How To Measure Wallpaper Needed

How To Measure Wallpaper Needed

How To Measure Wallpaper Needed

Introduction to Wallpaper Measuring

Measuring wallpaper accurately is a vital step in the decorating process. Wallpaper rolls come in standard lengths and widths, but the amount you'll need can greatly vary based on the size and characteristics of your room. Understanding how to correctly measure for wallpaper can save time, excess waste, and of course, money. Let's explore the different factors you need to consider when aiming to calculate the exact quantity of wallpaper required for your space.

Importance of Accurate Measurements

Whether you've decided to undertake a new decorating project or freshen up an existing room, the very first, and perhaps most significant, step is to get accurate measurements. This prevents scenarios whereby you stumble upon “too little” or “too much” wallpaper, both of which present their unique challenges. The former might mean a stalled project while you wait for supplementary rolls to arrive, while the latter could indicate a wastage of funds and materials.

Understanding Your Space

To ensure you get the right amount of wallpaper, you must understand your space. Just like every project, different rooms come with different requirements. You'll need to take into account factors such as wall size, the presence of doors and windows, the surface area you wish to cover, and the pattern of the wallpaper when estimating the quantity required.

Wall Size

Larger rooms obviously require more wallpaper than smaller ones, but calculating exact quantities isn't quite as straightforward. When you’re considering the wall size, remember to consider the height from floor to ceiling, and the perimeter of the room.

Doors and Windows

While these features can often be overlooked during calculating quantities, discounting their surface area could result in significant discrepancies. By subtracting the size of doors and windows, you'll get a more accurate estimate.

Patterned Wallpaper

Patterned wallpaper requires additional consideration, as you may need to match patterns at the seams which often leads to more waste, and thus, require more rolls. We'll delve deeper into this later in the article.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

As easy as measuring might seem, it's not uncommon to fall into several traps that could hinder your accuracy. Some common mistakes include failing to account for pattern repeats, ignoring door and window measurements, and not allowing a small surplus for trimming and minor mistakes.


In summary, measuring wallpaper accurately is a fundamental task that requires meticulousness and precision. A firm grasp of the principles shared above will not only save you time and money but will also make your wallpapering experience a lot smoother. Stay tuned to learn more on how to correctly measure for patterned wallpaper and other essential tips to make your wallpaper project a success.

Understanding Wallpaper Roll Sizes

The first step in estimating how much wallpaper you need involves understanding wallpaper roll sizes. Wallpaper is typically sold in rolls. Knowing the dimensions of these rolls is crucial to calculate the quantity of wallpaper needed for your walls.

Standard Roll Sizes

In general, wallpaper rolls come in two standard sizes: single rolls and double rolls. A single roll usually measures about 20.5 inches wide by 16 feet long, while a double roll, which is twice as long, measures the same width but 33 feet long. Do note that these are typical measurements, and sizes can vary somewhat from manufacturer to manufacturer.

European and US Measurements

Be aware of differences in dimensions between European and US wallpaper rolls. In the US, the standard size for a single roll wallpaper is 20.5 inches in width and 16 feet in length covering approximately 28 square feet. However, European rolls are larger, typically measuring 21 inches wide by 33 feet long, covering an area of approximately 57.75 square feet.

Importance of Roll Size Knowledge

Knowing the size of the wallpaper roll is crucial. It helps you estimate the number of rolls required for your project. When you know the dimensions of the rolls and the area of wall it can cover, you can take your wall measurements and plan accordingly. This can prevent both the wastage caused by buying excess wallpaper and the inconvenience of falling short.

Tips on Choosing Wallpaper Roll Sizes

Consider the size of your area to be covered as it would help you decide whether to opt for a single or double roll. If you have a large area to cover, the double roll might prove to be a more economical choice. Also, keep in mind the pattern repeat on the wallpaper. A paper with a large pattern repeat will require more rolls than one with a smaller design, due to the matching requirement at the seams.

Calculating the Number of Rolls

To determine the amount of wallpaper required for your room, measure the height and the width of each wall. Multiply the width and height to get the square footage of each wall, then add all the results to get the total square footage. Divide this by the coverage of the wallpaper roll to ascertain the number of rolls you need. Always round up to the next whole number to ensure you have enough material.

Final Thoughts

Getting the right amount of wallpaper begins with understanding wallpaper roll sizes. With the right measurement and calculation, you can estimate the required material and avoid unnecessary expenses or shortages. Always remember, proper planning and measurement are the key to a successful wallpapering project.

Calculating the Area of Your Walls

When it comes to wallpapering, an accurate material estimate requires careful measurement of the wall area. Identifying the correct dimensions is key to avoiding wastage, running short of wallpaper rolls, or spending more than necessary. Here's how to calculate the area your walls:

Determining Wall Dimensions

Start by measuring the height and width of each wall with a tape measure. These figures will then be used to calculate the square footage of each wall.

Height is measured from the floor to the ceiling, while width spans from one corner of the wall to the other.

Calculating the Square Footage

Multiply each wall's width by its height to determine that wall's overall square footage. For instance, if a wall measures 10 feet in width and 8 feet in height, its area will be 80 square feet.

Accounting for Doors and Windows

When calculating the wallpaper required, you should consider the areas occupied by doors and windows, which typically require no wallpaper. Measure the height and width of each door and window, calculate their area, and then subtract it from the overall wall area.

Adding the Areas of Each Wall

Sum up the adjusted areas (after subtracting doors and windows) of all walls to determine the total area that requires wallpapering.

Tips and Tricks

While measuring, round your figures up to the nearest foot. It is better to have a few extra rolls than run out in the middle of your project. Also, keep in mind that wallpapering often involves trimming and adjusting the papers to fit your walls, and this can lead to a little waste material.

Considering Pattern Repeat

If the wallpaper has a repeating pattern, you might require a little extra to make sure it aligns correctly on each successive strip.

Final Calculation For Wallpaper Rolls

Now that you know your total wall area in square feet, the next step is to determine the number of wallpaper rolls you need. Divide the total area required by the roll coverage usually listed on the wallpaper packaging. Round up to the nearest whole number as you cannot purchase fractional wallpaper rolls. This number will be the total number of rolls needed for your project.

Familiarizing yourself with your wall dimensions and areas not only helps with wallpapering, it can also contribute to better home improvement and decoration decisions.

Accounting for Windows and Doors

One of the most common mistakes when calculating the amount of wallpaper needed for a room is forgetting to subtract the area taken up by windows and doors. These elements, although seemingly minor, can significantly impact the overall amount of wallpaper required. To ensure we are not wasting resources, we must carefully consider these areas in our calculations.

Measuring Windows

Windows come in different shapes and sizes but the standard method to measure them involves two basic steps: measuring the height and the width. Multiply these two measurements to get the window's area. Repeat this process for all the windows in the room. Sum up the total area of all windows and make a note of this value.

Measuring Doors

Like windows, doors also vary in size but the standard door size is usually 80 inches by 36 inches. If the door is of a non-standard size, just as with windows, measure the height and width of the door, then multiply to find the area. If you have more than one door, ensure to calculate the area for each and add them together.

Subtracting Window and Door Area from Total Wall Area

Once you have calculated the total area of the room's walls and the combined area of the doors and windows, it's time to subtract the latter from the former. This resultant value will provide a more accurate estimate of how much wallpaper is actually needed.

Error Margin

Despite doing all the measurements and calculations, it's important to account for possible errors or unforeseen difficulties that might come up during the wallpapering process. Therefore, it's recommended to add an extra 10 to 15% to the estimated wallpaper requirement to be on the safe side.

Consider the Wallpaper Pattern

If the wallpaper has a large scale pattern, there might be more waste because you'll need to match the pattern. This might increase the amount of wallpaper required.

Professional Help

If this all sounds a bit complicated, remember you can seek professional help. A professional wallpaper hanger or an interior designer can help you with the measurement process and can even offer valuable insights about the type and style of wallpaper that would best suit your room.


With accurate measurements and careful calculations, you can minimize waste and make a cost-effective choice for your wallpaper needs. Always remember to account for windows, doors, pattern matching, and an error margin to get a reliable estimate.

Measuring for Patterned Wallpaper

When dealing with patterned wallpaper, the process of calculating the amount you need differs slightly from that of plain wallpaper. The additional consideration here is the pattern repeat. It's vital to ensure that the patterns on your wall seamlessly align and continue without sudden breaks or mismatches.

Understanding Pattern Repeat

The pattern repeat refers to the vertical distance between where the pattern is identical again (repeats). This could be straight match where the repeat starts at the top of the wall again or offset match (also known as drop match) where the repeat is staggered. This information is usually indicated on the wallpaper roll label.

Measuring the Wall

Similar to plain wallpaper, start by measuring the height and width of each wall and then multiply these figures to get the total square foot coverage for each wall. Always round up to the next nearest foot when measuring. Remember to subtract the size of large windows and doors. You can then add up the total for all walls.

Calculating the Number of Rolls

Once you know the pattern repeat and total wall coverage, you can start to estimate the number of rolls you'll need. Divide the length of the roll by the repeat pattern length. Multiply it by the number of repeats per roll. This will give you the useable 'roll length' after aligning your pattern. Compare this to your wall size, always considering a little extra for manual adjustments or mistakes. Usually, wallpaper rolls come in standard lengths and widths, but always check this on the product as variations do exist.

Considering Extra Material

Finally, it's always safer to purchase additional material since patterned wallpaper requires matching and might result in more wastage. A general rule is to add an extra roll for every four that you purchase or 10-20% more material to be safe. It's always beneficial to buy a little extra, especially if the wallpaper pattern is likely to be discontinued. Remember, you can often return unopened rolls if you don’t use them.

Final Words

With these steps, you should be well-prepared to measure and purchase your patterned wallpaper. Don't be daunted by the math, it's a small price to pay for a beautiful, well put-together room with patterned wallpaper that will likely become a conversation starter among your guests.

Common Mistakes in Wallpaper Measurements

Accurate measurements are crucial when planning to wallpaper a room. Failure to correctly measure your walls can result in unnecessary expenses or inadequate materials. Here, we highlight some common mistakes that people often make when measuring for wallpaper and share some tips on how to definitely avoid them.

Not Accounting for Windows and Doors

One often overlooked mistake is not subtracting the square footage of your doors and windows from your overall wall space. Although these areas will not be covered by wallpaper, many people forget to account for them, leading to overestimation of their wallpaper needs.

Miscalculating Pattern Repeats

Not all wallpapers are created equally. Some have designs, known as patterns, that repeat. Miscalculating the pattern repeat can lead to a poor match and a jarring visual effect. Make sure to take the pattern repeat into consideration when measuring how many rolls of wallpaper you'll need.

Ignoring Room Corners

Room corners can often distort measurements due to their irregular shape. If these are overlooked, it could lead to shortfalls in your wallpaper supply. To avoid this, always add an extra 10 to 15 cm to your measurements for each corner.

Failing to Consider Future Use

Failing to set aside extra wallpaper for future use is another common mistake. Accidents happen, and having spare wallpaper will save you from having to hunt down the same pattern in the future, which might not be available anymore.

Forgetting to Double Check Measurements

Always double-check your measurements! Many mistakes in wallpapering stem from not verifying measurements, leading to under or overestimation. It's always worthwhile to double-check and avoid costly missteps.

Neglecting Wall Obstacles

Elements like fireplaces, built-in cabinets, and architectural features may reduce the surface area for wallpaper installation. Make sure to measure these areas separately and deduct them from your total surface area calculation to achieve the most accurate measurements.

Assuming All Walls are the Same

Last but not least, don't assume all your walls are the same height and width. Especially in older houses, walls vary in size. So remember to take individual measures for each wall.

Measuring for Wallpaper Borders and Accents

Adding border accents to your wallpaper can give your room a distinctive and stylish finish. However, to achieve that perfect look, it is crucial to accurately measure and calculate the required amount of border wallpaper.

Determining the Measurement of the Room

The first step towards measuring for wallpaper borders is to determine the perimeter of the room. Measure the length of each wall in feet and add them together to get the total perimeter. This includes doors and windows as the border typically runs continuously around the room.

Calculating the Number of Border Rolls Needed

Once you have the total perimeter of the room, you will need to figure out how many rolls of wallpaper border are needed. Wallpaper borders typically come in rolls, and the length of each roll is usually specified on the packaging. Take the total room perimeter and divide it by the length of the border roll to get the number of rolls required. It is recommended to round up to the nearest whole number to ensure you have enough material, and account for any error or waste.

Considering Pattern Repeats

Some wallpaper borders have a repeat pattern. This means the pattern is designed to match up at certain points, and you may need to buy extra to ensure the pattern matches up correctly. Check the packaging for information about the pattern repeat. The larger the repeat, the more wallpaper border you will need.

Measuring for Accent Features

Accent features, like a chair rail or wainscoting, may also require additional measurements. Consider the overall design and take into account any area that will not be covered by these features. Measure these areas and add the measurements to your total wallpaper border requirement.

Catering for Errors and Adjustments

Lastly, it is always best to purchase a little extra than your calculated measurements. This extra buffer caters for mistakes and trimming during installation. An additional 10 percent is generally recommended.

Final Thoughts

Doing a little upfront math ensures that you get the right amount of wallpaper border and accents needed, reducing waste and saving money. With careful measurements in hand, you're well on your way to a beautifully finished room.+

Key Takeaways in Wallpaper Measurement

Reflecting back on the steps and crucial pointers we've shared, accurate measurement plays an indispensable role in making your wallpapering project a success. Here are the significant takeaways from this whole process.

Understand the Terminology

From rolls and repeats to drops and match types, knowing your way around wallpaper jargon is essential. Getting familiar with these terms will ensure there's no confusion when it comes to measuring and ordering your wallpaper.

Always Measure Up

Remember, it's always better to round up your measurements to the nearest foot. This gives room for any errors or unevenness in wall size. It also accounts for pattern repeat allowances and makes sure you have a little extra, just in case.

Consider The Space To Wallpaper

Whether it's a full room, a single wall or just the area above or below the chair rail, the space you intend to wallpaper commands the measurement process. Always decide in advance exactly where and how much you want to wallpaper.

Be Mindful of Pattern Repeats

Pattern repeats can significantly impact the quantity of wallpaper you need. For designs with a drop pattern, ensure you account for this in your measurements. Failing to do so could result in not having enough wallpaper to complete your project.

Account for Doors and Windows

Even though doors and windows take up wall space, it's always wise to measure these walls as if they were unbroken. This way, you'll ensure you have enough wallpaper to cover the full height of your walls.

Use a Wallpaper Calculator

Although we've covered how to measure your space manually, using a wallpaper calculator can make the process much easier. These tools typically require you to input your measurements and spit out the number of rolls you'll need.

Always Order Extra

Lastly, it's always a good idea to order an extra roll or two. This comes in handy for any mistakes and allows for future repairs or additions. Plus, it can be difficult to find a matching batch of wallpaper at a later date.

Above all, meticulous measuring ensures less waste, saves you money and time and guarantees a finished project you're happy with.