Installing wallpaper is simple. Read through this step by step guide for a quick crash course on how to install wallpaper yourself for the first time.
What You Need to Paper Your Walls
- Wallpaper Paste
- Pasting Brush
- Boxcutter or paperhanging scissors
- Sponge (W/Bucket of clean water)
- Plastic smoother or seam roller
- Tape Measure
- Cutting edge/straight edge knife
- Step stool
- Drop Cloth
- Speakers for music
Applying wallpaper is rather simple. Prep your walls in the usual way i.e. sand them flat, prime them, and paint any features that need to be painted first. You want to make sure your walls are clean and free of debris. Holes and cracks should be filled. Socket covers should be removed (turn off the power for safety). Make sure the walls are dry and put your drop cloth down before you start.
First, no one said hanging wall paper would be fun. While it’s more interactive than watching paint dry it’s not far off so grab your tunes and find your happy place. Before actually starting to hang your wallpaper you need to pick a starting point. Ideally, your starting point will be somewhere less noticeable, maybe in a corner, behind a large piece of furniture or behind the door.
Once you’ve chosen your starting point you need to draw plumb lines. The starting point is the hardest so be sure you use your level and check that your lines are straight and then check again.
Hanging Your First Sheet
- Pick up your book of paper and unfold the first section.
- Position it against the guide lines you drew and make sure it is lined up precisely and straight.
- Let a little bit of the wallpaper overlap the ceiling and adjoining wall. This is a good time to check and make sure your wallpaper pattern is right side up!
- When you are satisfied that the paper is lined correctly use your smoothing tool to gently press the paper to the wall working from the center of the paper to the edges.
- Keep unfolding the book and work your way all the way down to the floor. Be mindful not to stretch, crease or tear your paper as you’re working.
- When you reach the floor use your brush to crease the paper into the junction between the wall and baseboard. Wash off excess paste with your sponge and clean water.
Trim Your Paper
- Once you’ve applied your first sheet of paper to the wall you want to brush back up the paper to be sure it has good adhesion and to remove any air bubbles.
- Next, you’ll need to trim the excess paper at the baseboard and ceiling. Using your straight edge knife, make sure your knife is sharp and do not lift the knife for long cuts, remove all excess pieces at both the top and bottom.
- Clean the ceiling and baseboard with a clean, damp sponge to remove any extra paste.
Using the same methods as the first sheet, but now using the first piece as your plumb…
- Continue to cut and apply wallpaper strips all the way across the wall. Be sure to align the pattern of the previous strip with the new piece. You want the patterns to match up at eye level.
- As you apply the second piece, butt the edges tightly together but be sure they don’t overlap. Also, be sure to regularly check the seam watching out for excess paste (clean with sponge and clean water if this occurs) and don’t apply to much pressure so you don’t end up with a shiny seam.
- Run your seam roller up and down the seam once the sheet is attached. Make a new plumb line on each new wall until complete.
Windows & Doors
Above are the basics for installing wallpaper. Be mindful that papering the side and top of a window recess is slightly more complicated. And here’s how to do it properly:
- You want the paper to overlap each recess so that it can be folded over into the recess and finely trimmed to perfectly fit around the sill.
- You need to crease the paper into the corners and then brush the flap into place to keep it all looking neat.
- In addition to windows you’ll likely need to paper the side of a door.
- With the door you want to cut out the shape of the door with scissors being sure to keep plenty of excess paper again
- Crease the top and sides into place and again use your knife to trim the excess paper around the frame.
- Finally, use your brush to smooth the paper into place.
Radiators & Outlets
While you can remove radiators you can also opt to work around them.
- Similar to the window, apply your normal sheet of wallpaper, paste until you’re about an inch above the radiator and let the length overlap the radiator.
- Crease the paper to the edge of the radiator, using the roller to push the paper behind the radiator.
- Finally trim any excess paper.
Outlets are slightly different. Since you removed the plates before hanging (see wall prep), you simply need to mark the corners of the corners to the outlet hole, cut two diagonal slits from corner to corner, fold the triangular folds out from the outlet and trim accordingly. Reattach the outlet place and use your sponge to clean any excess paste. Be sure to leave the electricity off until dry.
- Measure the space between the corner and your previous piece of paper.
- Add ¾ of an inch in width and cut your final sheet of wallpaper. Be sure to match the pattern carefully again.
- Brush the edge around the corner so that it overlaps your first sheet.
- Once the corner is creased well, trim the excess paper around the edge and at the top and bottom.
- Smooth the ends and don’t worry to much if the final pieces don’t align perfectly because it won’t be that noticeable in the corner.
- Sponge off any final extra paste and have a glass of celebratory lemonade.