Wallpaper Installation Guide


With an incredible array of trendy patterns and colors to choose from, wallpaper is so much more than that peeling floral print in your grandparents' dining room. There's a common belief that hanging wallpaper is a tedious ordeal. In reality, it’s the perfect weekend project; it mainly involves carefully following a few steps until you get the hang of it, which we've outlined below. Read on to discover how easy it is to completely transform your space with wallpaper.

Measuring tape
Wallpaper primer
6-inch putty knife

Editors' note: If your wallpaper is prepasted, you'll need a sponge and a bucket of water.

If your wallpaper is not prepasted, make sure to pick up wallpaper paste and a paint roller.

1. Prepare and measure walls

Get your walls ready for papering. Ensure that they are clean and dust-free; remove any outlet faceplates, wall art, or removable wall hangings.

Measure the width and height of each wall; find the midpoint of the wall, and mark a vertical plumb line through this point; this is where you will line up the edges of your first sheet.

2. Line up your pattern

Make sure your pattern will match up at the bottom. Lay two rolls side-by-side and line up the patterns. Mark where you want the bottom of the pattern to lie, and measure 3-4 inches below that point to give yourself wiggle room. Use a straight edge to draw a line across the width of the paper, trim across this line, and repeat with each roll of wallpaper you have.

3. Measure and cut paper

Starting at the bottom, roll out your paper and measure the height of the wall. Use a straight edge to cut the paper, and label the top and bottom. Repeat with all your paper until you have enough to cover your walls.

4. Prepare your paper

If your wallpaper is prepasted: Use a slightly damp sponge to moisten the entire back surface of each strip; this starts activating the adhesive.

If your wallpaper isn't prepasted: Apply wallpaper paste all over the back surface of each strip with a paint roller.

TIP! Try to buy prepasted wallpaper if possible; it cuts down on messiness and ensures that you won't ruin a strip by getting paste on it.

5. Book it

To activate your adhesive, you must "book" the wallpaper. This means gently folding over both ends of each strip so the sticky sides meet in the middle—make sure you do not crease the paper.

Let the "books" sit for 5-7 minutes so the adhesive can take effect and the paper's width can expand to its original size.

TIP! It's best to do this in stages so the booked paper doesn't sit for too long while you're hanging other strips. It might lose its stickiness if you wait too long.

6.Hang it

Starting at the ceiling, unfold the top half of a strip and line it up to the center plumb line. Smooth the strip against the wall with a putty knife. Repeat with the bottom half; there should be 3 to 4 extra inches of wallpaper at the end.

7. Trim excess

Hold a putty knife against the bottom of the wall to make sure the paper is flush to the surface, and use a utility knife to cut away excess paper.

8. Smooth it out

Use a clean, damp sponge to sweep over the paper and remove any extra adhesive or air bubbles that may have popped up. Work from the ceilling down and the center outward.

9. Repeat

Unfold your next strip and be careful when lining up the patterns. Let the papers touch, not overlap—you shouldn't see any break in the pattern. Repeat until your whole wall is covered.

How to Wallpaper Around Corners

Measure the distance from the edge of your last strip to the corner. Add 1/2 inch. Cut your next strip vertically to fit this measurement. 

Paste and hang this strip, ensuring that the excess paper turns the corner; smooth over the paper, and trim where necessary.

Hang the next strip so that it overlaps the last piece but still aligns with the pattern. This ensures that the paper will be protected from peeling if someone brushes against the corner.