Hang Wallpaper — Hanging Wallpaper

Hang Wallpaper - Hanging Wallpaper

How to Hang Wallpaper

Wallpaper can transform a plain wall into one bursting with color, patterns and textures. Even better, this home improvement project is relatively easy to do if you’re careful and have some help. Here’s how to hang wallpaper:

What You’ll Need to Hang Wallpaper

  • Prepasted wallpaper
  • Vinyl smoother
  • Wallpaper brush
  • Seam roller
  • 10-inch (or wider) broad knife
  • Ladder
  • Hang Wallpaper - Hanging Wallpaper
  • Plumb bob
  • Wallpaper water trough
  • Utility knife and extra blades
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Sandpaper
  • Trisodium phosphate
  • Primer/sealer (optional)

Before You Hang Wallpaper

The first thing you’ll need to do is prep the walls that you plan to cover with wallpaper. Begin by turning off the power to any outlets or switches where you’ll be working, but leave outlet covers on until after you’ve washed the walls, if necessary. The next step will vary, depending on the kind of wall you’re covering.

  • If you plan to cover unpainted drywall. Apply a good primer/sealer and allow it to dry.
  • If you plan to cover painted drywall. Spackle any cracks and holes, let dry and sand smooth. Flat or satin painted walls need only be cleaned with trisodium phosphate (TSP), which is available at many hardware stores. Glossy walls must be lightly sanded first, then cleaned.
  • If you plan to cover existing wallpaper. If the walls are in good condition, just clean them with TSP, let dry and cover with new wallpaper. Removing the old wallpaper is a better option if the paper is torn or greasy. For instructions on that project, visit About.com’s Home Improvement channel .

How Much Wallpaper Should You Buy?

Wallpaper is sold in single rolls and double rolls. And while the average human can calculate how much wallpaper is needed for a project, just use your favorite Internet search engine for «wallpaper calculator» and you’ll find plenty of choices. You’ll enter the width and height of your walls, along with the number of doors and windows in the room. The calculator will determine how many single or double rolls you’ll need.

Always buy 15 to 20% more than you think you’ll need to account for mistakes and pattern matching.

How to Hang Wallpaper

Because all the wallpaper you’re hanging is lined up with the very first sheet, it’s essential that the first one be absolutely plumb, or vertically straight. Never trust a house to be straight; if you rely on a doorway or corner for a true vertical line, you’ll find yourself at a slant sooner or later. Instead, use a plumb bob, which is a length of string with a weight hanging from the bottom.

  1. With a thumbtack, attach the unweighted end of the string to the ceiling, about 2 inches out from the wall.
  2. Rub some colored chalk along the string, then wait for it to stop swinging.
  3. With a helper, press the string carefully to the wall at top and bottom and snap the string gently. Now you have a true vertical line to guide your first sheet of wallpaper.
  4. Cut a piece of wallpaper that’s 4 inches longer than the height of the wall. You’ll trim the excess off later.
  5. Roll the wallpaper loosely with the pattern side out and submerge it in the water trough for the length of time recommended on the wallpaper packaging. Slowly pull the paper out, unrolling it into the water.
  6. Lay the wallpaper with the pattern side down on your work surface and «book» the paper to activate the paste: Bring the top and bottom of the sheet to the middle without creasing the wallpaper. Let it rest for the manufacturer’s recommended time.
  7. Carefully unfold the top edge of the wallpaper and align one side with the chalk line, making sure it’s still visible. The top edge of your wallpaper should overlap the ceiling; this will be trimmed later. Keeping the side edge parallel with the chalk line, press gently, smoothing as you go.
  8. Gently unfold the lower half of the paper and press it into place by hand, leaving a couple inches of excess at the floor or baseboard.
  9. With a stiff wallpaper brush or vinyl smoothing tool, press out any air bubbles and imperfections.
  10. Roll the edges firmly but gently with the seam roller.
  11. Hold the broad knife against the paper at a 45-degree angle to the ceiling and carefully trim off the excess above it with the utility knife. Trim the bottom by pressing the broad knife at a 45-degree angle to the wall at the baseboard and trim off the excess below the broad knife. Wipe off any excess glue with a wet paper towel or sponge.
  12. Repeat the process around the room, lining up each new sheet with the one just hung and cutting each new sheet so the pattern will match the previous sheet.


  • To paper over electrical outlets, cut an X with the utility knife over the outlet and trim out the waste, being careful to stay within the area the switch plate will cover.
  • For a custom look, cover the switch plates with the same wallpaper.
  • To turn corners, cut the wallpaper sheet so that an inch of paper will turn the corner. Make a small relief cut at the top and bottom at the wall corner so the paper doesn’t bunch at the ceiling and baseboards. Hang the next sheet overlapping that extra inch of paper.
  • The most inconspicuous place in the room, usually just to one side of a doorway or a window with curtains, is a good place to start. This will help camouflage any mismatch between the last sheet you hang and the first.

Leave a Reply