How to hang wallpaper like a pro

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Hanging wallpaper can seem like a daunting task. However, with wallpaper, coverings and murals offering more choice for our walls than ever before, it’s a trend for our homes that shows no sign of slowing down.

If you want to experiment with wallpaper but hanging it is putting you off, follow our guide on how to face those fears and learn some simple fool-proof techniques for hanging wallpaper like a pro!

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What do I need to hang wallpaper?

Hanging wallpaper is a simple DIY job when you have the right tools to hand. Make sure you have everything on this checklist before you start!

  • Spirit level
  • Dust sheets
  • Sandpaper or electric sander
  • Ladders
  • Pencil
  • Paste
  • Seam roller
  • Pasting brush or paint roller
  • Scissors and Stanley knife
  • Sponge and bucket of water

How to prepare your walls before wallpapering

Before you get started move all your furniture well away from the walls and cover it with a dust sheet.

Start by preparing your walls. Doing a thorough job of cleaning at the outset will mean no annoying lumps and bubbles when you hang your paper.

Step 1 – Remove any existing wallpaper. Use warm water or a handheld steamer to soak it off.

Step 2 – Fill any holes and cracks. Take out any old picture hooks or nails and fill the holes. If removing your existing paper causes slight damage to some of your plaster work this will need filling too and sealing with a PVA glue and water mixture.

Step 3 – Once you’ve finished, allow the wall to dry then sand it fully. Check for small bumps that are hard to see by running your hand over the surface to make sure you get them all.

Step 4 – After your wall is sanded remove any residue or grease with a cloth and soapy water solution. Leave the wall to dry fully, then you can get started with preparing your wallpaper.

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How to hang wallpaper

Step 1 - Firstly, find your plumb line. Most walls won’t be entirely straight so a plumb line with help you determine where to start hanging your paper from.

You’ll need a spirit level (or a piece of string and a weight). Put the spirit level against the wall in a vertical position and when its straight mark the wall with a line. You should always use the plumb line as your guide to ensure you get your paper straight.

Step 2 - Paste the wall. Most wallpapers these days use a paste-the-wall method rather than pasting the paper before hanging. This makes the process a lot easier and takes away the need for a large pasting table, which can be awkward if you’re decorating a small space.

Apply your paste to the wall with a paint roller or large pasting brush to get a nice and even covering. Make sure you purchase a quality wallpaper that isn’t too thin, as these can sometimes rip when you are sticking it to the wall.

Step 3 – start hanging. Once you’ve pasted your wall, it is time to get hanging. Take the edge of your roll and position it at the top of the wall. Always overlap your paper where the wall meets the ceiling or coving so you can cut a nice even line when it’s stuck on.

Then simply smooth your paper right down to the skirting board with a dry brush or plastic smoother to eliminate any small bubbles. Again, let the paper overlap the boards before cutting it then use a Stanley knife to cut a neat edge along the skirting.

Tips for wallpapering patterned designs

Patterned papers can be challenging to hang, but there are some simple tips to getting it right.

Step 1 – Look at the pattern drop. All papers with a pattern will have a straight match in the design or a drop match. Figure out what yours is before you start.

Step 2 – Line up your paper. Take the roll and line up the pattern drop before you cut it. Mark where to cut, allowing for a large overlap at the top so you have plenty of give to match the pattern up.

Step 3 - Hang each section. Starting left to right – and following your plumb line – hang your sections. There’s no need to overlap at the vertical join as wallpaper shouldn’t shrink once it’s on the wall.

Don’t panic if you stick it and it doesn’t match, you can gently remove the paper by gently pulling until you get the positioning just right. Once you are happy, use a seam roller to get the perfect join.

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How to tackle difficult areas

The most difficult areas to wallpaper are around shelving and wall-hung units, switches and radiators.

Shelves or other smaller fixtures that you want to keep in the same position, should be taken down and re-installed after you’ve finished wallpapering.

To ensure you get them back in the correct position feel for the screw gaps left behind once your paper is fitted. Mark these with a pencil so you can easily locate them and know where to fix your items when re-installing using the same screw holes as before.

When it comes to wall switches the easier method is to cut a hole through the paper as you hang it.

Simply let the paper fall in front of the switch and mark out each corner. Then cut from the middle outwards to each corner creating triangular pieces. You can then neatly fit the paper round the switch making sure to tuck the edges slightly behind for a neat finish.

To paper around wall-mounted radiators begin with the pipes. Hide your join seams by putting these behind pipes and avoid any awkward trimming.

If you can, unscrew and remove pipe brackets and feed wallpaper behind. Find the screw holes through the wallpaper to replace the brackets.

Sometimes the only way to install wallpaper behind a radiator is to remove the radiator from the wall completely. If this is required, you may be able to manage this task yourself, however if you’re thinking of moving the location of your radiator get the advice of a professional. They can detach it and cap off any pipes and then re-fit it once you’ve finished.

Et Voila, follow these steps and you’ll be hanging wallpaper like a pro in no time! Click here for more home interior and DIY tips on Avant Life.