Prep your work area by clearing any breakable objects and covering the area with dustsheets. Strip off the old wallpaper (you may need to rent a steamer to help with this) and prep walls to be smooth. Particularly for uneven walls, consider cross-lining the walls first with lining paper (view our lining paper). If the walls are newly plastered, ensure that they have fully dried out before papering and apply a suitable coating beforehand; acrylic primer, or “size”. When wallpapering a room it is best to have painted all woodwork beforehand – doors, architraves, windows, and skirting boards.
Step 1: Cutting and pasting
1. To begin, either using a plumb line or spirit level, make a pencil mark as a guide for ensuring your wallpaper is hung vertically.
2. Hold up your wallpaper (at your starting corner of the room) to the top of the wall. Checking the pattern position and ensuring it is the right way up, cut the first drop with a trim allowance of 5cm to the top and the bottom.
3. Anchor the cut length of paper down on your pasting table, and carefully brush paste over the back; covering the edges evenly.
Tip: Do not flick the pasting brush back over the edges, as this can result in paste getting on the front of the paper.
4. Fold the ends of the length of paper into the middle (paste side to paste side), and then fold in half. Lay aside to allow the paste to soften the paper for a suitable time – refer to manufacturer’s instructions.
When you are confident, you may cut a couple of drops in advance, so that you reduce any waiting time for the paste to condition the paper. But be careful when planning further forward to think of pattern match and obstacles.
Step 2: Hanging the first drop
1. Once your first drop of paper is ready, climb your stepladder holding a top corner in each hand and allow the top fold of paper to unfold against the wall (paste side to the wall).
2. Carefully smooth the top of the paper against the wall, with your trimming allowance above the position of the top line of papering. Ensure that the paper is hanging vertically, true to your pencil line.
3. Working outwards from the centre of the paper and downwards, use a wallpaper brush to smooth the paper onto the wall removing any air bubbles and avoiding creasing.
4. When you have reached nearly half way down the drop of the paper, use both hands to release the bottom fold of paper, so that the whole drop is now unfolded.
5. Continue to smooth the paper onto the wall until you reach the bottom line of papering.
6. Check that the paper is hanging vertically and that the pattern is correctly aligned before using a blunt straight edge to score along the top and bottom papering lines. Peel back the top edge of the paper from the wall and trim with large scissors along the score line, before smoothing back the paper. Repeat at the bottom edge.
Be careful not to cut the paper too short. In awkward spaces, it is sometimes easier to trim with a Stanley knife.
7. Clean off any paste that may have got onto the surface of the paper, with a clean damp cloth.
Step 3: Hanging the second drop
1. When you are satisfied with the first drop, hold up your uncut roll of paper to match the pattern to the edge of the completed drop, marking the roll of paper 5cm beyond where top and bottom of the second drop will finish.
2. Cut the second drop and hang in exactly the same way as the first drop, but make sure that the edge abuts neatly with the edge of the first drop and that the pattern matches exactly.
3. Use a seam roller over the joint between drop one and drop two, to flatten the seams together and ensure that the paper edges are stuck firmly to the wall. Immediately clean off any paste that may come through the join.
4. Continue with your further drops.
Papering around obstacles: Fixings
Option 1: Cut around
Option 2: Unscrew fixing
Option 1: Cut around
When you come across a fixing, such as switches and sockets, paper over the top and cut a cross in the paper. Trim the excess a little at a time being careful not to overcut. Flatten the paper back against the wall and using a Stanley knife cut neatly around.
Option 2: Unscrew fixing
The neatest finish for light switches or sockets is to unscrew the switch/socket plate from the wall and feed it through the hole that you have made in the paper, and then refit the plate on top of the paper. It is important that you first ensure that you have isolated the electric supply.
Papering around obstacles: Window reveal
(follow this principle for doors too) You will need to paper around the side of the reveal and the underside of the reveal (soffit) as well as the wall above and below the window.
Tip: The window position may influence where you start your first drop of wallpaper, so that you avoid having a join just on the edge of the window reveal.
1. The drop that meets the window should be cut as usual to fit at the top and bottom of the wall. Hang the drop in the usual way; covering over the front of the reveal.
2. In line with the top of the reveal, cut across the paper horizontally until you meet the side edge of the reveal.
3. Repeat along the sill level.
4. Fold the paper around into the reveal and trim to the edge of the window frame.
5. Finish hanging the drop to the areas above and below the window reveal and trim as before.
1. For central window drops, continue papering across the width of the window reveal, ensuring that the drops are vertically aligned and the pattern is matched. Wallpaper drops above the window should paper around from the wall to the underside of the reveal (soffit).
Tip: You may have roll ends or offcuts that can be useful for these smaller areas.
2. When you get to the second side of the window reveal, follow the same procedure as for the first side.
1. You will now need to infill the areas in the soffit corners which are not yet papered. Hold a piece of wallpaper up to the area to be covered, matching the pattern edge (A) to the edge of the adjacent drop (A). Mark out the paper, adding a 3cm allowance to the 3 other sides (B, C, D) of the infill piece, and cut. Paste and hang, first matching the pattern on the uncut side (A).
2. Now, trim into the window frame (B). For the remaining 2 sides (C, D) of the infill, carefully peel back the paper that you have previously hung to the reveal edge and soffit. Tuck the allowance of the infill under, snipping the corner of the infill to enable it to fold, and smooth the peeled paper back down
Recent wallpapering will take a few days to dry out and during this time is prone to damage.
Snags can be repaired by applying a patch of pasted paper in place of the damage. To do this, take a new section of paper and hold up to damaged area; matching the pattern. Cut through both the new section and the paper underneath, then remove the cut away paper from the damaged area and paste in the new matched patch.