams will not fall in the same place.

  • Lining paper hung vertically

    If you do want to hang the lining paper vertically, start from the place where you are going to hang the first length of wallpaper and hang a half-width of lining paper. Continue with full widths across the rest of the wall.

    shop lining paper
Measuring and cutting the wallpaper

Don't waste your wallpaper by cutting the lengths too long or too short. Measure the wall at your starting point, from the ceiling to the top of the skirting-board. If you are going to cut several lengths of paper before you start hanging it, check that the height of the wall is the same all the way around the room.

  • Step 1

    Measure the height of the wall in several places. Add 100mm to the longest measurement to allow for trimming. Check which way round the wallpaper pattern goes and where it should be in relation to the top of the wall. Unroll the paper on the pasting table, or floor if using paste the wall, pattern-side down, and draw a straight line across the width at the measured point. Using wallpaper scissors, cut the first length of paper.

  • Step 2

    Turn the cut length over. Unroll the next length, place it edge-to-edge with the first length, and match the pattern. Use the cut length as a guide to cut the second length. Continue cutting several lengths, numbering them at the top corner on the wrong side so that you know the hanging order. Mark the paper's hanging direction as well.

  • Step 3

    Draw a line from ceiling to skirting-board 480mm out from the corner, using a plumb line. This allows a 50mm overlap on to the window wall if using standard wallpaper which is 530mm wide. (Adjust your measurement accordingly if you are using non-standard size paper to ensure a 50mm overlap).

Pasting and folding the wallpaper

Use the paste recommended by the paper manufacturer and mix it according to the guidelines. High performance pastes are available for use in steamy rooms, such as kitchens and bathrooms, and for use behind radiators. There are two types of paper;

Paste the paper

The most common type of wallpaper, where paste is applied to the paper, then hung on the wall.
Shop paste the paper range

Paste the wall

A type of wall wallpaper that allows the user to apply paste to the wall, then hang the paper to it. This process is considered easier, as there is no need for a wallpaper table and less chance of creasing when moving the paper.
Shop paste the wall range

  • Step 1

    Lay the cut length on the pasting table (pattern-side down), so that the paper hangs over the end of the table. If you are pasting a shorter length, use a weight to stop it rolling up. Load the pasting brush and wipe off excess paste. Paste along the centre of the paper, working the paste from the middle to the edges in a herringbone pattern. It is easier to spot areas you have missed if you use coloured paste (which dries clear). Between lengths, wipe any paste spills off the table with a clean, damp sponge.

  • Step 2

    If you do want to hang the lining paper vertically, start from the place where you are going to hang the first length of wallpaper and hang a half-width of lining paper. Continue with full widths across the rest of the wall.

  • Step 3

    Paste the entire length, folding it as you go. Lift up the concertina of paper and set it aside to allow the paste to soak into the paper for as long as the manufacturer recommends.

Hanging the first length

Try to hang the first length of wallpaper on a wall that has neither door nor window. Choose a wall to the right of the window if you are right-handed (to the left if you are left-handed) and work away from the window.

  • Step 1

    Position the first pasted length at the top of the wall with its right-hand edge running down the vertical line. Make sure about 50mm of excess paper is left above the top of the wall for trimming. Hold the paper at both sides and don't let the lower paper drop, as it may tear or stretch.

    Once the right-hand edge is positioned, smooth the paper with a paper-hanging brush, working from the centre to the edges. Make sure that there are no bubbles and the edge stays on the pencil mark. Try to avoid getting paste on the paper's surface and lightly wipe off any immediately with a damp sponge.

  • Step 2

    Crease the top and bottom of the paper against the ceiling and skirting-board junctions. Pull the paper away from the wall and cut along the creases. Brush the edges into place.

  • Step 3

    Butt the next length against the previous one, matching the pattern at eye level. When several pieces are in place, run the seam roller lightly down the joins.

Papering around internal corners

At an internal corner, it's much easier to cut a length of paper vertically and position the join at the corner - especially when you are papering a wall that is slightly crooked and your corner is not completely square. Measure and cut the paper so that it reaches slightly beyond the corner. If the off-cut of paper is half a width or more, then use it as the next length; if smaller than that, then start with a new length.

  • Step 1

    Measure the distance between the edge of the last hung length and the corner, at the top, bottom and middle of the wall. Using the widest measurement, allow an extra 25mm for turning on to the next wall. Cut a length of paper to this width. Paste and hang the cut length, butting the paper to the edge of the previous strip and aligning the pattern at eye level. Allow the extra 25mm to stick lightly to the next wall. Use a paperhanging brush to smooth the paper into the internal corner.

  • Step 2

    Make sure that the paper is firmly pressed against the wall by running the seam roller along its edge. Wipe excess paste from the roller before it dries. If any creases have formed, tear the paper and overlap the pieces so they lie flat - a tear will show less than if you cut the paper (although it is better to cut vinyl paper).

  • Step 3

    Hang the plumb line on the next wall at a distance from the corner that is either the width of the full paper roll or your off-cut, whichever you are using. Make pencil marks behind the vertical line at intervals down the wall. This will give you a completely vertical edge for starting the next wall.

  • Step 4

    Hang the next length with its righthand edge aligned with the pencil marks, overlapping the paper turned from the previous wall. If the paper is patterned, match the two pieces as closely as possible. Use border adhesive along the overlapping strip.

Papering around light switches or sockets

Every room has light switches and sockets - there's no avoiding them, so it's worth knowing how to deal with them. If you don't do a neat job, you'll notice every time you turn on the light. Always switch off the electricity at the mains before you start work.

  • Step 1

    Make sure the electricity is off. Hang the wallpaper from the top of the wall straight over the switch or socket. Brush gently over the fitting with a dry paper-hanging brush to make a slight impression on the paper, but take care not to tear it. Holding the paper over the fitting, make a small pencil mark from each corner into the centre of the faceplate. Pierce a hole in the paper at the centre point with a small pair of scissors. Cut the paper to the corners and pull back the flaps.

  • Lister title

    Trim the flaps just inside the outer edge of the switch or socket so there is an overlap of about 6mm covering the fitting. Partially unscrew the faceplate and pull it about 6mm away from the wall.

  • Lister title

    Carefully ease the faceplate through the hole in the paper. Use the brush to push the trimmed edges gently behind the faceplate and smooth away any air bubbles. Put the faceplate back in place and secure the screws. Let the paste dry before turning on the power.