Simple Steps to Install Wallpaper

Wallpaper has made a major comeback as a home decorating trend. The selection of striking graphic patterns and stunning prints available now will upgrade the level of style in any room in a home or office. An accent wall is an easy weekend project and a whole room doesn’t take much longer. There are many new materials now being used to make wallpaper and wallcoverings that make them an exciting choice for all interior decorating styles. Hanging wallpaper can be a messy and complex process, but with a few tips from professionals, and a simple step-by-step guide on how to hang wallpaper, you can install wallpaper on your own.


Tools and Materials

Sufficient wallpaper to cover your walls and, if in a pattern, make sure there is enough for trimming to match the pattern

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Wallpaper Primer
  • Paint Roller Brush
  • Level
  • Putty Knife
  • Straightedge or T-square
  • Utility Knife
  • Scissors
  • Sponge
  • Bucket
  • Small paint roller
  • Wallpaper paste
  • Smoothing tool or smoother

Read the manufacturer’s instructions. Wallpaper may be pre-pasted and only requires water applied with a sponge to activate the adhesive. If it is not pre-pasted, you will need a small paint roller and wallpaper paste.

Measure, order, and clean walls

Choose your wallpaper and read any installation instructions from the manufacturer.

Measure walls and calculate how many wallpaper rolls will be required.

Order the number of rolls needed.

Before beginning, clean your walls thoroughly and apply a coat of wallpaper primer.

A coat of primer will help the paper stick to the wall and make it easy to remove if necessary.

Let the primer dry.

Remove electric outlet and light switch covers.

Find the center point and draw a plumb line

Use a measuring tape to measure the walls vertically and horizontally, then mark the center point.

Use a level and a straightedge to draw a vertical straight line through the center point.

This is a plumb line that will help you line up the edges of the wallpaper.

Line up the pattern, measure, cut strips

If you are not using a pattern, you may skip this step.

If the wallpaper has a pattern, lay two rolls on the floor or a large table side-by-side and line up the patterns.

On one sheet, mark where the top and bottom of the pattern will be and measure a few inches down for room to maneuver.

Use a straightedge to draw a line across the wallpaper sheet and trim along this line.

Repeat this process with all rolls of wallpaper going around the room.

Mark the back of the wallpaper strips to indicate which end is the top and which end is the bottom.

Prepare the wallpaper

Lay out the sheets of wallpaper on the floor, or a long table, with the back facing up.

If the wallpaper is pre-pasted, use a sponge and a bucket of water to dampen the back surface area.

If the wallpaper is not pre-pasted, use a small paint roller to apply wallpaper paste over the entire back surface area.

Booking the wallpaper

While the wallpaper strip is damp with water or adhesive, gently fold the top and bottom edges of the strip to the center to bring the adhesive sides together.

Then, gently fold in half again and let these strips rest for 5 to 7 minutes.

This method, called booking, allows the adhesives to be activated and the wallpaper to expand.

Do this in stages so that the strips of booked wallpaper only rest for 5 to 7 minutes, otherwise the adhesives will dry out.

Hang the wallpaper sheets

Unfold the first strip of wallpaper and begin by sticking the top end at the ceiling by the plumb line.

Gently line up the wallpaper with your center plumb line.

Unfold the bottom part of the wallpaper and gently smooth it towards the floor.

Then, smooth over the wallpaper strip with a smoothing tool or plastic putty knife.

There will be a few inches of excess paper hanging at the bottom.

Trim the wallpaper strip

While holding a putty knife against the wallpaper at the baseboard or the bottom of the wall use the utility knife to cut the excess paper from the strip and smooth the bottom edge.

Use this technique around window and door trim, too.

Light switch and power outlet safety

When wallpaper covers a light switch or power outlet, turn off all power to the room before trimming.

Use a utility knife to gently cut an “X” over the outlet, the use a pair of scissors to carefully cut away the wallpaper.

Remove air bubbles & excess adhesive

Use a clean, slightly damp sponge to sweep over the wallpaper strip to remove any excess adhesive and air bubbles.

Start at the the ceiling and work downwards, and from the center outward.

Repeat the process around the room

Unfold the next wallpaper strip and line it up with the pattern on the first sheet.

Make sure the edges of the wallpaper strips meet, but do not overlap, and that there is no break in the pattern.

Repeat the process with the rest of the wallpaper strips around the room.

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