How to wallpaper your home

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Wallpaper rolls

If you’re planning to redecorate but find the idea of hanging wallpaper a little daunting, take a look at our tips for how to wallpaper. 

1. Prepare the wall


First you’ll need to make sure the wall is clear of old paper – be sure to steam or rip any old paper away. This is also the perfect opportunity to fill any holes that may have cropped up in your plaster since you last decorated – an easy job with some filler.

If you’re fully redecorating it’s a good idea to finish the painting before you apply your new paper – it’s much easier to paint your skirting boards and door frames without having to worry about getting any paint on your new wallpaper.

2. Measure and choose the paper

Now you’ll need to figure out exactly how much paper you’ll need. The first step is to take the measurements that you’ll find on the packing for your paper, and then use a tape measure to get the height and width of the wall that you’re planning to paper.

Once you have all of these measurements, you can use an online calculator (like this one from B&Q) to work out how many rolls you’ll need.

The packaging for the rolls will also display any further details you need, like how far down the paper you’ll need to go to make sure any pattern matches up – take note of these for later, because you’ll need them for a seamless finish.

3. Gather your tools

Tools to be used

Next, get your tools ready. For applying wallpaper you don’t need too much kit:

  1. A roller to help apply the paper to the wall
  2. Wallpaper paste – you can find ready mixed paste in any good DIY shop.
  3. A brush if you’re applying the paste to the paper
  4. A spirit level to keep everything straight
  5. Something to mark the wall as needed

4. Paste the wall or paste the paper?


We’ve covered both here, but it can be difficult to know whether to choose paste that goes on the wall, or paste that goes on the paper. Often this is decided by the paper you choose – your chosen paper may not be suitable for holding paste, or may have specific backing designed to take wallpaper paste. Be sure to follow the instructions on the paper you buy.

If you’re pasting the wall…

Use something long and straight, like a spirit level or plumb line, to draw a vertical line down the wall around 50cm in. This will be what you’ll line the paper up with when you start papering the wall. 

Cut the wallpaper slightly larger than the height of the wall to allow for trimming and to make sure the pattern will line up correctly.

Follow the instructions to prepare your paste, then apply it to the wall. A roller is best to apply it smoothly and evenly.

If you’re pasting the paper…

Prepare the paper and the wall the same as if you were pasting the wall, by marking the long vertical line and cutting the wallpaper to match the height – plus some extra. 

Once your paste is mixed, apply it evenly to the back of your wallpaper using a soft, wide brush, working from the middle of the paper outwards. Once covered, fold the paper in on itself in a concertina or accordion fashion, and then leave it to soak.

5. Line it up, smooth it out

A couple wallpapering

Now your paste is applied, it’s time to get paper on the wall. Using the line you made earlier as a guide, get your first piece of wallpaper against it so it’s straight, and then press it onto the wall.

Use a brush to smooth it onto the wall, from the centre of the paper out so there’s a nice, smooth finish with no bubbles.

6. Trim and repeat


Once you’re happy with the position of the first piece, trim it to fit perfectly using scissors or wallpaper trimmers.

Repeat the process with your second strip of wallpaper, and this time line it up with the edge of the first – you may need to move it around if there’s a pattern to make sure it lines up.

You can use a seam roller to smooth out the joins between the wallpaper strips to help achieve that perfect wall. Repeat this process until you’ve finished your wall.

Tricky bits

There are often things attached to walls that need extra attention. Don’t panic – we’ve broken down the most common ones here.

Switches and sockets

  1. Let the paper cover the switch or socket completely when you’re lining up your paper on the wall
  2. Once the switch or socket is covered, mark out where it is on the paper, and cut out a hole for it using a knife or scissors. (If you’re pasting your paper, do these first two steps before applying the paste)
  3. Feed the socket through the hole, and then loosen the screws on the socket itself – you want the paper to sit just underneath the socket to make it seamless
  4. Once it’s sitting well, re-tighten the screws

Door and window frames

  1. Wallpaper up to one side of the door or window frame, letting the last piece of paper hang over the side of the frame
  2. With the paper hanging over the frame, cut a diagonal line from just above the top corner of the frame down a few centimetres past the edge of the frame. This will allow you to smooth the wallpaper around the corner of your window or door frame without any creases
  3. Wallpaper above and below the frame as normal
  4. Repeat the steps above on the other corner