How to wallpaper: top tips
How do I make sure I’ve got enough wallpaper?
Our easy-to-use Wallpaper Calculator takes the guesswork out of how many rolls to buy.
Can I use all types of paper in all rooms?
How do I know if I need lining paper?
If yours is a new-build with perfectly symmetrical walls you won’t need lining paper. If you live in a Victorian semi with walls that have been knocked, filled, papered and stripped over the years, you probably do.
Lining paper smoothes imperfections and improves surface porosity, giving your walls a flawless finish. Available in grades of 400-1400, we recommend you don’t go below 1000, which becomes too thin and stretchy.
Just remember to hang lining paper horizontal to the floor, using a spirit level for accuracy, so that the top layer of wallpaper's joints don't line up with the lining paper. (If you’re planning to paint the lining paper, hang it vertically).
How do I match the patterns?
If you’ve fallen in love with a paper that has a repeating pattern you need some careful planning to get it right first time, and you should anticipate a fair amount of waste to get the perfect match!
How do I hang paper in a stair well?
The first rule is to get someone in to help you. Now, you’ll need to either hire a temporary scaffold or make your own. Depending on the layout of your staircase you can either use one ladder with a scaffold board resting on a stair or stepladders at either end with the scaffold resting on different steps.
Once you’ve measured the height of the head wall (the wall at your back when climbing the stairs) and cut your paper accordingly, paste the wallpaper and fold the bottom half back on itself. Get your helper to support the scaffold while you do the high work.
When you come to paper the well wall (the highest wall up the stair side) you’ll be working with longer drops; this is where your helper will need to support the weight of the pasted and concertina-folded paper, which can be quite heavy.
Be prepared for lots of climbing up and down, repositioning the scaffold and board in place. Don’t be tempted to reach out to hang paper – this is usually where it all goes horribly wrong.
The HSE has produced a great leaflet on using ladders safely.
How do I paper around light sockets and switches?
We've a great guide, How to wallpaper around doors, windows and switches, which gives you all the information you need.
How do I wallpaper behind a radiator?
Either remove the whole unit (having turned off the valves and positioned a bowl and plastic sheeting beneath) or simply paste and hang the paper to about one inch above the radiator so it flaps over the front. Using scissors cut the paper at least 50mm (2”) below the top and smooth it behind using a radiator roller.
How do I deal with bubbles and creases?
It pains us to say it but bubbles usually mean the paper has been poorly applied. If there are lots of bubbles you might be better just replacing the whole length of paper. Tiny bubbles can be pierced with a pin and pressed flat. Larger bubbles can be removed using a craft knife and making two tiny cuts forming a cross over the bubble. Peel back the four flaps, apply wallpaper paste and smooth back down with a sponge, wiping away the excess.
How do I deal with lifted seams?
Carefully slide the blade of a craft knife under the paper and peel it back enough to apply adhesive to the wall beneath it. Take care not to get paste on the surrounding paper, and, using a seam roller, flatten the edges together. Wipe away any excess paste with a damp sponge and dry the seam with a clean, dry cloth, remembering to always work in one direction.
How do I repair damaged sections of wallpaper?
Torn paper isn’t the end of the world. Simply peel back the torn section and using a slim paintbrush apply paste to the section of exposed wall. Smooth back the torn flap and position with a damp sponge, wiping clean with a dry cloth.
How do I conceal gaps between wallpaper joins?
If the wallpaper paste has dried beyond the ‘butting up’ point and you notice a small gap between sections, use this handy trick. Simply buy a tester pot of paint that matches the wallpaper colour and carefully, very carefully, paint in between the gaps. We’re confident no one will notice!