How to hang wallpaper

Another inexpensive way to fresh up your room is wallpaper. The right wallpaper can give a room character, style and brightness. Wallpaper comes in so many colours and styles that your options are endless thus ensuring you will always find the most suitable colour and design for your chosen room. Find out how to accurately measure how much wallpaper you need for your project and how to choose the right wallpaper.

Difficulty rating: Low

These tasks should be fairly straightforward, whether you have experience doing DIY or none at all.

1. Do you need lining paper?

Use lining paper to cross-line a wall if you're hanging embossed or expensive wallcoverings, or if the wall has imperfections that might show through your wallcovering.

Lining paper is usually hung horizontally so the joins don't match up with those on the top layer.

If you're going to paint over the lining paper, hang it vertically.

2. Measuring up

Step 1: Measure your room

Measure the total perimeter of the room in metres, including doors and windows, and divide by the width of the paper. Standard wallpaper rolls are 0.53m wide therefore divide by 0.53.

Step 2: Do a little maths

Multiply the height of the room (in metres) by the number of widths needed to get the total length of wallpaper required and divide this by the length of a roll. Standard wallpaper rolls are usually 10m in length therefore divide by 10. This is the number of rolls you'll need.

Always buy an extra roll or two. We'll refund any unopened rolls!

How much wallpaper do I need?


Starting point for any room is preparation and here is a short guide to how many rolls of wallpaper you need.

3. Preparing the wall

Remove all loose paint, plaster or old paper and fill any cracks. Wash the wall thoroughly with sugar soap.

If the plaster is gloss painted, rub the wall down with 40 grit abrasive paper wrapped around a cork block.

How to prepare a wall for wallpapering


Preparation is important for any decorating job. Here is a quick reference quide of how to prep properly to make sure your hard work is worth it.



4. How to cut wallpaper

Step 1: Measure the height of your wall

Add 10cm to this measurement (to allow for trimming) and use wallpaper scissors to cut your first strip.

Step 2: Cut a second strip

Use your first strip as a guide to cutting the second. If your wallpaper has a pattern, make sure you also line this up before you start cutting.

5. Mixing adhesive

Prepare your wallpaper adhesive before pasting and always follow the manufacturer's instructions.

6. How to hang wallpaper

Step 1: Decide the order of hanging

Start all-over patterns at a window. Then work away from the window in both directions towards the darkest corner of the room.

Large patterned coverings should be centred on the chimney breast. If the room has two adjacent windows, the covering should be centred between them.

Step 2: Draw a vertical line down the wall

Using a plumb line, draw a vertical line with a pencil down the wall you are going to start papering. This will ensure that your pattern will remain straight and avoid the pattern looking diagonal, especially on long walls.

Step 3: Position your first strip of wallpaper

Unfold the top half of the pasted length and press it gently against the top of the wall, allowing enough paper (about 50mm) to trim at the ceiling (fig. 6). Use a papering brush to smooth the length into place, match the edge with your vertical line, and remove any air bubbles.

Step 4: Trim at the ceiling and skirting

Use the end of the brush's bristles to gently tap the paper where the wall meets the ceiling and skirting. To trim any excess paper, mark a line down the corner of the paper with the back of the scissors, ease the paper away from the wall and trim it with the scissors. Brush the paper back into place.

Step 5: Add additional strips to the wall

Place the second strip of wallpaper next to your first and smooth it into place as before. Make sure that you create a seamless butt joint and match the pattern as you position each subsequent strip.

Paper into the corner, allowing a 20mm overlap around the angle. Don't try to work around a corner with a whole width of paper as corners are often not square, causing the length to hang crookedly.

Helpful hints...
  • Where possible, hang the first strip of wallpaper on a wall without a door/window.
  • Try to avoid getting any paste on you front of your wallpaper. If you do, use a damp sponge to gently remove it.
  • If your design has a large pattern, start at the centre of a feature such as the chimney breast or main wall. Make sure that when you cut paper with a large pattern, that there is a full motif at the top of the wall.
  • Keep any extra pieces you cut off for above doors and windows.
How to wallpaper


Now all your preparation is complete it is time to get started. Here is a guide of how to hang wallpaper and top tips.


7. How to paste wallpaper

Step 1: Place the wallpaper strips face down on a pasting table

Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for making up the paste

Step 2: Apply the paste to the back of the wallpaper

Using a pasting brush, use upwards and outwards movements to apply the paste to the back of the wallpaper. 

If needed, allow the pasted strip to soak. The 'soak time' is the period of time it takes the wallpaper to expand out to its maximum width (across the width not down the length) once the adhesive has been applied to the reverse. The soak time is normally indicated on the label as a specific time, e.g. 5 minutes.

Step 3: Fold the ends of the strip in towards the middle of the length

If you have a particularly long strip, you can fold the paper into a concertina.

Now you're ready to hang it on the wall.

Helpful hints…
  • Make sure your pasting table is clean, dry and free from paste.
  • Be careful not to brush inwards at the edges, as this can collect paste on the patterned surface. If this happens, sponge it off straight away.

8. Dealing with awkward bits


Hang the covering from the top of the wall, smoothing it down as far as the architrave.

Use scissors to make a diagonal cut into the corner of the architrave. Push the paper into the angle of the wall and architrave (fig. 7).

Use the scissors to crease the waste along the architrave. Then roll back the paper and trim off the waste.


Treat the top part of the window surround like a door. To cut round the window sill, make a horizontal cut up to the top corner of the sill. Then make a diagonal cut into the bottom corner of the sill. Feel for the end of the sill and make a series of cuts up to this line (fig. 8).

Use the brush to force the paper into the angles made by the wall, the architrave and the window sill. Mark and trim the waste.

Window and door reveals

Cut a width of wallpaper equal to the depth of the reveal plus 50mm over (fig. 9). Paste and fold the piece, but don't hang it yet.

Take a second length of pasted wallpaper and butt it up against the last full width piece of paper you hung. With a pencil, mark the edge of this piece on the edge of the reveal (fig. 10). Put this piece to one side.

Take the small piece and fix it to the reveal, lining it up with the pencil mark. Smooth it onto the reveal and make a cut through the overlap at the corner (fig. 10).

Carefully tear 25mm off the overlap and flatten it round the corners with a brush (fig. 10). The torn edge, when covered, will show less obviously than a straight cut line.

Hang the full-length piece. Make a horizontal cut with the scissors where the piece hangs over the opening. Fold the overlap into the reveal up to the frame. Crease and remove the waste.

Light switches and power sockets


First, turn off the electricity for that circuit at the mains.

Hang the covering as normal, then make diagonal cuts from the centre of the plate to its corners. Trim the waste leaving 6mm extra (fig. 11).

Loosen the screws holding the faceplate and use the brush to tap the paper under the plate. Tighten the screws. When the paper is dry, turn on the electricity.

Carefully tear 25mm off the overlap and flatten it round the corners with a brush (fig. 10). The torn edge, when covered, will show less obviously than a straight cut line.

Hang the full-length piece. Make a horizontal cut with the scissors where the piece hangs over the opening. Fold the overlap into the reveal up to the frame. 


How to wallpaper around doors, sockets and radiators


Wallpapering around doors, sockets and radiators can be tricky but we have some great tips to make the job easy.

9. Create the complete look

Getting that 'pulled-together' look once you've finished decorating your walls is a common challenge faced by many interiors enthusiasts – but it doesn't have to be.

The answer lies in using different textures and accessories to complement your walls. Follow these simple steps and you can mix and match your way to getting a dream room.

Go accessories shopping with your wallpaper

When shopping for new furnishings or matching your wallpaper to existing items, take a sample of wallpaper to test against key pieces. Before you go shopping, decide what look you want to go for.

Mixing shabby chic accessories with striking modern wallpaper might not have the effect you want.

Try out accent colours against your chosen theme and explore different styles by creating yourself a moodboard.

Pull your look together with curtains and blinds

Finish off your room perfectly with our great range of curtains and blinds. If you can't find what you're looking for, don't forget about our Made to Measure service.




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