Wallpapering is usually the final stage of decorating - as you should have painted your ceiling, doors, windows and skirting-board first. With wallpaper, you can change the colour, pattern and texture of your walls straight away and there's a wide range to choose from.
Standard patterned wallpaper is ideal for most wall surfaces. You can get it as traditional paste-the-back paper, ready-pasted or newer paste-the-wall types. Textured wallpaper has a built-in relief pattern, which makes it ideal if your wall surfaces are rough and vinyl paper is a good choice for your kitchen or bathroom, as you can wipe it clean with a damp cloth.
Tools & materials required
First of all, expect to make a mess. Move all your furniture and soft furnishings out of the room, and cover carpets and anything that can't be moved with dust sheets. You can paper over most wallpaper (apart from relief or washable paper, which you should remove) as long as it's in good condition.
But if it's in a really bad state, strip it off and line the walls. You can paper directly over painted surfaces, but make sure you wash them thoroughly with sugar soap first. Your walls must be clean, dry and smooth before you can begin.
+Use the chart to estimate the amount of wallpaper you'll need - a standard roll is about 10.05m long and 530mm wide. When you measure around your room, make sure you include the windows and doors, as this allows for wastage when you trim your paper.
+Allow for some extra if you're using a paper with a large repeat pattern - you can usually find out the size of the pattern on the roll label.
+To make certain your colours match, check all the rolls you buy have the same batch number
+Coat your wall surfaces with wall size - a special sealer that stops them from soaking up the wallpaper paste. Try to use a size that's recommended by the paste manufacturer. Alternatively, you can seal the walls with dilute wallpaper paste painted on with a large decorating or pasting brush.
How many rolls will you need
Distance around your room Wall height 2.3-2.4m Wall height 2.4-2.6m Wall height 2.6-2.7m 10m 5 5 6 12m 6 6 7 14m 7 7 8 16m 8 8 9 18m 9 9 10 20m 10 10 11
How to use lining paper
If you need to cover uneven patches on your wall and get a smoother surface for your wallpaper, it's best to use lining paper. You paste and hang it in the same way as wallpaper, but leave it to dry (this can take up to 12 hours) before hanging your wallpaper over it. Always use a wall size and paste that are compatible with the manufacturer's recommended adhesive for the wallpaper.
Hanging lining paper horizontally
As wallpaper is usually hung vertically, it's quite a good idea to apply the lining paper horizontally. That way, the two lots of seams won't fall in the same place.
Hanging lining paper vertically
If you do want to hang your lining paper vertically, start by hanging a half-width of lining paper from the place where you'll be putting up your first length of wallpaper. Continue with full widths across the rest of the wall.
There's one type of wallpaper - called 'paste-the-wall' or 'dry-hanging' paper - that's hung 'dry' because you paste the wall rather than the paper. It has a special backing that doesn't expand when it's wet, so you can hang it straight from the roll onto a pre-pasted wall. This makes it much quicker to hang than traditional paper, which you need to set aside for several minutes to let the paste soak in.
Using paste-the-wall paper also makes it easier to stop getting paste on the patterned side. This is particularly handy if you're working with paper that has a delicate or easily-marked surface.
This type of paper also peels off easily, so there's no need to steam or soak it when you want to redecorate - simply lift a corner at the bottom of the wall and pull it steadily upwards. And you won't need to paste the entire wall before starting to hang your paper - just one section at a time.
How to cut wallpaper
Wallpaper is expensive - so try not to waste it by cutting your lengths too long or too short. You'll need to measure the wall at your starting point from the ceiling to the top of the skirting board. If you're 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.
Start by measuring the height of your wall in several places around the room with a steel tape measure. Add 100mm to your longest measurement to allow for trimming at the top and bottom. Check which way round the wallpaper pattern goes and where any pattern should be in relation to the top of the wall. Then unroll the paper on a pasting table, pattern-side down and draw a straight line across the width at the measured point. Use wallpaper scissors to cut the first length.
Turn the cut length over. Unroll the next length and place it edge-to-edge with the first, making sure you've matched the pattern. Use the length you've already cut as a guide to cut the second length. Then carry on cutting several lengths, numbering them at the top corner on the wrong side so you know the hanging order. Mark the hanging direction, too.
How to paste and fold wallpaper
The most common type of wallpaper is the traditional kind you paste yourself. It's best to use the paste that the paper manufacturer recommends and mix it according to their guidelines.
Most lengths of wallpaper are longer than a pasting table, so when you've pasted the section on the table you'll need to pull it up and loosely fold it over onto itself in a concertina shape. Then just carry on pasting the rest of the length.
Lay the cut length of wallpaper on the pasting table (pattern-side down), so the paper hangs over the end of the table. If you're pasting a shorter length, use a weight to stop the end from rolling up. Load your brush with paste, wipe off any excess and begin brushing along the centre of the length.
Work the paste from the middle to the edges of the paper. It's easier to spot areas you've missed if you use coloured paste (don't worry - it goes clear when it dries). Between lengths, wipe any spills off the table with a clean, damp sponge.
When you've pasted the paper covering the table, fold it over on itself (taking care not to crease it) and start a concertina. Move this to one end of the table, using a weight such as a large brush to stop the unpasted end rolling up.
Paste the entire length, folding the paper as you go. Then lift up your completed concertina and put it aside to let the paste soak into the paper for as long as the manufacturer recommends. The paper needs time to expand before it's hung. Soaking prevents bubbles appearing as the paper continues to expand on the wall. In the meantime, paste more lengths.