Walls are your home’s largest surface area, making them a brilliant way to add interest or make an impact. From a statement wall and fun murals to covering an entire room in pattern, wallpaper can create a beautiful look which expresses your personality.
Designer Martin Waller, Founder of Andrew Martin, advises “think about the style of your home. Traditional patterns often suit period houses better, but don’t be afraid of bold colours. Opt for darker, dramatic tones such as purple or navy to make larger rooms appear more intimate, whilst a kitsch patterncan add a sense of fun to a small room”.
The process of hanging wallpaper can seem complicated, but our need-to-know guide will make it feel less daunting. You’ll understand everything about the process in no time, and hanging wallpaper will feel well worth the extra effort.
Your questions answered – everything you need to know about how to hang wallpaper
What do you need to hang a wallpaper?
As well as your chosen wallpaper, you will need lining paper, paste, a paint brush, a Stanley knife, scissors, a straight edge, a pencil, a spirit level and a wallpaper spatula. Wallpaper hanging expert CA Smith says: “a table isn’t essential but gives you more control. You can do it alone, but be warned that a lot more things can go wrong than with paining, and you can’t just paint over mistakes. Be patient and careful.”
Step-by-step how to hang a wallpaper
Abby Hesketh, Product Manager at Graham & Brown, says:
- Draw a pencil mark and draw a plumb line - a vertical straight line - using the straight edge and spirit level. Hang the first drop of wallpaper against it and ensure it hangs straight; the first drop is key as all others will align to it.
- Apply wallpaper paste directly to the wall. Paste over the plumb line and a couple of centimetres wider than the wallpaper you are about to hang; this means you can hang the second drop of wallpaper without worrying about applying paste over the first.
- Use a paint brush to add paste at the top of the wall, around any sockets, and just above the skirting. This will ensure even coverage in difficult areas.Ensure the paper is in the correct position then brush down the paper from the centre to the edges of the roll. Cut the excess paper at the top and bottom with your Stanley knife.
- For the second drop, if it is a patterned wallpaper look to see the point at which the design fits together along the edges. Starting at the top, match the paper as you hang it dry from the roll, lightly brushing the paper to the wall as you go.
- Repeat until you have covered your area.
Where do you start when wallpapering a room?
“It's best to work away from a window’s natural light so the paper edges don't cast a shadow if they overlap slightly,” says Hesketh. “Moving this way means the last ‘drop’ you hang will go into a corner, which means if the wall is wonky or out you can trim the paper, and it won’t be obvious.”
How do you wallpaper a feature wall or mural?
Using patterned paper on just one wall to make it a bold feature can instantly transform a room. Smith says feature walls are increasingly popular, and that it is vital to get the design centralised. Not all patterns run central through a roll so you may have to judge the centre of the design yourself. Once you have, measure the centre point of the feature wall and draw your plumb line through it to begin.With murals, Smith recommends two people working together as precision is key. “Lay out all of the mural panels before you begin to ensure panel order and work carefully, because if you mess up one piece you have to re-buy the whole thing.”
Our tips for hanging wallpaper
- Don’t choose a wallpaper until you’ve checked your walls. “Ideally your wall’s substrate will be relatively flat, but you’ll need to sand any cracks or imperfections,” says Smith. “Paper might not stick well to old walls that were plastered a long time ago”. If the walls are very damaged he advises speaking to an expert.
- Every time you paper to the bottom of a wall, double check that the pattern matches and there are no gaps. Hesketh says “if there are bubbles, or mismatches, just loosely pull the paper back and brush it back down - the paper is forgiving”.
- ”Ensure your wallpaper rolls are from the same batch by checking the batch number, says Smith. “You’d be amazed by the colour variation between batches.”
- Once you start getting paper on the walls, don’t worry about taking breaks or pausing for the night, Hesketh says “you can pick up wherever you left off - just make sure to reapply the paste”. Smith's golden rule is that patience is key. "You need to leave the lining to dry for at least 12 hoursbefore putting up the wallpaper."
Which glue to use for hanging wallpaper
Getting this right is one of the most important aspects. “I would recommend ready mixed paste instead of powder. Try Solvite or Albany, and follow the brand’s instructions,” says Smith.
How much glue do you need to hang wallpaper?
Apply your chosen paste liberally to the wall, using a brush or a roller, donut be afraid to make it wet - and every inch needs to be covered to ensure a good ‘stick’.
See Also:How To Hang A Picture
Where to find a professional to hang wallpaper
Jamie Watkins, Director of wallpaper company Divine Savages says the best wallpaper hangers don’t need to advertise, they use word of mouth. To find them, ask wherever you buy your wallpaper who they’d recommend.
How to know if your wallpaper needs lining paper
Smith says “I would almost always recommend using lining paper, it gives you a perfect base on which to hang wallpaper. Put simply, sticking paper to paper works, but sticking paper to paint or plaster might not.
“Lining paper is also an extra layer of protection to ensure paint doesn’t come off, and makes it a lot easier to apply, remove, replace, and paint over later, as it protects the wall from damage by preparing it for appropriate paste absorption.”