Simplifying Wallpapering

It needn't be difficult to add wallpaper

Adding wallpaper to a room can really enhance the appearance of a room. It’s not rocket science to hang wallpaper but to do it well requires patience and a touch of skill. Plain paper shouldn’t be too hard but patterned wallpaper is a bit trickier to ensure the seams fit together.

GETTING prepared


an important tool to prepare

putty knife

needed for removing excess paper and paste


ensure walls are smooth before starting

Wallpapering techniques - how to wallpaper well

Getting prepped

Materials you’ll need include the paper and paste, a tape measure and spirit level, a good ladder, a big work area, a cloth, some spacklesandpaper and a putty knife. You’ll also require some spongesrags, a bucket, an all-purpose kniferoller and a smoothing brush.

Before you begin, you’ll need to prep the walls. Apply a wallpaper primer if it’s a new drywall to ensure the paper will stick properly. Remove any dust or dirt from old walls and sand down any chipped paint. Ensure old wallpaper is removed using the wallpaper remover and rags. Covers of electric sockets and switches should be removed too. Apply spackle over any cracks and allow it to dry before moving on to the next step.

Getting started

If you’re using patterned wallpaper then it’s best to start at a corner because you want your first and last strips of wallpaper to match up as best as possible. Choosing a corner which is less of a focal point is also best so that seams are less visible. Use the level and a pencil to draw a line on the wall for where the first strip will be placed.

Having slightly too much wallpaper on the wall is always better than not cutting enough so when cutting your roll leave a few extra centimetres at the top and bottom which can be trimmed off afterwards. 

Prepare your adhesive – for pre-pasted paper roll it up loosely and immerse it in lukewarm water in the bathtub or water tray. For un-pasted paper, apply a pre-mixed paste using a paint roller or a brush spreading the paste from the middle to the edges. Don’t crease the paper and gently fold it to cure and prevent it from drying out.

Wallpapering techniques - how to wallpaper well
Wallpapering techniques - how to wallpaper well

Getting on with it

When hanging the wallpaper, start at the ceiling and work your way down while gently placing the side edges along the line you previously measured. Leave a small portion at the top and bottom which can be trimmed later. Use your hand to attach the paper and a smoothing brush to smooth out any bubbles which may appear. A seam roller can be used to smooth down the edges of the paper. At corners overlap the wallpaper with the next strip to avoid any embarrassing gaps.

Afterwards, trim off excess paper using a knife, smooth the corners and clean away any paste which ends up on ceilings, floors and skirting boards. Remember to work slowly, cover every part of the back of the wallpaper with paste and clean off the surface of the wallpaper before the paste has chance to dry.