How To Measure Wallpaper Needed

How To Measure Wallpaper Needed

How To Measure Wallpaper Needed

Introduction to Measuring Wallpaper

Whether you're revamping an old space or decorating a new one, choosing the right wallpaper can add character and style to any room. But before you get carried away by patterns and designs, it is crucial to know the appropriate amount of wallpaper needed. Incorrect measurement could result in excess waste or a shortage of wallpaper, both leading to unnecessary costs and delays. This section aims to provide comprehensive insight on how to measure wallpaper correctly.

Understanding Wallpaper Measurements

When purchasing wallpaper, you will encounter terms like rolls, square feet, or yards. These are units of measurement for wallpaper. The standard American wallpaper roll covers approximately 30 square feet. However, designs and manufacturers can sometimes alter these measurements, making it crucial to check the product details before purchase.

Importance of Accurate Measurements

Accurate measurement is not only a matter of resource efficiency and cost-saving. It also influences the overall aesthetic of the room. Falling short on wallpaper might lead to discontinuity in pattern or design, adversely influencing the visual impact intended. Moreover, buying surplus wallpaper without a reasonable margin can result in unnecessary expenditure.

How Will the Doors and Windows Matter?

While determining the amount of wallpaper needed, it's essential to account for doors, windows and other features on the wall that won't be covered. While it may seem logical to subtract these areas from the total square footage, adding a margin to account for pattern alignment or mistakes during installation is recommended.

Pre-measuring Vs Exact Calculation

There are two ways to measure the wallpaper requirements - pre-measuring, and exact calculation. Pre-measuring involves roughly estimating the wallpaper required, whereas exact calculation involves precise measurements, pattern repeat adjustments, and accounting for possible errors.

The Art of Pattern Matching

The pattern-matching plays a significant role in wallpaper measurement. If the pattern repeats itself on the roll, you'll need to align each strip on the wall accordingly. Bigger the repeat, greater the waste and the number of rolls required.

(DIY) Do It Yourself: Wallpaper Measurement

You can measure wallpaper requirements yourself using some basic tools - a metal measuring tape, a calculator and a notepad. The method involves calculating the total square footage of walls and then dividing it by the coverage of one wallpaper roll, adjusting for cutting and pattern matchup waste.

When to Seek Professional Help?

If the room has architectural features like sloping walls, arches, or cornices, or if you choose a wallpaper with a complex pattern, it might be best to consult a professional. They can help determine the quantity more accurately, minimizing the likelihood of wastage or shortfall.

Understanding Wallpaper Specifications

When it comes to selecting wallpaper for your home, understanding wallpaper specifications is crucial. These not only dictate the look and feel of the wallpaper but also impact the quantity required and the installation process. Let's dive deeper into the concept.


Wallpaper is typically sold in rolls. The dimensions, which are usually listed on the packaging, indicate the size of each roll. In most countries, wallpaper rolls measure about 0.53m in width and 10.05m in length. However, the dimensions can vary between different brands and designs. It’s essential to know these dimensions when planning your wallpaper project, as they'll help you calculate the number of rolls needed.

Pattern Repeat

The pattern repeat refers to the vertical distance between where a pattern starts and where it begins again. This specification is critical for patterns that need to line up across multiple strips of wallpaper. When a pattern repeat is larger, more wallpaper is generally needed to match the patterns correctly, which should be taken into account when measuring the wallpaper needed.

Batch Number

Wallpapers are printed in batches. A batch number refers to a group of wallpaper rolls printed at the same time. It's essential to purchase rolls from the same batch as there can be slight color variations between different batches. The batch number is usually listed on the wallpaper roll or packaging.

Application Method

This specification refers to how the wallpaper should be applied. The two main methods are 'paste the wall' and 'paste the paper.' 'Paste the wall' papers are treated with a special adhesive that only requires the paste to be applied to the wall. Conversely, 'paste the paper' wallpapers require the paste to be applied to the back of the wallpaper. This specification will impact your wallpaper quantity as the application method can affect the amount of waste.


Washability refers to how easily the wallpaper can be cleaned. It varies from spongeable, where light dirt and dust can be removed, to fully washable, which indicates that the wallpaper can handle more rigorous cleaning. This is particularly important in spaces like kitchens and bathrooms, where wallpaper can easily get dirty.


Last but not least, sustainability is a growing concern for many homeowners. Many wallpapers are now produced sustainably, utilizing recyclable materials and environmentally friendly practices. Check the wallpaper specifications for information about its environmental impact.

Understanding these specifications will not only guide you in purchasing sufficient wallpaper but also ensure that it meets your room's needs. Therefore, before picking a roll, be sure you are informed about all these features.

Important Tools Needed for Measuring Wallpaper

Just like any other project, measuring wallpaper requires the right tools. Equipped with these, you can ensure accuracy in your measurements, resulting in a perfect fit for your walls.

Measuring Tape

At the top of the list of essential tools is a measuring tape. It’s always best to opt for a long measuring tape, preferably one that extends up to 25 feet. This will cover the standard heights and lengths of most walls. A retractable one is always a good idea, as it's more portable and easy to handle.

Step Ladder

A step ladder is necessary to reach the higher parts of the walls. Depending on the height of your ceilings, you might need a larger ladder. Always prioritize safety and ensure the ladder is sturdy and reliable.

Notepad and Pen/Pencil

While this may seem obvious, it's crucial to have a notepad and pen or pencil to jot down measurements. This prevents confusion or mistakes later on.

Laser Measure

In addition to a measuring tape, a laser measure can be incredibly helpful, especially for larger rooms. These tools provide accurate measurements digitally and can be easier to use for lengthy measurements.


A calculator is necessary for adding up measurements and calculating the total amount of wallpaper needed. This is especially important if your room isn’t a simple rectangle, or if you have doors and windows that need to be accounted for.


A level will help you ensure that your measurements are straight, particularly when marking off areas where the wallpaper will be applied. A crooked measurement could result in wasting a lot of wallpaper.


Last, but not the least, having an assistant is a crucial component when measuring for wallpaper. They can help hold the measuring tape, make notations, and provide a crucial second set of eyes.

Before starting your wallpaper project, ensure you have these tools by your side. They will make the job much simpler and assist in achieving a flawless wallpaper application.

Step-by-Step Process to Measure Your Room

To plan for wallpapering, it's essential to accurately measure your room. Below, we outline this process step by step.

Step 1: Gather Your Tools

Begin by gathering your measuring tools: a tape measure, pen or pencil, and a notepad. Documenting your measurements as you go will help to ensure accuracy.

Step 2: Measure the Width

Measure the width of each wall you plan to wallpaper from one corner to another. Write each measurement down on your notepad.

Step 3: Measure the Height

Next, measure the height of the wall from the floor to the ceiling. Repeat this process for each wall, noting the measurements as you go.

Step 4: Calculate the Total Square Footage

For each wall, multiply the width by the height to get the wall’s square footage. Sum those numbers to find the total square footage you need to wallpaper.

Step 5: Accounting for Windows and Doors

To accurately estimate, you'll want to subtract the square footage of windows and doors from your total. Measure the height and width of each, multiply to find the square footage, and subtract appropriately.

Step 6: Adding Extra for Errors and Trimming

It's a good rule of thumb to add 15% extra wallpaper to your total square footage. This covers potential errors, the space lost during trimming, and allows for pattern matched wallpapers.

Step 7: Converting to Rolls

Wallpaper typically comes in rolls. You'll need to know each roll's square footage (usually stated on the label) to convert your square footage into the number of rolls needed.

Step 8: Double-Check Your Calculations

Finally, it's essential to double-check all of your calculations to avoid a shortage of wallpaper or unnecessary expense.

Following these steps carefully will ensure you're well-prepared for a successful wallpapering project. Remember, it’s better to purchase a little extra than end up short during installation.

Calculating the Wallpaper Required for Complex Room Layouts

If your room has an unusual shape or has several architectural features such as windows, doors, and fireplaces, you're dealing with what we can call a complex room layout. This section provides a comprehensive guide on how to accurately measure wallpaper needed for complex room layouts.

Measuring Wallpaper for Rooms with Doors and Windows

Firstly, there's no need to subtract the area of the doors and windows if they are small compared to the overall wall area. However, for larger features, or multiple doors and windows, it makes sense to deduct their area.

To measure the area of a window or door, simply multiply the width by the height. Add up all the areas of the doors and windows and subtract from the total wall area.

Factoring in Architectural Features

If your room has features like fireplaces or built-in furniture that won't require wallpaper, these areas should be subtracted from your total wall area. Similar to doors and windows, measure the height and width of these features to calculate the area to be subtracted.

Wallpaper for Sloping Ceilings or Stairwells

These areas require some additional calculation. To calculate the area of a sloping ceiling, measure its height at both the highest and lowest points. Then, measure the width of the wall. Calculate the area of the right triangle (1/2 base x height) and the rectangle separately, then add the two together for the total area.

The Importance of Adding Extra

Last but crucially, it's fundamental to count in some extra wallpaper for emergencies, mistakes, and future repairs. A general rule of thumb is to add an extra 15% to the total calculated area.

Handling Corners and Obstacles

Account for corners and obstacles by counting them as a full strip of wallpaper. This may seem excessive, but it allows for a pattern match at these tricky points.

Patterns and Repeat Length

Your final calculations should also factor in the matching of patterns, which can cause more wastage. Determine the repeat length of your wallpaper pattern, then factor this into your measurements.


With these measurements and considerations, you should be able to accurately calculate the amount of wallpaper needed for a complex room layout. Remember, careful planning and accurate measurements are key to avoiding under or overestimating your wallpaper needs.

Factoring in Wallpaper Pattern Repeats

Your wallpaper calculations need to account for the fact that many wallpapers have pattern repeats. These patterns are repeated at regular intervals, and each pattern must align when applied to the wall. This section will guide you through how to factor pattern repeat into your measurements.

Understanding Pattern Repeats

Patterns on wallpapers come in different types and sizes. A pattern repeat is the vertical distance between where the pattern is identical again (repeats). This could be a small interval or only repeated after a large span. Remember, pattern repeats are measured in vertical lengths.

Taking Pattern Repeat into Account

When measuring wallpaper, the pattern repeat affects the total length of wallpaper you’ll need. This is because it's vital to match the pattern on each strip of wallpaper. When you cut each strip, you have to make sure the patterns align correctly, which might mean throwing away some paper. This waste is referred to as the ‘drop’.

Calculating wallpaper Length with Pattern Repeat

To calculate the amount of wallpaper you need including pattern repeats, firstly, figure out the pattern repeat length, which should be specified on the wallpaper roll or the product description. Once you have this, divide the wall height by the pattern repeat. If it doesn’t divide evenly, round up to the nearest whole number. This figure is the number of pattern repeats you’ll need per strip. Multiply this by the pattern repeat length to get the length of each strip. Then, multiply the number of strips needed by the length of each strip to get the total amount of wallpaper needed.

Adjustments for Different Pattern Repeats

If the wallpaper pattern repeat is large, you’ll need more wallpaper to align the pattern correctly. Conversely, smaller pattern repeats or random patterns require less wallpaper. When buying wallpaper, consider the pattern repeat alongside the room dimensions to ensure you buy the correct amount and avoid wastage.

Estimated Wallpaper Allowance

Factor in an allowance for waste due is to pattern alignment and cutting, especially around windows, doors and corners. An additional 10-15% of your calculated wallpaper length is a good estimation. Except in the case of large pattern repeat wallpapers, where it’s advisable to increase the allowance to 20-25% of your calculated length.

Tips to Avoid Waste and Save Money

With careful planning and measurement, you can dramatically reduce wallpaper waste, saving you money and promoting sustainability. Below, we provide seven tips on how to achieve this:

Always Measure Carefully

The first step in avoiding wastage on all projects is accurate measurement. Precisely measure the length and the width of the walls as well as the doors, windows and other fixtures. Remember that it's better to overestimate slightly than to underestimate.

Consider the Repeat Pattern

Different wallpapers have different repeat patterns. The repeat pattern is the vertical distance between where the pattern is identical again. If your chosen wallpaper has a large repeat pattern, you will need extra wallpaper to match the patterns seamlessly. Be sure to account for this when calculating your quantities.

Buy in Bulk

Buying wallpaper in bulk often costs less per roll. So, if you have multiple rooms to decorate or a large amount of wall space, consider purchasing in bulk to save money.

Use Leftovers Wisely

Any leftover wallpaper scraps can be put to creative use, rather than just being thrown away. For example, they can be used for patchwork repairs, decoupage projects, or even as drawer and shelf liners.

Maintain Your Wallpaper Properly

Proper care and maintenance can dramatically extend the lifespan of your wallpaper. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and care to avoid unnecessary replacements.

Reuse Old Wallpaper

Old wallpaper can be reused in a variety of ways instead of discarding it. This could include crafting, decorating gift boxes, or as coverage for old books or albums.

Recycle Unwanted Wallpaper

Most wallpaper offcuts can be recycled. This is not only environmentally-friendly, but also ensures that your unused wallpaper doesn’t take up any additional space.

Remember, it's not just about reducing cost, but also about saving resources and doing your part for the environment.

Troubleshooting Common Measurement Issues

When it comes to measuring for wallpaper, as straightforward as it might seem, errors can occur that could lead to waste of resources. In this section, we delve into these potential challenges and provide actionable solutions.

Issue 1: Inaccurate Room Dimensions

This is a common mistake made by many. Be it due to rush or lack of adequate measuring tools. To overcome this, dedicate time to accurately measure the walls ensuring to note the smallest unit of measure. Using a laser measuring tool can also help improve accuracy.

Issue 2: Not Accounting for Windows and Doors

Forgetting to subtract the square footage of windows and doors is another pitfall. Detail is vital in measuring for wallpaper. Always remember to subtract the size of your doors and windows from the overall measurement.

Issue 3: Awkward Spaces and Corners

Awkward spaces and corners can pose a real challenge when measuring. Measure the narrowest and widest points of such areas, then use the larger value to ensure enough wallpaper is accounted for.

Issue 4: Not Considering Pattern Repeats

If your wallpaper has a pattern, you need to factor in the repeat to make sure the patterns align on each strip of paper. Always check the repeat length on the product information before buying.

Issue 5: Calculating Paper Rolls Incorrectly

Lastly, a common misconception is thinking that more is better. Too many rolls lead to wastage while fewer rolls can stall your wallpapering process. Always use a wallpaper calculator to help you ascertain the correct number of rolls needed.

Remember, always have an extra roll for those unexpected mistakes. Better safe than sorry.