How to Wallpaper like a Pro (Top Tips That You Need to Know)

November 26, 2020


If you want to learn how to wallpaper for yourself, you’ve come to the right place! We have compiled a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about wallpapering.

Even if you’re a total novice, our wallpapering tips will help you to succeed.  We’ll explain every step of the process, from preparation to finishing. We’ll even show you how to master trickier steps such how to wallpaper around corners. So read on to discover how to wallpaper like a pro!

After reading, if you're looking for more information on the cost of wallpaper installation be sure to check out our handy price guide!


Wallpaper Supplies


What Equipment Will I Need?

Before you begin to learn how to wallpaper a room you need to invest in the right tools. Below is a list of essential equipment that you will need for this project:

  • Your chosen wallpaper
  • Lining paper
  • Tape measure
  • Paint roller
  • Wallpaper paste
  • Bucket
  • Plumb line or spirit level
  • Scissors
  • Putty knife
  • Ladder or step stool

Using a paint roller instead of a brush to apply your wallpaper paste is more efficient and wastes less paste. Before you begin, you need to make sure that the surface is totally clean. If the wall has been papered before, it’s essential that you remove all traces of the old paper. For the best methods and techniques, read our how to remove wallpaper guide.


Installing Lining Paper


Do I Need Lining Paper?

Most of the time, it won’t be necessary to use lining paper before wallpapering a surface. However, in some cases, it is a good idea. Older walls or surfaces with imperfections will benefit from lining paper. If you’re using foil wallpaper or thinner wallpaper, it is also advisable to use lining paper. Read the instructions on the wallpaper roll, as it will usually say whether you need to line the surface first.

The key benefit to using lining paper is that it will provide you with a high-quality finish. It’s also very cheap, as lining paper starts at around £2 a roll. It can also help to protect you against a lot of the issues that can arise when you wallpaper. Lining paper prevents shrinkage, strengthens the top paper, prevents staining, and flattens the paper. So, investing some time in hanging a layer of lining paper could save you time and money in the long run.


Wallpaper Hanger Price Guide

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How Do I Hang Lining Paper?

Lining paper comes in different grades, or thicknesses, between 800 and 2000. 800 grade is the thinnest and 2000 grade is the thickest. For most D.I.Y. wallpapering jobs, you should stick to either 1200 or 1400 grade lining paper.

You’ll need to hang the wallpaper horizontally, which is a technique known as cross lining. This will prevent the joints in the lining paper lining up with the joints in the top layer. If you don’t do this step, you may be able to see the joints through the top layer of wallpaper. This technique also allows you to avoid the lining paper from being pulled away from the wall later on.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can get away with just using lining paper. This technique should never be used as a substitute for properly preparing your wall. Any cracks or holes should be filled before you begin to line the surface. You may also need to lightly sand down the surface after repairing it. Lining paper needs to be totally dry before you can apply a top layer of wallpaper. Usually, you’ll have to wait around 24 hours. However, if the room is damp you may need to wait longer.


How Much Wallpaper Will I Need?

The size of your project will determine how much wallpaper you need to buy. You’ll need to work out the area of the surface that you want to wallpaper before you buy. Start by measuring the length and height of each wall that you want to wallpaper with a tape measure.

Make sure that you also include the measurements for the spaces above and underneath doors or windows if they are also going to be included. However, you should subtract the measurements of the doors and windows themselves.

Once you have these measurements, multiply them together to find the area in square feet. Add the area of each wall together. Rolls of wallpaper tend to be sold in square feet. So, use this figure to determine how many rolls of wallpaper you need to buy.

It’s also a good idea to factor in waste into your calculations, just in case you make mistakes. Around 15 to 20 percent on top of your calculation should be enough. Drop pattern wallpapers are particularly bad for creating excess waste. So don’t forget to think about this before you purchase. Take the time to accurately work out how much paper your project requires, and you will save yourself a lot of time in the long run. You can also use this handy free calculator to estimate how much wallpaper you need to buy.


Drawing a Plumb Line and Cutting Your Wallpaper

Your overall aim is to make sure that you have smooth, straight, and properly aligned wallpaper. Unfortunately, the majority of homes have walls that are not at a perfect right angle. One way of ensuring that your wallpaper is as straight as possible is to use a plumb bob or a spirit level. These tools allow you to measure how your paper is aligned.

Start by hanging the plumb line from the top of your wall. Use a pencil to mark the straight line down the wall. Do this at several points across your wall, as even on the same surface, it may not be uniformly straight all the way across. If you’re unsure about how to draw a plumb line, this step-by-step video might be helpful.

For the first length of wallpaper, don’t cut it exactly to the height of your wall. Add an extra 5cm to either end of the paper so that it covers your skirting board and part of your ceiling. You’ll need to know what type of pattern your wallpaper uses.


Straight Match Drop Match Wallpaper


Wallpaper Styles and Patterns

These are the most common types of wallpaper patterns. There are pros and cons to each style, and some are more suitable for beginners than others.

Random pattern match: Stripes and other random patterns are the easiest types of wallpaper to hang.

Straight across match: At the ceiling line, the pattern will match across all of the strips.

Drop match: Also known as offset wallpaper. This is the trickiest type of wallpaper to hang. It is not recommended for beginners. This type of wallpaper needs to be pattern matched in two places, so a lot of waste is created. If you’re on a tight budget, you might want to avoid this option.

Within drop match wallpaper, there are two styles. Half-drop patterns repeat at the ceiling line on every other strip. The design tends to run diagonally. It requires three strips of wallpaper to repeat the vertical design.

A half-drop match is a straight match that has been split in half. You’ll need to lay out the room and determine which strips will go where ahead of time. A multiple drop match requires multiple strips before the design will be repeated.


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Applying Wallpaper Paste

An essential part of learning how to wallpaper is working out how to mix the paste properly. This step is essential, as you can end up with lumpy or watery wallpaper paste if you do it wrong. You’ll need a table or a flat surface to apply the paste. Don’t use newspaper to cover the surface, as the ink might transfer onto your wallpaper. Instead, a plastic wrap is a good alternative.

Unroll the paper onto the surface. Usually, you’ll need 8 pints of water to mix enough paste for 4 or 5 rolls of wallpaper. Combine the water and the paste into a bucket. Evenly stir the mixture for 30 seconds. Leave it to stand for another minute and a half. Check the consistency by eye. You may need to give it a quick stir again. If you are mixing a large batch of wallpaper paste, it will keep for a few days. Just make sure that you cover it up properly.


How to wallpaper corners


How to Wallpaper Corners

Learning how to wallpaper corners is one of the trickiest parts of the process. Don’t make the mistake of taking a single sheet of wallpaper and pasting it around a corner. This will cause wrinkles and creases to develop quickly.

For an inside corner, you’ll need to use a wrap-and-overlap seam. When you measure the wall, add an extra half an inch before you cut it. This excess paper will cover the corner. Then, take a second sheet and paste it to the second wall.

The second sheet of paper should end right inside the corner without overlapping. You’ll need to make a relief cut at the right angle between the ceiling and the wall. Make sure that the paper is as smooth as possible before you make the cut. The relief cut needs to be as close to the corner as you can make it.


how to wallpaper electrical fittings


How to Wallpaper Around Electrical Fittings and Plug Sockets

It’s surprisingly easy to deal with electrical fittings and plug sockets when you’re wallpapering. Firstly, make sure that the power is switched off in the room. Then you can paper over the fitting using your main sheet of wallpaper. Next, take a dry brush, and lightly brush over the fitting.

Use a pencil to mark the centre of the fitting. Draw a line from the centre to each of the corners. Pierce a hole in the centre of the paper. Cut along the guidelines that you just created. You will be left with four flaps. They should be around 6mm in width. Unscrew the fitting from the wall. Guide the flaps into this space and reattach the fitting so that the paper is behind it.

Brush around the edge of the fitting to make sure that the edge is smooth and the paper is firmly attached. Make sure that you have allowed enough time for the wallpaper paste to be totally dry before switching the power back on.


Wallpapering Tips and Tricks

It’s not easy to wallpaper an entire room, especially if you’re a beginner. However, there are several wallpapering tips and tricks that will help you to achieve great results. Lay the strips of wallpaper that you are going to apply on the floor before you start to paste the first strip. This will allow you arrange the pattern and determine what order it should be in. You may also find that numbering the strips by using pencil on the back will stop you from getting confused later on.

You can use a putty knife to keep the wallpaper and your blade separated when you are cutting it. This is a useful tip if you are struggling to cut the wallpaper in a completely straight line. It should also stop you from damaging and creasing the paper as you cut it.

If you’re unsure of how to wallpaper using a drop pattern print, you may want to hire a wallpaper specialist. It can be a very tricky process to perfect yourself. Simpler patterns are much easier for people who are new to D.I.Y. You are much less likely to make significant mistakes.


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