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Hanging Wallpaper

Choosing and hanging wallpaper for your walls can be challenging but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these tips and tricks and you should be well on your way to hanging great looking wallpaper.

Choosing wallpaper

Choose a wallpaper that you are happy with. If you love the way a wallpaper looks, then hang it! There is a wide variety of wallpaper available.  Vinyl is popular as it is durable, versatile, easy to maintain and remove.  The most durable is solid sheet vinyl which is often embossed.  Fabric wallpaper has great texture and looks stunning used in the lounge or dining room.

Non-woven wallpaper is a completely vinyl free option that’s a great choice if you’re sensitive to environmental considerations. It’s also washable and breathable. So, no need to worry about mold with this wallpaper. It also is very easy to install and remove. It does not tear easily, and it comes off the wall in one long strip. So, if you have some structural work to do with the wall, you can remove the wallpaper and put it back up again when you’re ready.

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Other types of wallpaper include traditional, preplastered, grasscloth and easy-walls.  The best type will depend on the room you want to decorate.  For bathrooms and kitchen, a great choice is vinyl coated paper as it is washable. Dry areas are more suited to non-woven papers and fabrics.

Use your wall to your advantage.  Horizontal patterns accent width, and will make a narrow room appear wider. Large rooms benefit from large scale patterns with a darker background.  Feature walls can look absolutely stunning especially in the lounge, dining room and bedroom. Choose a wallpaper that matches your interior design.

For a formal look, choose large-scale patterns with dramatic colors. For a fun, bright style, pick small motifs that are open and regularly spaced, such as polka dots.

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Dunelm offer a great range of wallpaper, click here to see more, I Want Wallpaper have an online tool to help you choose your style, click here to try it or alternatively Herts Decorators offer an extensive range to choose from to achieve your desired look.


You need to know exactly how much wallpaper you require before buying it.  Take some time with a decent measuring tape to get it spot on.  Do your calculations a few times so you can be sure you’ve got them right.

First measure the width of the room and divide by 53cm, the width of a standard roll of wallpaper. This will give you the number of drops you need. Then measure the height of the room, excluding skirting boards and cornicing, but adding about 15cm to allow for trimming.  Multiply the height by the number of drops and you’ll get the total number of metres you need. Standard wallpaper comes in rolls of 10m x 53cm, so check your rolls and adjust your maths if you’re using a wider roll. To prevent wastage, you should also try to subtract the area of the windows and doors.

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There are helpful online calculators as well, see here, if you need some assistance to work out how many rolls you will need.

It is a good idea to buy wallpaper from the same batch to make sure there are no differences in pattern or colour, and buy a bit extra for any mishaps and to allow for future repairs.  Remember you will also need adhesive according to the type of wallpaper you have chosen, check the label to ensure you get the correct one for either vinyl or paper.

You want to start with a smooth wall surface to make sure the wallpaper adheres and has a perfect finish.  Remove any existing wallpaper. Sand your walls lightly if they have gloss or silk paint on them, or for matt paint scrub with a wet sponge and light detergent to clean them.  Then allow them enough time to fully dry.

Hanging lining paper prevents the new wallpaper from shrinking when it’s hung, which leads to gaps between the lengths of paper. You may also want to hang lining paper if your walls have any stains or small imperfections in the surface, as it will help to disguise this.

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Another option is primer, a good choice is to use an oil-based primer to seal the walls then follow with a coat of wallpaper primer.  This will improve the finished look and make any future removal easier.  Give yourself plenty of time to prepare fully and make sure you have right tools before you hang the wallpaper.

Hanging the wallpaper

There are different techniques when it comes to hanging wallpaper and you may well choose to look into a few before deciding which is most suited to you.  One option is to book the wallpaper; apply paste evenly over the piece of wallpaper from one end to the middle, then fold the pasted side onto itself.  Do the same for the other half and fold up to the other folded edge.

After about three minutes, you can hang your wallpaper. Starting from the top, hang your first piece using the plumb line (or level) as a guide. Once placed, use a plastic smoothing tool to release any bubbles. While doing this, it’s best to start in the middle of the wallpaper with your tool and push the bubbles and creases to the outer edge. Don’t pull or stretch the paper at all. Continue this process until all wallpaper pieces have been hung. To trim excess from the top and bottom, use a fresh razor and move carefully to prevent tears.

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Patience is key when hanging wallpaper and keep a sponge handy for any excess paste.  You also need to allow for doorways, windows, plug sockets and radiators.  Homebase have an online guide, see here for more.

Another option is to get the experts in to ensure you get the perfect finish in your home that will stand the test of time. Herts Decorators provide high quality and professional decorating services to our clients across Hertfordshire, book a free estimate with our team today!

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George Ryland

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