Buying, Selling, and Decorating Your Dream Home

Putting on Wallpaper: What You Need To Know


Starting a wallpapering job can be daunting, but not if you’ve first read our handy guide. In this section, we offer you some valuable tips and techniques to make the job as painless as possible and help you avoid making those common slip-ups and errors.

If you haven’t put up wallpaper before, choose a paper that is easy to handle and has a pattern that is straightforward to hang.

A random pattern is best because you won’t have to do any matching. This type of wallpaper pattern will enable you to work comparatively quickly. You will need to prepare the wall before putting up wallpaper.

Putting on Wallpaper What You Need To Know

Choosing the Wallpaper

Avoid thin wallpaper as it tends to tear easily when wet with paste and when being positioned on the wall.

If you have an older property, avoid a very regular pattern such as vertical stripes. Few rooms in older houses have true corners or even ceiling lines.

Wallpaper is usually printed in batches to give colour consistency. Buy rolls that all have the same batch number. Even so, make sure you examine the rolls in a good light before hanging.

Using ready-pasted wallpaper means you won’t need to apply paste. The paste is on the back of the paper in dried form and is activated by immersing the paper in water.

Once you have bought the wallpaper, store the rolls flat. Standing them upright could damage the all-important edges.

Planning Where to Start

Normally you should start on the wall adjacent to the window wall and work back into the room. This way, shadows will not be cast if any edges are inadvertently overlapped.

The exception is where a large motif is being used, and there is a dominant focal point in the room, such as a chimney breast.

Here, the motif would need to be centralized on the chimney breast wall.

Hanging the First Length of the Wallpaper

Use a plumb line and bob to mark a vertical guideline on the starting wall. Presuming you are starting in a corner, make a starting line that will allow 25 mm/1 in of paper to turn back on to the previous wall. Hold the plumb line to the top of the wall. When it stops swinging, mark the line on the wall with a pencil. If a chalked string line is used, it can be ‘snapped’ against the wall to leave a vertical chalk line.

Cut the first length of the paper, allowing 50 mm/2 in at both the top and bottom for final trimming. If applicable, make sure that any pattern will be in the right position on the wall.

Place the paper face down on the pasting table with one long edge aligned with a long edge of the table. Brush a generous coat of adhesive lengthways along the centre of the paper, then brush outwards to where the edge of the paper is aligned with the table edge. Then pull the paper to align it with the table’s other long edge and complete pasting. Ensure there is complete coverage.

Lightweight, washable, and vinyl wallcoverings can be hung immediately. Allow thicker papers to soak for the time recommended (generally until floppy). This can be up to ten minutes with really thick paper. Loosely fold the ends of the paper to meet in the middle, without any creases. Carry the folded paper over your arm as you approach the wall.

Unfold the top half of the paper and align its edge with the vertical line. Ensure there are a 50 mm/2 in overlap onto the ceiling. Brush the paper, firmly and quickly but not too vigorously, down the centre and then towards the edges. Then release the lower half of the paper and brush this onto the wall.

At the top, gently run the back of the blade of the shears into the ceiling to leave a crease line on the paper. Peel back the edge and cut along this line, then brush the paper back into place. Repeat at the skirting.

Hang further lengths, in the same way, matching any pattern and butting the edges of adjoining lengths. Run the seam roller down the join between the lengths of wallpaper.

How to Hang Wallpaper Video

Check out this video below

Dealing With Features

Here are ways to Dealing with features when wallpapering your house.


Corners are not usually square. Therefore, when less than a full width of the paper is needed to reach an internal corner, take three measurements between the edge of the last length of wallpaper and the corner at the top, middle, and bottom.

Add 12 mm to the largest measurement and cut a strip this wide from the next length of the paper.

Hang this strip, turning 12 mm (1/2 in) of it onto the next wall. Make a vertical guideline on the next wall that will allow the remaining strip to overlap the 12 mm (1/2 in) margin in the corner.

You must mark a new vertical guideline every time you take paper onto a new wall.

On an external corner, repeat the process but allow 25 mm (1 in) to turn the corner.

If the corner is true (check with a plumb line), butt the edges of the two strips of paper. If not, overlap them.


Cut the various pieces of wallpaper needed to go around a window reveal (recess) before pasting, allowing at least 12 mm (1/2 in) for trimming at the top and bottom of lengths, and ensuring that any pattern matches on both sides of the recess.

Paper the sides and top of the reveal first, turning 12 mm (1/2 in) onto the outside wall. The paper on the outside wall is turned 12 mm (1/2 in) into the reveal to make an overlap.

If a reveal is less than about 75 mm (3 in) deep, there is no need to hang strips in the reveal, as the paper can be turned into it.


Cut an L-shaped piece of wallpaper as required, allowing 50 mm (2 in) around the door frame for trimming.

Hang the paper above the door first, then make a diagonal cut 50 mm (2 in) into the paper at the corner of the frame (the angle of the L).

This cut will release the paper so that it can be brushed and creased into place before being trimmed neatly around the frame of the door.

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