Wallpapering tips

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Wallpapering tips

Alissa Ugolini—homify UK Alissa Ugolini—homify UK
 Offices & stores by Affreschi & Affreschi
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Tired of seeing the same walls? Overwhelmed, smothered, or just bored? Then maybe it’s time for a change! Wallpaper is often a tricky one to get right but, if done properly, can add a seriously interesting element to the design of your home. It comes in all kinds of patterns and textures these days and, if you look in the right places, you may come up trumps with a design that will truly suit you. Take a look at our wallpaper category, in products, for more details. 

Getting started

When putting up wallpaper, you need to plan ahead. First of all, remove the obstacles on the walls—light switches, plugs (make sure you turn off the power first), pictures, railings etc.—clean the surfaces down with sugar soap (or equivalent),and make sure  holes or undulations in the walls are dealt with and cover the floors—as it does tend to get a little messy.

Once this is all ready, you’ll want to make a batch of wallpaper paste (check the package for details) and get yourself an appropriate surface to cover the wallpaper on. Tip: tables of an exact measurement are a big time saver! e.g. exactly 1m long. Take your time to measure the walls and consider how much paper you will need to cover it. What is the height of the wall? Make sure not to join papers in corners. How wide is the paper itself? and so on. Following this, you might want to make a plan of how you intend the room look. Also consider the vertical lines that you will need to use—get a spirit level and draw some guidelines on the wall in pencil.

Next steps

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Lapèlle Design

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Lapèlle Design

When you are confident with your plan, measure out all your sheets—testing that the first one is the right size (this is where your metre long table comes in handy!). Now, apply the paste quite liberally to one side of the paper (only doing e.g 1m lengths at a time) with an old, wide paint brush. Take one end of the paper and fold it gently back about 40cm, being careful not to add a crease, and touch the very end of the paper with the point 40cm in. This should hold and, now, you can repeat the process—only this time fold the non-glued sides onto each other.  Repeat this step until the entire sheet is done. The glued side should be touching the glued side and the non-glued side should be touching the non-glued side.

Attaching wallpaper

Now take the folded sheet, go to the wall (on a ladder if appropriate), un-stick the top end and attach it, neatly, to the wall. Following the vertical guidelines you prepared, use a wallpapering brush to smooth down the glued sections, step by step, to the wall. Make sure there are no bubbles under the paper. As you gradually get to the end of the sheet, you should be looking at a vertically attached piece, with no air bubbles. Push the end of the paper into the join at the skirting board (if there is any extra paper) and give the entire sheet another going over with the brush—making absolutely certain that there is no air trapped in there. 

When the paper is dry, remove any overhangs with a Stanley knife.

Extra points

For light switches, plugs and unavoidable points, cut a precise hole, slightly smaller than the shape itself, and cut the hole with a Stanley knife afterwards. 

Use one sheet for a corner: start by attaching one side of the sheet to the wall completely and then, using the brush, push the paper into the wall gradually and evenly and until you are satisfied with it. Following this, brush the rest of the paper round the corner.

Next steps part II

When hanging your next sheet, try to line up your sheet with the one you have previously laid. Make the gap invisible and don't settle for an overlap. Keep at it, this part is possibly the most important step of all; as it will leave you with the satisfying finish you want.  

Professional help

For high quality paper and photo wall paper, you should really get an expert in to do the job. One disadvantage of wallpapering yourself is that if you go wrong the mistakes can be irreversible—and cost you time and money.

Removing wallpaper

A scene like this could be familiar to many of us that have a bird who has flown the nest. If you're thinking about redecorating a child's room then here is an easy guide to wall paper removal.

1. Get a wall paper removal machine: this is like a mixture of a leaf blower and a kettle on wheels. It is a simple boiling unit with a hose attached to it and a flat pannel on the end. One the water is boiling, steam travels through the hose and out of the pannel.

2. Place the pannel on the wall and hold it there for about 5 seconds. The steam will soften the wall paper—at which point you should use a decorator's scraper to scrape off the wall paper.

3. This is hard work at first but, as soon as things get damp from the steam, the work becomes much easier.

4. Be careful with the scraper, they are very sharp and can put holes in the wall and holes in you, if you aren't careful.

5. Be prepared for a sticky mess! Seriously, lay some old blankets down on the floor and have some bin bags ready.

6. Keep an eye on the water in the machine—cheaper models will melt themselves.


Applying murals to a wall can be a issue and we would advise getting in help from someone who knows what they are doing. For smaller murals though, just take care that you have the measurements right before you start.

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