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How to hang wallpaper

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We know that life can be busy, and the everyday can take over, so we want to make it easy for you to get those renovations underway.

With 81% of us agreeing that our interiors affect our moods, now is the perfect time to get stuck into those decorating projects. When your home is looking it’s best, you’ll be feeling your best, which is why a staggering 86% of us undertook a DIY project during lockdown.

International Wallpaper Week is the perfect chance to embrace your space. With a huge range of styles so you can really put your personality into every room. We’ve got tips, tricks, and inspiration to help you make your home the perfect place to make more memories.

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In this guide we’ll walk you through how to:

  • Measure and cut wallpaper to the correct lengths
  • Apply adhesive to the wall
  • Hang the lengths to achieve a straight and smooth finish on walls and around corners
  • Tackle awkward areas like radiators, windows, light switches, plug sockets and door frames
  • Hang wallpaper to create a feature wall

 

Make it easy

Hanging wallpaper isn’t as complicated as it might seem thanks to new techniques like “paste the wall” wallpaper. This has been made simpler because there’s no need to apply the paste to the wallpaper, fold it and let it soak in before hanging it. With “paste the wall” wallpaper, there’s no need for a pasting table, which means you might be able to save up to 30% of your time compared to traditional wallpaper hanging methods.


There are some tasks that you may need to do before hanging your wallpaper. Check our list to ensure your walls are fully ready for wallpaper. With this guide you will get the best finish possible and avoid any nasty surprises further into the project.

Have you removed any existing wallpaper?

Doing this will give you a smooth finish and avoid air bubbles and creases appearing when you hang the new wallpaper. Our guide on how to remove wallpaper will walk you through this task.

Are your walls freshly plastered?

If so, have you sealed them with wall sealer? Applying wall sealer, also known as wall size, seals the porous surface of the wall and improves the adhesion of the wallpaper paste. It also aids the slide of the wallpaper, useful when you’re matching patterns or hanging it in awkward areas like window recesses.

Have you lined the walls with lining paper?

Hanging lining paper prevents the new wallpaper from shrinking when it’s hung, which leads to gaps between the lengths of paper. You may also want to hang lining paper if your walls have any stains or small imperfections in the surface, as it will help to disguise this.

Do you have enough wallpaper?

Our Wallpaper Calculator helps to estimate the amount of wallpaper you’ll need for your project. When you measure the height and length of the walls you want to wallpaper, also measure the windows and doors - the calculator will do the calculations for you. Allow extra for wastage. We recommend 10% extra, and any unopened rolls can be returned (see terms and conditions). Also, allow for extra when using paper with a large repeat pattern – the pattern repeat is usually stated on the roll label or product information.

Are all the rolls of wallpaper the same batch number?

Make sure all the rolls have the same batch number printed on the label, as the colours and in some instances, the finish, can vary between batches.

Have you planned how you’re going to hang the wallpaper?

We recommend hanging wallpaper vertically unless the pattern requires it to be hung horizontally. If hanging over lining paper, hanging it in the opposite direction to the lining paper means that the seams won’t fall in the same place and create ridges.

Do you have any fixings on the walls?

If so, unscrew the fixings before papering, leaving the wall plugs in place. Mark the position of each one by pushing a matchstick (with the head broken off) into the plug. Leave it slightly proud so you can find the hole and reuse it later.



Safety first

  • Keep adhesives, chemicals and scissors out of reach of children
  • Always ensure good ventilation during application and drying of wallpaper adhesives
  • If hanging wallpaper around a stairwell, get someone to help you as you’ll be working at height with heavy lengths of wallpaper.

Step 1

The walls must be clean, dry, healthy, straight and smooth.

If you’re wallpapering on plaster, plasterboard or wood, apply a universal primer the day before so the wall can get a good grip of the wallpaper.

If your walls are covered with gloss or silk paint, sand them down and then apply a universal primer.

If instead they’re covered with matt paint, wash them with a cleaning product that contains baking soda and let the walls dry for 24 hours before wallpapering.

Step 2

Now’s the time to prepare your paste (adhesive) if it isn’t ready mixed. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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Step 3

Use a spirit level to trace a vertical line 50 cm from the corner of the wall (if your roll measures 53 cm in width). This makes sure that you start wallpapering from a perfectly straight hanging mark and the remaining 3 cm will allow you to avoid imperfect corner junctions (if the corner is not straight) which you can focus on once you’ve finished wallpapering the whole wall.

Step 4

With a pasting brush or a roller, start applying the wallpaper paste on the wall in a thin, even layer, from the vertical line you’ve just traced onwards, starting at the top and working your way down across the width of a roll. Use a stepladder to reach the ceiling.

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Step 5

Place the wallpaper roll on the floor, align it to the vertical line and start unrolling it up to the top of the wall; keep 2-3 cm on the ceiling to allow a straight cut.

Step 6

Carefully position the wallpaper against the wall and double check the strip’s alignment against the vertical mark. Once you’re happy this is straight, use a wallpaper smoother to smooth it from the centre to the edges to smooth out any air bubbles and wrinkles.

“Paste the wall” wallpaper is easy to reposition: If the strip is not positioned as you want it, slowly take it off and reposition it.

Step 7

Trim any excess paper on the top and bottom with a snap off knife and a ruler, flatten out the seams with a seam roller and then repeat for the rest of the wall, making sure the seams line up each time.

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Top tips

If you want to create a feature wall and choose to wallpaper only one wall or corner, align the last strip you will hang next to the one already on the wall, smooth it out and gently follow the corner line to cut the excess paper.

If you’re wallpapering an angle, gently recreate the corner line with the wallpaper smoother and glue the wallpaper to the wall, then continue to cover the wall with wallpaper.

Step 8

To wallpaper around any switches or sockets, cover these with the wallpaper strip and use the snap off knife to cut around them.

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Step 9

To wallpaper around doors and windows, cover the openings with the wallpaper strip, mark the angle with your finger and use the scissors to cut the excess paper. Be mindful of leaving some extra centimetres on the window or door case. Cut the wallpaper at a 45 ° angle at the mark left by your finger.

Smooth it out with the wallpaper smoother and cut the excess paper with the snap off knife.

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Step 10

Ideally, you’d remove the radiators before wallpapering, but if this isn’t an option, you can still wallpaper behind them. Measure the dimension from the ceiling or window edge to the radiator fixings, adding 2 to 3 cm for the cuts around window casings/ceiling. If the wallpaper has patterns, add the length needed to align them to the adjacent strip.

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Step 11

Using a pair of scissors or a ruler and a snap off knife, cut the necessary wallpaper length and hang it on the wall. Smooth it out around the fixings of the radiator.

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Step 12

To wallpaper around pipes, apply paste to wall, then measure and cut the piece of wallpaper you will need.

Place the wallpaper behind the pipe, and smooth it out.

Your paste the wall wallpaper is now perfectly applied, and you can now enjoy your new wall display.