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How to wallpaper: The ultimate guide

How to wallpaper: The ultimate guide

Wondering how to wallpaper a room? Worry no more! Here is your ultimate guide, from choosing the right wallpaper to putting it up

Before you wallpaper your wall, it's important to make sure you know what you're doing. Here are some things to consider.

Pick the right wallpaper

Rolls of wallpaper

There are lots of things to consider when picking out a wallpaper

Consider all the options 

Think about the sort of wear wallpaper will have to put up with before you buy. Uncoated papers are fine for bedrooms and living rooms, but a washable or vinyl type will resist steam and stains better in kitchens, bathrooms and children’s rooms. 

Best for beginners

For your first attempt at paperhanging, choose a paper with no pattern match (or with a random pattern) so you have one less thing to worry about as you hang each length. 

Easy-to-hang paper 

The heavier the wallpaper, the easier it should be to hang. Thin, cheap wallpapers tear and crease easily, making them hard to handle. Vinyls are the strongest wall coverings of all. They consist of a tough printed plastic film bonded to a paper backing so you can hang them like ordinary wallpaper. 

Quick change 

Borders can be used on painted or papered walls. Pick a self-adhesive type or use ready-mixed border adhesive if you plan to hang one over a washable or vinyl wall covering. Ordinary powder wallpaper paste will not stick to them.

Covering an uneven wall 

A textured or embossed wallpaper will help to disguise minor imperfections in a wall that is sound but slightly uneven. Smooth wallpaper tends to highlight every surface defect. 

Stagger the joins 

Lining paper is a plain wallpaper used to hide minor surface defects before hanging smooth wall coverings. Start with a half-width strip, so the joins between the lining paper and the wallpaper don’t coincide. 

Putting the wallpaper up

Couple putting up wallpaper

Be careful when putting your wallpaper up—you don't want to have to redo it!

Count the widths 

Use a standard 530mm-wide wallpaper roll as a measuring stick to estimate how many strips will be needed to paper all the way round a room. Count doors and average-size windows as wall —the extra paper will be used up in trimming and pattern matching—but ignore large windows and patio doors.

Multiply the metric height of the room by the number of strips to get the total length of paper required. Divide this figure by the length of a standard roll (10m) to find out how many rolls you’ll need for the room. 

Buy an extra roll 

Check that all the rolls you buy have the same batch number; colours can vary from batch to batch. Buy an extra roll to be on the safe side in case your estimating is inaccurate; getting an extra roll with the same batch number at a later date may be difficult. You can usually return unused rolls for a refund. 

Read the packaging first 

If you are hanging wallpaper with no pattern match in a room with a typical ceiling height of around 2.3m, you will get four lengths from each roll. However, you may get only three (plus a lot of wastage) if the paper you have chosen has a large pattern repeat. Read the wallpaper packaging to find out what the vertical distance is between repeats. 

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