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How to Hang New Wallpaper

Hanging wallpaper is a great do-it-yourself project. With a little patience, the right tools and materials, and a simple process, you can hang tight seams and add new life to a room!

 

In this article, you’ll find a list of the tools and materials you need, along with a step-by-step guide to hang new wallpaper. Of course, review the wallpaper manufacturer’s instructions before starting, in case the paper you’ve chosen has any special requirements.

Let’s get started!

Tools Needed to Hang New Wallpaper

Have all the tools you need before you begin to save time. To hang new wallpaper, here’s what you need to have ready: 

• Bucket
• Sponge
• Chalk line
• Level
• Yard stick or straightedge
• Tape measure
• Taping knife
• Utility knife
• Scissors
• Paint roller w/good quality roller cover so you don’t leave fuzz on back of the wallpaper
• Wallpaper smoother
• Seam roller


Materials Needed


The materials needed to hang new wallpaper are pretty simple. You need:

• Wall Size Primer
• Wallpaper
• Wallpaper paste, if not pre-pasted


One note on buying wallpaper: You need to add in extra length to account for matching a pattern. Small, repetitive patterns can be matched with little waste. Large patterns, say with a flower spaced every foot, will require up to a foot of extra cutting to line up your desired pattern (in a line or offset). You’ll also want to include an additional 4” for every piece you will cut to allow for trimming.


For example, if you have an extra foot between images, add 18 inches to the length of each strip you’ll need, in order to allow yourself extra length.


Step 1: Prepare the walls.


Remove old wallpaper first. Patch and smooth walls. Cover with a coat of Wall Size primer; it will improve adhesion of the wallpaper. NEVER apply wallpaper directly to drywall. You will not be able to remove it without destroying the drywall.


Remove outlet and switch covers, fans, and light fixtures.


Next, set your plumb line for the first piece you will hang. Measure the width of the paper from the interior corner where you will start, accounting for at least 1/8” overlap in the corner. (Do not assume your corner is straight!) Mark the line and then either snap the chalk line or using a straight edge and a level draw the line straight down the wall. It’s absolutely essential this line is straight! Then do the same for the other wall from the same corner you’re starting from.


If you’d like additional guides, you can set or draw a plumb line for each piece of wallpaper you will hang.


It’s also recommended to start in the corner least noticed by someone walking into the room. Why? The pattern rarely matches in both the final seam and the corner. While a pattern difference in an inside corner is rarely noticeable, starting in a more hidden corner makes it virtually invisible.


Step 2: Cut your pieces.


Measure your pieces, adding 4 inches to the length of the space. Cut all full-size pieces. Make your cut with a single stroke across the wallpaper. As you’ll be trimming this section off anyway, don’t worry about perfection.


This is also the time to get your pattern set the way you want it on the wall.


Don’t worry about pieces that will go over windows, outlets or sections of door. You’ll trim those as you hang them. Small pieces that will sit above a door can be cut later. Also, if you have a space that will require a piece less than the full width of the paper, cut that when needed.


Step 3: Roll-on paste.


Using the paint roller, roll-on the paste or wet the back of the pre-pasted wallpaper. This can be done on a floor, although it’s easier on the back if you set a piece of plywood over a workbench to create a “table.”


Once applied to a piece, fold the wallpaper – or “book” it – in thirds. This way you will unfold it as you hang it.


After pasting each one, fold or book the wallpaper, then roll it and set it where it will go on the wall.


Step 4: Hang the wallpaper.


Start in the corner. Align the wallpaper with your plumb line, and don’t be surprised if it sits uneven in the corner. It can be trimmed, but remember you’ll want a 1/8” to 1/2” overlap.


Once the paper is up, run the smoother over every inch of the paper, moving in diagonal strokes from the center outward. Apply enough pressure to remove air bubbles, but not too much. You don’t want to remove too much paste.


After it’s smoothed, use a damp sponge to remove excess paste from the surface of the paper or wall.


Trim the corner to allow for an overlap, but to remove any excess.


Now, hang the next piece. Smooth and wipe. Use a seam roller to smooth the seam where the wallpaper meets. Repeat for each piece.


Once you finish a wall, use utility knife to trim each piece at the top and bottom so it’s snug along the edges.


Step 5: Fit corners, windows, doors, outlets and switches.


As you hang new wallpaper, you will need to trim it around corners, windows, doors and the electrical boxes in the room. Here’s how to do each.


Inside Corners: Wallpapering an inside corner is easier with two pieces. For simplicity, take the one piece and cut it between 1/8” to 1/2" to the right of the corner. Set the new piece aside and finish smoothing and wiping the first wall. Then, apply the cut piece into the corner with the appropriate overlap. Smooth and wipe clean. Continue hanging along the wall.


For the final seam and corner, measure the measure the top, middle and bottom of the space, adding at 1/8” – 1/2” more for the overlap. Often, the full width of the wallpaper doesn’t match the final space going into an inside corner, so you may need to make this cut at a slight angle. Transfer the measures to a piece of already pasted paper. Cut carefully.


Take the cut piece and set it in place, matching the pattern at the seam. Smooth it in place, taking extra care in the corner. Wipe down with a sponge.


The last piece rarely matches both at the final seam and in the corner. Match the pattern at the seam. The difference of pattern will be generally unnoticeable in the corner.


Outside Corners: Hang the paper and bend it around the corner snugly. Cut the bottom of the paper so it’s two flaps over the trim. Now hang a second sheet with a little overlap (make sure the pattern matches). Cut, using your straightedge, down the middle of the overlap. Peel back and remove the cut piece underneath, then remove the top cut. Smooth flat and wipe clean for a perfect seam.


Windows and Doors: If the wallpaper meets at the trim above the window or door, apply like you would the wall, except using a smaller piece. To trim around a window or door opening, hang the full piece, but cut with scissors to the edge of the trim to create a flap. Then use a putty knife to keep the wallpaper snug along the trim and cut.


Electrical Boxes: Mark diagonal lines inward from the corners of the boxes as you hang the wallpaper. Cut along these lines, creating flaps. Trim the flaps to reveal the electrical box.


Step 6: Replace outlet/switch covers and fixtures.


Let the wallpaper dry. Once it has, replace fixtures, outlet covers and switch plates. Enjoy your new room!