How To Wallpaper A Wall

How To Wallpaper A Wall

How To Wallpaper A Wall

Introduction to Wall-Papering

When it comes to interior design, wallpaper can dramatically change the appearance and atmosphere of a room. The beauty of wallpaper lies in its versatility; it comes in a multitude of colors, patterns, and textures providing endless design possibilities. This introduction to wall-papering will give you insight into the fundamentals so that you can confidently embark on your wallpapering project.

Understanding Wallpaper Varieties

The first thing to know is that wallpaper types differ significantly. The type you choose can impact the application process, how long the wallpaper lasts, and how easy it is to remove. Some common types include vinyl, non-woven, and pre-pasted wallpaper, each offering unique benefits.

The Importance of Preparation

Starting with well-prepared walls is crucial for a successful wallpaper project. This preparation involves cleaning, smoothing and priming the walls to ensure the wallpaper adheres properly and lasts longer. Understanding the steps and materials needed for this process is key.

Measuring Your Space And Wallpaper

Before beginning any wallpaper project, accurate measurements of both your wall and wallpaper are essential. This will allow you to calculate precisely how much wallpaper you will need, helping you to avoid purchasing too much or too little.

The Right Tools for the Job

Having the right tools on hand can make your wallpaper project go smoothly. These include a tape measure, utility knife, smoothing tool, sponges, and ladders. Besides, certain types of wallpaper may require specific tools for their application.

Applying Your Wallpaper

The process of applying wallpaper can be challenging, especially for beginners. It involves multiple steps, including cutting the wall-paper to size, pasting the wall-paper, and finally, smoothing it out to eliminate any air bubbles or creases. This section will walk you through the process in a step-by-step manner.

Taking Care of Your Wallpaper

Once the wallpaper is up, proper maintenance is important to keep your wallpaper looking its best over time. This might include cleaning with a soft cloth, avoiding harsh chemicals, and addressing any damage immediately. Knowing these maintenance tips can help extend the lifespan of your wallpaper.

Experiment and Have Fun

Wallpapering allows you to express your personal style and add character to your space. Experiment with different colours, patterns, and textures. Remember, while it's a detailed and meticulous process, it should also be fun!

Understanding Different Types of Wallpaper

When deciding on the perfect wallpaper for your home, it's essential to understand the different types available on the market. Each type comes with its unique advantages and disadvantages, so your ultimate selection will often depend on the specific demands of the room you're decorating and the look you're hoping to achieve. Let's delve into some of the most popular types of wallpaper.

Vinyl Wallpaper

Vinyl wallpaper is revered for its durability, making it an excellent choice for high-traffic areas such as hallways or children's rooms. This type of wallpaper consists of a patterned, vinyl-coated layer that sits above a paper or fabric substrate. Thanks to its resilient surface, it is both stain-resistant and easy to clean.

Non-Woven Wallpaper

Non-woven wallpapers are popular amongst those looking for an eco-friendlier and breathable option. This type of wallpaper is made from natural and synthetic fibers, which make it resistant to moisture and odors. Moreover, it's easier to apply and remove compared to other types, making it a suitable choice for beginners.

Flock Wallpaper

For a touch of opulence, flock wallpaper offers a sophisticated texture by using a high-pile fiber to mimic the look of velvet or suede. However, due to its elaborate design, it can be quite challenging to hang and is therefore better suited for small, low-traffic areas like a feature wall or bedroom.

Grasscloth Wallpaper

If you're interested in a more organic and textured look, grasscloth wallpaper made from woven grasses can add a unique flair to your room. As it's made from natural materials, each roll tends to be uniquely textured. It's worth noting, however, that this type of wallpaper is more difficult to clean than its synthetic counterparts and is therefore not recommended for high-traffic rooms or rooms with high humidity like bathrooms or kitchens.

Foiled Wallpaper

Foiled wallpaper can give your room a distinctive, shimmering finish. A thin layer of foil is applied to a paper backing to create this product. While it can be a stunning choice for feature walls, it also tends to show wall imperfections more than other types, so a smooth, well-prepared surface is crucial.

Textured Wallpaper

This type of wallpaper adds a three-dimensional effect to your walls. From subtle textures that provide a subdued tactile surface, to more dramatic raised patterns, textured wallpaper offers a unique aesthetic appeal. It's also good for covering minor wall imperfections.

Embroided Wallpaper

Embroided wallpaper is a high-end luxury wallpaper that features beautiful patterns created by an embroidery process. This type of wallpaper is typically handcrafted and adds a dramatic and exclusive touch to any wall, making it a popular choice for bedrooms and living rooms.

Choosing the right wallpaper for your home can make a significant difference in the overall look and feel of your space. By understanding the different types of wallpaper available, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your personal style, and the functional needs of the space.

Necessary Supplies for Wallpaper Installation

When preparing to wallpaper a room, you'll need to ensure you have all the necessary tools and materials at hand. Each of these items plays a crucial role in achieving a smooth and professional-looking finish on your walls.


The star of the show, of course, is the wallpaper itself. The choice of design and quality of the wallpaper can greatly impact the final result of your project. It's crucial to select a wallpaper that suits the theme and style of your room. When buying wallpaper, always account for a little more than your wall's measurements; this can cater for any mistakes or miscalculations.

Wallpaper Paste

Wallpaper paste is a necessary component to adhere the wallpaper onto the wall. There are ready-mixed pastes available on the market, or you can opt to buy powdered wallpaper paste to mix yourself. The choice generally depends on the type of wallpaper you choose, as some may require a specific type of paste.

Paste Brush or Roller

A paste brush or roller is used to evenly apply the wallpaper paste on the wall and on the back of the wallpaper. This ensures a strong and even application, preventing the formation of bubbles or creases.

Wallpaper Smoother

This tool is usually plastic and used to push out any air bubbles and create a smooth finish after the wallpaper has been applied.

Trimming Tools

These tools typically include a sharp utility knife and a straight edge. The utility knife is used to neatly trim excess wallpaper, while a straight edge ensures cuts are clean and straight.

Level and Tape Measure

An essential part of wallpapering is ensuring straight lines. A level is imperative in making sure your wallpaper isn’t slanted, while a tape measure is used to help assess how much wallpaper is needed and to mark out where to apply it.

Ladder or Step Stool

Since most wallpapering involves reaching heights, a ladder or step stool is required. Always ensure you are safely balanced when using these items to prevent falls and injuries.

Bucket and Sponge

A bucket and Sponge are necessary for activating certain types of pre-pasted wallpaper and for cleaning up excess paste.

Now you're armed with the information about the tools and materials you'll need, it's time to move on to the next stage: preparing the space for wallpaper installation.

Prepping Your Wall for Wallpaper

Before starting the process of applying wallpaper, you need to prepare your walls. This step cannot be overlooked, no matter how eager you might be to see the final results as it ensures that your wallpaper adheres correctly and looks its best for years to come.

Clearing the Wall Area

The first task in wall preparation is to clear the area. This involves removing existing wallpaper, nails, screws, or any other obstacles that could interfere with the application. Dust and cobwebs should also be cleared away with a broom or vacuum cleaner, and any outlet or switch covers removed.

Repairing Wall Damage

Next, you will need to address any damages your wall might have. This includes holes, cracks, or uneven areas. Use a plaster compound or a pre-mixed wall patch to repair these sections, following the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Once dry, sand these areas until they are smooth and even with the rest of the wall.

Cleaning the Wall

After all repairs have been made, it is crucial to clean the wall thoroughly. This will help remove any remaining dust, grease or dirt that could prevent the wallpaper adhesive from sticking properly. You can use a sponge and a mixture of water and mild detergent for this process. Ensure you rinse the wall well and let it dry completely before proceeding.

Sizing the Wall

Sizing is the process of applying a thin, diluted coat of adhesive to the wall before hanging wallpaper. This step is especially crucial if your walls are absorbent, like plaster. The size forms a barrier that seals the wall and prevents it from absorbing the wallpaper paste, enabling easier movement and positioning of wallpaper, and improved adhesion.

Priming the Wall

If the wall has never been wallpapered before, it's recommended to apply a primer. This seals the wall and provides a uniform surface for the wallpaper to adhere to. It can also make the process of removing the wallpaper later on much easier.

Applying a Lining Paper

Finally, you might find it beneficial to apply a lining paper, especially if your wallpaper is thin or delicate. This additional layer helps hide imperfections on the wall and provides a smooth and even surface for your wallpaper. This step is not always necessary, so it's important to check the manufacturer's instructions of your chosen wallpaper first.

Preparation Timeline

Remember, rushing through wall preparation might cause problems later, like bubbles, loose edges, or uneven wallpaper, which could require a redo of the whole process. Allowing ample time for each step, especially for walls to dry thoroughly, is key to a successful wallpaper project.

The process of prepping your wall for wallpaper might sound time-consuming and a bit daunting, but it is definitely worth the effort. A properly prepared wall can make the difference between a professional-looking wallpaper job and a less than perfect result. So, take your time, follow these steps, and you'll get a beautifully wallpapered wall to be proud of.

Correctly Measuring and Cutting Wallpaper

Applying wallpaper to your walls is a delicate process that requires precision in measurement and cut. This section will guide you through each step, ensuring a professional finish.

Establishing Measurement

Start by measuring the height and width of each wall or surface you intend to cover, using a tape measure. Be sure to add a few extra inches to your measurements to accommodate any irregularities on the wall. Make a note of each measurement for reference.

Calculating Wallpaper Quantity

Determine the number of rolls needed based on your measurements. Wallpaper typically comes in rolls that are 20.5 inches wide by 33 feet long, but check your specific paper as dimensions can vary. Divide the width of your wall by the width of the wallpaper to get the number of strips you'll need, then multiply this number by the wall height to get the total length of wallpaper required.

Matching Patterns

If your wallpaper has a repeating pattern, you'll need to account for the pattern repeat in your calculations. This is the distance between one point in the pattern to the same point in the next repeat. Add this length to each strip so when they're placed side by side, the patterns align correctly.

Cutting Wallpaper

With measurements complete, you can begin cutting. Using a straightedge and a utility knife, cut the wallpaper ensuring the blade is sharp enough to avoid ripping the paper.

Laying Out and Trimming Excess

After applying the paper to the wall, use a wallpaper smoother to secure it, working from the middle to the edges to remove any air bubbles. With a straightedge and razor, trim the excess wallpaper at the top and bottom for a neat finish.

Practical Tips

Always double-check your measurements before cutting. Be mindful of outlets and switches, and don’t forget to factor doors and windows into your calculations. If there are any uncertain aspects, it’s better to overestimate than underestimate.

Applying Paste and Hanging Wallpaper

Visually transforming your room can take place in a matter of hours when you decide to apply wallpaper. Before you start, ensure you have all necessary equipment such as paste, a paste brush, a plumb line, scissors, a smoother, a utility knife, and of course, your chosen wallpaper.

Paste Preparation and Application

Start by preparing your wallpaper paste. It’s essential that you follow the manufacturer's instructions to make sure the paste is the correct consistency. You can apply a thin, even layer of the paste directly onto the paper or onto the wall, depending on the type of wallpaper you’re using. Use the paste brush for this process, ensuring you cover the entire surface without leaving any dry areas, paying particular attention to the edges. If your wallpaper is prepasted, simply dampen the surface of the paper with water using a sponge or a roller.

Using a Plumb Line

The plumb line is an essential tool for ensuring your wallpaper is hung straight. Draw a vertical line with the plumb line from the ceiling to the floor. This will serve as your guide when placing your first piece of wallpaper onto the wall.

Cutting and Hanging the Wallpaper

Measure the height of the wall and cut your wallpaper accordingly, adding an extra few inches at both the top and the bottom for adjustments. After this, apply your pasted wallpaper to the wall, beginning at the top and slowly unroll it down the wall, aligning it with your plumb line.

Smooth Out the Wallpaper

Once the wallpaper is in place, smooth out any air bubbles or paste lumps by gently pressing a smoother against the wallpaper, working from the center towards the edges. Do this cautiously as aggressive movements may damage the wallpaper.

Carefully Trim the Excess

After the wallpaper is smoothed and firmly in place, use a utility knife to trim the excess wallpaper at the top and the bottom. To get a clean cut, use a putty knife as a guide and cut along its edge.

Repeat the Process

Proceed to the next strip of wallpaper and repeat the process. Ensure that the pattern on the new strip matches up with the last one before applying paste. After applying each strip, use a seam roller to join the strips together, ensuring a seamless finish.

Maintenance Tips

After you have successfully hung your wallpaper, avoid exposure to sudden temperature changes or humidity to prevent peeling. Gently clean with a damp cloth if necessary, but mostly, your stunning new wall should be care-free.

Tips for Smoothing and Aligning the Wallpaper

Smoothing and aligning wallpaper during wall application is a critical step that ensures the final result is seamless and professional. This step involves skill, patience, and the right tools to accomplish. It's crucial to note that even the smallest bubble or misalignment can ruin the overall appearance of your work.

Proper Smoothing Techniques

One of the most effective tools for smoothing wallpaper is a wallpaper smoother or brush. Start at the top and sweep downward while applying light pressure. Always smooth from the center of the strip outward to the edges to push any trapped air bubbles to the sides. Be cautious to not apply too much pressure as this can stretch the paper or push out too much adhesive.

Dealing With Bubbles

If bubbles form during the wallpaper application, you can remove them by piercing them with a craft needle or utility knife to remove the trapped air or excess adhesive. After piercing, smooth the bubble to distribute the glue evenly.

Aligning Wallpaper

Proper alignment ensures a seamless and professional finish. Always start hanging wallpaper from the edge of the wall and use a plumb line to check alignment regularly. When applying the next strip, match the pattern at eye level, and then smooth out the paper up and down. Do not stretch the paper to make it fit, as this can cause the wallpaper to shrink back and expose gaps when it dries.

Overlapping Seams

Overlapping seams can sometimes occur if the wall is not plumb or the corner is not square. In such cases, use a seam roller to gently press the seams together. Do not press too hard as this can squeeze out the adhesive and cause the edges to lift when dry.

When done properly, the result is a professionally installed wallpaper that improves the aesthetics of your room. Remember, practice makes perfect, and with patience, you'll get there.

Caring for and Maintaining Your Wallpapered Walls

Once you’ve taken the time and effort to perfectly wallpaper your walls, it’s important that you take proper care of them to maintain their beauty and prolong their lifespan. While wallpaper is a durable option, it still requires regular cleaning and maintenance.

Regular Cleaning

To keep your wallpaper looking vibrant and new, you should incorporate regular cleaning into your household routine. Dust and grime can accumulate on the surface over time, making it look dull and tired. The simplest way to clean your wallpaper is to gently wipe it down with a feather duster or a microfiber cloth. For more stubborn dirt, you may use a slightly damp sponge, but be cautious to prevent water damage.

Dealing with Marks and Stains

At times, your wallpapered walls might suffer from scuffs, marks or stains. When this happens, it’s crucial to act promptly. For most wallpapers, mild soap and water solution will do the trick. However, for delicate or textured papers, you might want to use a special wallpaper cleaner. Always test a cleaning solution on a small, hidden area first to ensure it won’t damage the paper.

Preventing Damage

To keep your wallpaper looking its best for the longest time possible, prevention is key. Try to keep your wallpapered walls away from direct sunlight as it can cause the colors to fade. It's also pertinent to redirect any furniture or sharp objects that might scratch or puncture the surface. Lastly, maintain a stable environment with consistent temperature and humidity levels. Extreme changes can cause the wallpaper to peel or warp.


Despite your best efforts, sometimes small damages to the wallpaper, like rips or peeling edges, are inevitable. The good news is, most minor damages can be easily fixed. For peeling edges, a small application of wallpaper paste can help it adhere back to the wall. In the case of tears, a patch from an extra roll of the same wallpaper pattern can seamlessly cover up the damaged section. Remember to always match the pattern for the best aesthetic result.

Professional Help

If your wallpaper requires deep cleaning or extensive repairs, don’t hesitate to call in a professional. They have the necessary tools and expertise to adequately handle delicate wallpapers, remove stubborn stains, and implement accurate repairs - ensuring your walls continue to look stunning for many years to come.