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How to hang wallpaper

How to hang wallpaper

Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton

Guide written by:

Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton

63 guides

Wallpaper needn't be too tricky to hang but you may have to follow a few extra steps depending on the type you choose. Whether you've gone for traditional or woven wallpaper, we'll take you through every stage from preparing the wallpaper paste to hanging your strips. Read on to find out how to hang wallpaper!

Important features

  • Preparing the wallpaper paste
  • Taking measurements and cutting strips
  • Hanging the wallpaper
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Wallpaper was the wall covering of choice for decades – in fact there was a time when no house was without it! While we tend to think of wallpaper as a bit of a dowdy option, things have well and truly changed in recent years. These days, wallpaper comes in a wide range of modern and stylish designs. What's more, it's always going to be the best option if you want to redecorate walls that have already been wallpapered as simply applying more wallpaper means you can avoid the chore of preparing your walls for paint.

With wallpaper now officially back in fashion, every manufacturer has a wide range of different styles on offer. Whether you're looking to cover an entire room with wallpaper or just part of a wall, there are plenty of options. The one condition is that your walls must be clean and free of any major flaws.


  1. Preparing the wallpaper paste
  2. Taking measurements and cutting strips
  3. Hanging the wallpaper

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Utility knives

Start by covering the floor with paint sheets or cardboard to prevent damage. In terms of wallpaper paste, you have two options:

  • ready-mixed adhesive which is quicker to use but more expensive;
  • traditional powder which needs to be mixed with water. 

If you've gone for a ready-mixed adhesive, you don't have anything to do at this stage beyond mixing the product well before application. If you've opted for powder, make sure you follow the instructions carefully.

  • Fill a large bucket of water.
  • Pour in the wallpaper powder adhesive around the edges of the bucket and stir the water to create a whirlpool. This will help you to achieve an even, lump-free mixture.

Please note: the amount of wallpaper paste you need to prepare depends on the number of rolls you have to hang. It's important to follow the ratio provided by the manufacturer. For example, if you have 6 rolls of wallpaper, you will need approximately 4.5 litres of water and 300 grams of powder. Leave the glue to thicken up according to the time provided on the package. This could take anywhere from three to twenty minutes.

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Wallpaper adhesive

When it comes to hanging wallpaper, you can forget all about approximate measurements! Even if you're only hanging one or two strips, it is essential to mark out where they will go on the wall. Take the strip of wallpaper you want to hang and position it on the wall. Draw a vertical line on the wall from the top of the strip to the bottom.

This will allow you to position the strip perfectly on the wall while hanging – you can use this line to ensure that your strips are perfectly straight. If you are wallpapering an entire room, start in the middle and work your way towards the edges.

Standard wallpaper should be pasted on the back.

Once you've marked out where the wallpaper will go, roll out the first strip and cut it to the correct size, leaving about 5 to 10 cm of extra length.

Use a pasting brush to apply the paste to the strip working from the middle of the strip towards the edges.

Fold the strip over on itself and allow the glue to set for about ten minutes.

You can use this time to apply paste to your second strip.

Next, hang the first strip using the line you marked out earlier applying from top to bottom.

Brush the strip from top to bottom and from the inside towards the outside with a wallpaper brush to get rid of any air bubbles.

Use a spatula to mark the wallpaper where it meets the bottom of the wall before removing the spatula and cutting the strip. Please note that if you keep the spatula in place while you cut, you run the risk of damaging the blade and the next time you use it to smooth the wallpaper you will damage the surface. 

Follow the same process for the next strip until the entire surface is covered. Once you're done, clean up your tools and dispose of any waste responsibly.

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Woven wallpaper is being seen more and more in decorating shops. This type of wallpaper is thicker and more hard-wearing than traditional wallpaper. The process of hanging this wallpaper is also slightly different.

In this case, you apply the wallpaper paste directly to the wall rather than to the back of the wallpaper which is actually quicker! Use the wallpaper paste brush to apply the glue to the wall.

Unroll your first strip of woven wallpaper and place it on the wall. From this point. you can follow the same process as detailed above. Smooth it down, cut it and your job is done!

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Woven wallpaper

It's important to pay close attention to the type of wallpaper you buy. Plain wallpaper is fairly straightforward to apply but if you need to pattern match, the whole process gets much more difficult! What's more, if you don't do a good job, you are sure to see where the pattern doesn't match. Be sure to follow the wallpaper instructions to the letter. It can be helpful to lay out your strips on the floor first to ensure your pattern repeats line up before you start pasting.

Required skills

Hanging wallpaper without pattern repeats is a fairly straightforward job, especially if you're hanging woven wallpaper. Nonetheless, there are a few steps to follow and you will have to be meticulous in your application. You'll need to know how to apply wallpaper paste, position your strips properly and be able to cut cleanly using a utility knife. 

Time required 

  • A full day for a room measuring 20 square metres 

Number of people required 

  • 1 to 2 people

Tools and equipment

Safety wear

Please note: this is a non-exhaustive list; be sure to match your personal protective equipment to the job at hand.

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Utility knives

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Guide written by:

Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton, 63 guides

Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton

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