How to install wallpaper

With wallpaper back in style, you may be looking for ways to install it in your home. Here are some tips to help you properly install wallpaper yourself.

Get ready! Hanging wallpaper, although very doable, requires above all, time, patience and attention to detail.

Install wallpaper
How to install wallpaper

Choosing a wallpaper

  • Normally the thickness of the paper is relative to its quality and grade, so purchase your wall paper accordingly (the thicker the better);
  • Prepare to put a puzzle together if you choose patterns, no matter whether the motif is dotted, continuous, straight or diagonal;
  • Choose your rolls from the same lot number. Otherwise, you risk slight but noticeable variations in colour;
  • Estimate an additional 15 to 20 per cent to cover the surface you calculated just for safe measure. There will likely be some paper wastage, especially if you must repeat elaborate patterns.


Materials: Step ladder, wallpapering table, wallpaper smoother, wallpaper smoother and roller, a knife with replacement blades, a ruler, measuring tape, a pencil, a carpenter’s level and plumb line, sealant, sponges, cloth rags and glue, if necessary.

  • Your walls may need a bit of a facelift first, so fill in holes and sand down bumps before you start;
  • If the surface has a glossy finish you have to sand it down before hanging the wall-covering. Walls covered with matte paint should be cleaned first; you can use an organic degreaser (e.g., trisodium phosphate). Then apply a primer.

All surfaces must be allowed to dry for at least 24 hours before wallpapering.

Installing wallpaper

Using glue: The glue is applied directly onto the paper. You need to let it sit for a moment to allow it to absorb into the paper.

Pre-pasted: Unfurl the paper in a wallpaper water tray, and let it soak for the amount of time recommended on the manufacturer’s instructions.

When cutting: Add an extra four inches to the measurement of your wall for each length of wallpaper. This will leave you with excess paper at the top and bottom of the wall. Next smooth the entire length of the wallpaper, forcing out any air pockets with a wallpaper smoother, and then shave the excess paper with a knife to make a straight line.

Draw lines on the walls: This is essential to properly hang wallpaper and to repeat patterns seamlessly. Start in the least visible part of the room, and use a plumb line to make sure the paper is straight.

Installation: Glue the sheets side by side, starting at the top. Don’t forget to leave at least two inches of extra paper at the top of the wall (at the ceiling).

  • Do not pre-cut shapes of door frames, windows or electrical outlets ahead of time;
  • Wallpapering corners can be a challenge and it requires special attention. You can find instructions for this online, or if you prefer, consult with an expert for a professional finish;
  • Be sure to remove air bubbles with a sponge or wallpaper brush and smoother.
  • Remove any excess glue on the edges with a cloth;
  • Wait at least 30 minutes before rolling over the seams of two sheets;
  • Bubbles may appear after drying. They usually straighten themselves out. If not, you can easily fix this by cutting a tiny slit in the bubble, and then forcing the air out. Squirt a little bit of glue inside the slit, and smooth it out with a sponge.

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