How To Wallpaper A Wall

Whether you are wallpapering a complete room or just a feature wall, our guide walks you through the entire process with photos of each step.
Written By: Edward Bailey | Updated:
How To Wallpaper
Edward Bailey/DIY Works

Learning the steps to wallpaper a room can not only save you money but also give you complete satisfaction on a job well done. Whether the wallpaper you want to hang is a comforting warm colour for your living room or a fun design for a nursery (as we’ve done for this tutorial), there is a huge choice of colours, styles, textures and patterns to choose from.

If it’s your first time hanging wallpaper, below is our detailed guide that walks you through everything you need to know, with photos of each step of the process.

What You’ll Need

  • Dust sheet (if you want to protect the floor)
  • A sponge or a damp cloth
  • Plumb line
  • Spirit level
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Pasting brush
  • Pasting table
  • Roller (for pasting the wall)
  • Wallpaper scissors
  • Wallpaper hanging brush
  • Step ladder (if required for tall walls)
  • Retractable knife
  • Seam roller
  • Bucket
  • Paste/Adhesive
  • Wallpaper to be hung

Unless you already have all the tools, we would highly recommend purchasing a wallpapering kit. Within this tutorial on how to hang wallpaper, we used the Coral 10321 Kit, which was available in several sizes.

How Much Wallpaper Do You Need?

When it comes to deciding how much wallpaper you’ll need, accurate measurements rather than guesswork is highly recommended. After all, high-quality wallpaper isn’t exactly cheap to buy in bulk, but at the same time, you don’t want to run out while you are hanging it.

In terms of calculating how much wallpaper you need, the easiest method is to work out the area in square metres and then add 10% for any errors or damage.

how much wallpaper do i need

Edward Bailey/DIY Works

For example, if your wall is 2.5 metres tall and 8 metres wide, you’ll need 20m2 of wallpaper (length x width) plus an additional 2m2 (+10%). Therefore, when you are shopping for your wallpaper, you’ll use this figure to calculate the number of rolls you’ll require for the room.

As shown in the above image, all wallpaper packaging will include the square meterage that it’ll cover. Therefore, using the above example of 20m2 plus 2m2, we would require 4 rolls of the above wallpaper that offers 6.9m2 per roll.

It’s important to note that depending upon any windows or doors in the room, you may require less wallpaper. However, for peace of mind, we would always prefer to have a little extra left behind to be on the safe side.

Preparation Of The Wall

Depending upon the condition of your wall will determine how much preparation is required before you can begin to hang wallpaper.

For example, if your walls have just been plastered, you may want to allow the plaster to dry out completely before you begin applying any paste to the walls.

On the other hand, the wall may be in poor condition before wallpapering and require a wall filler to fill in any of the imperfections.

Another factor to consider about the preparation is whether wallpaper is already on the wall. Although it’s possible to wallpaper over old wallpaper, it’s not something we would recommend. This is because it can lead to paper peeling faster and unwanted textures appearing in the newly hung wallpaper.

Therefore, we highly recommend removing any wallpaper beforehand for complete peace of mind. If it’s your first time removing wallpaper, we advise using a wallpaper steamer.

How To Hang Wallpaper


1. Ensure The Wall Is Clean & Ready For Wallpaper

The first step of hanging wallpaper is to ensure the wall is completely clean and ready for the paste and wallpaper.

As well as ensuring the wall is prepared (as mentioned above), you can also give it a thorough clean if required.

To do this, we recommend using a sugar soap solution, which will get rid of most of the dirt on the wall.

Wallpapering A Room

Edward Bailey/DIY Works

If you don’t want to create the sugar soap solution from scratch, it can be bought fairly cheaply online.

It’s important to note that if you do clean your walls prior to wallpapering, you’ll want to ensure it’s completely dry before applying the paste.

2. Prepare The Paste

The next step we recommend is to start preparing the paste as per the manufacturer’s instructions. For this tutorial, we used the Solvite Adhesive, which we recommended as the best paste to use in our roundup.

how to mix wallpaper paste

Edward Bailey/DIY Works
how to make wallpaper paste

Edward Bailey/DIY Works

3. Measure The Wall & Mark Out The Vertical Lines

Possibly the most important stage of hanging wallpaper on the wall is the measurements. To do this, you’ll want to mark out the width of your wallpaper (most are 53 cm) as shown in the image below.

Although the width of your paper may be 53 cm, you’ll want to mark out vertical lines that are slightly narrower (i.e. 50 cm). This is because it’ll allow you to wallpaper from a straight hanging mark whilst avoiding imperfect corners.

With the width measurements marked out, use your plumb line to create the vertical lines down the wall.

how to measure wallpaper

Edward Bailey/DIY Works
how to measure a wall for wallpaper

Edward Bailey/DIY Works

4. Apply The Paste To The Wall

Before you cut and hang the wallpaper, you’ll want to apply the paste to the wall that’s to be wallpapered.

The most efficient way of doing this is to pour your paste into a tray and then use a paint roller to apply it to the walls (as shown in the image).

While applying the paste onto the wall, you’ll want to try to apply thin, even layers. This is because laying the paste on too thick can lead to air bubbles and additional mess.

how long does wallpaper paste last

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5. Cut The Wallpaper

The next step is one where a lot of costly mistakes can be made because it involves cutting the wallpaper to length. However, to avoid the whole sheet of wallpaper going to waste, you’ll want to measure the drop of the wall and add 10cm for trimming. This way, you’ll have at least 10 cm of leeway in case of any incorrect measurements.

Once you have measured the fall and marked it out on the wallpaper, you can proceed to cut it. Ideally, you’ll want to use a sharp blade to avoid any tears occurring on the wallpaper.

It’s important to note that before you cut the wallpaper, you’ll want to ensure that you check there is no damage. If there are any knocks, scratches or other defects to the wallpaper, you’ll want to throw away that section.

how to cut wallpaper straight

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how to cut wallpaper

Edward Bailey/DIY Works

6. Apply Paste To The Wallpaper & Fold (Optional)

After cutting the wallpaper, you can then apply paste to the back of it. Although this technically isn’t required as the paste is also on the wall, we recommend doing it because it provides the best of both wallpaper installations.

Depending upon the length of the wallpaper, you may also want to fold it to make it easier to hang. In terms of how to fold the wallpaper, we would recommend that you fold it in a concertina fashion, as shown in the image below. This is because you can take one end of the wallpaper to hang it to the top corner and then unfold it as you move downwards.

how to paste wallpaper

Edward Bailey/DIY Works
how to concertina fold wallpaper

Edward Bailey/DIY Works

7. Position & Hang The Wallpaper

With all the preparation work completed and the wallpaper cut to size, you can finally hang it on the wall.

To begin, you’ll want to unroll the wallpaper from the top of the wall and give at least a 3cm overhang on the ceiling or coving to allow for a straight cut.

With the top of the wallpaper aligned, you can now focus on the vertical lines.

To do this, you’ll want to carefully line up the paper against the guide mark and adjust the position if required. If you are unhappy with the alignment, you should be able to pull the wallpaper away from the wall as the paste takes a while to fully adhere.

how to hang wallpaper

Edward Bailey/DIY Works

To ensure that you are able to hang wallpaper with ease upon tall walls, we highly recommend that you use a quality set of step ladders. Whether you buy or borrow the ladders, it makes the job far more easier.

After the wallpaper has been hung, stand back and visually check that it’s aligned correctly and that there is no damage to the wallpaper. If everything looks great, you can proceed to smooth it out on the wall.

8. Smooth The Surface

With the wallpaper hung onto the wall, you’ll now want to smooth the surface to eliminate any air bubbles under the wallpaper. To smooth out the surface, you can use either a brush (as shown in the image) or a roller. In terms of how to smooth the surface, we recommend that you work outwards from the centre and towards the edges.

If you find that there is an air bubble that you can’t get rid of, this would indicate that there may have been an imperfection in the wall, such as dirt, an uneven surface or even holes. There are multiple ways that you can remove air bubbles, but if you have enough wallpaper, it may be worth redoing the section of the wall for the perfect finish.

how to put up wallpaper

Edward Bailey/DIY Works

9. Trim Excess Wallpaper

After smoothing out the surface, you can then trim off the overhang that’s left at the top as well as anything that’s at the bottom. The best way of achieving a straight cut that doesn’t tear is to use a ruler and a sharp knife (as shown in the image). Whilst cutting, try not to dig too hard because you may damage the ceiling or coving. After you’ve trimmed the top and bottom, you can then proceed to smooth out the edges.

how to cut wallpaper at ceiling

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10. Repeat Steps 5 to 9 & Join The Next Piece

With the first roll of wallpaper successfully hung, you can begin to measure, cut, paste and hang the next rolls. When it comes to positioning the joining pieces, you may need to adjust them to match the pattern (if you are using patterned wallpaper).

how to wallpaper a wall

Edward Bailey/DIY Works
how to wallpaper a feature wall

Edward Bailey/DIY Works

11. Smooth The Join

After hanging the next sheet, you’ll then need to smooth the join between the two pieces of wallpaper, which can be achieved using a seam roller.

Join Wallpaper Edges

Edward Bailey/DIY Works
Smooth Wallpaper Edges

Edward Bailey/DIY Works

12. Complete The Entire Wall/Room

Using all of the steps mentioned above, continue to wallpaper the entire room. However, if you need any assistance with regard to corners, door frames, windows or sockets, please read below for our top tips.
How To Wallpaper Guide

Edward Bailey/DIY Works

13. Clean The Wallpaper

Once you’ve completed the entire room, you’ll want to clean the wallpaper of any debris or paste. To do this, we would recommend using a slightly damp cloth to wipe down the wallpaper (as shown in the image).
How To Clean Wallpaper

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The Tricky Bits

Although wallpapering a wall with no obstacles in the way is relatively straightforward, the likelihood is that you’ll come across a radiator, socket and corners whilst hanging wallpaper. Therefore, if you are wondering how you will overcome what we would call “tricky bits”, below are some of our top tips.

Wallpapering Behind Radiators

Ideally, removing any radiators beforehand is highly recommended because it’ll allow you to achieve a much better finish. However, as this isn’t always possible, you can still wallpaper behind a radiator relatively easily.

To achieve this, you’ll need to hang the wallpaper as you would normally but you’ll need to feed the wallpaper down behind the radiator. Before applying paste, you’ll need to mark the position of the brackets and then cut slits into the paper to accommodate the brackets.

how to wallpaper around a radiator

Edward Bailey/DIY Works

Once the cuts have been made, you can apply paste behind the radiator and then carefully feed the wallpaper behind it. To ensure that you get a smooth finish, use a suitable roller to push it downwards. Once you’ve reached the bottom of the radiator, you may then need to push the wallpaper behind the pipework.

It’s important to note that when you are hanging wallpaper behind and around a radiator, it should be turned off.

Wallpapering Around Sockets

Another challenging obstacle is light and plug sockets.

However, they are easier than you expect, but before you even begin tackling the sockets, you’ll want to ensure the electricity in your house is switched off.

Once you’ve confirmed that the electricity is switched off, unscrew the socket and pull it away from the wall. Afterwards, paste the wall and smooth the wallpaper into place.

The next step is to mark out where the socket is underneath the wallpaper and mark out the four corners of the faceplate. We would recommend marking an “X” that lines up to each corner and then using your scissors or knife to cut the two lines that form the “X” (as shown in the image below). You should then be able to pass the socket through the cut that you made, trim away the excess wallpaper behind the socket and then screw it back into place.

how to wallpaper around plug sockets

Edward Bailey/DIY Works
how to wallpaper around sockets

Edward Bailey/DIY Works

Wallpapering Around Corners

If you need to wallpaper around a corner, taking measurements beforehand is highly recommended. Our method of tackling corners is as follows:

  • Measure the distance between the edge of the last sheet and the corner
  • Hang the wallpaper and smooth it into the corner
  • Place your plumb line 3 cm less than the width of your wallpaper around the corner
  • Use a knife to cut through both sheets at the corner
  • Pull away any overlap from the first sheet
  • Use a seam roller to smooth out both sides of the corner
how to wallpaper around a corner

Edward Bailey/DIY Works

Many people tend to overcomplicate wallpapering around corners, but there isn’t too much to it apart from an additional measurement and cut.

Wallpapering Around Windows

Windows often pose a problem when it comes to hanging wallpaper, but they are usually fairly easy to overcome. To wallpaper around a window, cover the openings, mark the angle with your finger and cut the excess paper.

You can then use a sharp blade to cut the wallpaper at a 45-degree angle, which was marked out by your finger. With the angle cut out, you can proceed to hang the wallpaper.

How To Dispose Of Wallpaper Paste

After successfully hanging your wallpaper, you’ll more than likely have paste left over in a bucket or tray.

Luckily, the paste is very easy to dispose of, and you have two options, which are to either dilute it with water and pour it down your toilet or throw it in the bin with your household rubbish.

As wallpaper paste is non-hazardous and water-soluble, it can be disposed of in the main sewage system or within a landfill site because it doesn’t harm the environment. The packaging of the wallpaper paste you used should also confirm the above and give you options for how to dispose of it.

How To Dispose Of Wallpaper Paste

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Conclusion

Although wallpapering a room may look daunting at first, you’ll soon start becoming very confident after the first roll has been hung. It really is a DIY task that anyone can achieve with patience, and if any mistakes are made, you should have plenty of wallpaper left over to rectify the issue.

Hopefully, our guide on wallpapering a room has walked you through the entire process and given you the confidence to give it a go yourself. However, if you need further assistance, contact us, and we will try to help you where possible.

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