The current trend for bright patterns and feature walls has seen a resurgence in the use of wallpaper. By adding wallpaper to at least one of the walls, you can completely transform a room and give the interior a sense of vibrancy and colour. Hanging your own wallpaper needn’t be as tricky as you might think, although it pays to take your time, get the preparation right and to be aware of the potential pitfalls.

Tools and materials

You will need wallpaper and wallpaper paste; it’s a good idea to have too much wallpaper in case of mistakes. It is very important that you have an adequate flat surface to use when adding the paste to the paper. A large table will do, but even better is a work surface intended for the task. You will also need a utility knife, tape measure, a pencil, a long ruler and a plumb line (or a spirit level). Other essential tools for this job are a paintbrush, a roller (or a brush that can be used for smoothing the paper out) and a seam roller.


In this job preparation is key. First of all, make sure that wall itself is ready to be papered. Remove any flakes or dust, and fill in any cracks with filler. If you’re papering a wall that has previously had wallpaper on it, make sure all of the old paper has been completely removed.

Cut the wallpaper into sheets, leaving as much as 10 mm extra at the bottom of each sheet to allow for trimming. Start with the first sheet and hold it up in one corner. With a pencil, mark the edge of the wallpaper, then use hold the plumb line so that it passes through the pencil mark, and make regular marks down the wall. Join these marks up with a ruler. If you don’t have a plumb line, use a spirit level instead.

Adding paste to the paper

Lay your first sheet face down on the work surface and add the paste with a brush. Start in the centre of the sheet and work outwards. When you have completed one section, fold it in on itself in order to make space for you to paste the next section. Always make sure that no paste touches the face side of the paper. Allow some time for the paper to absorb the paste before you hang it onto the wall.

Hanging the wallpaper

Gently press the top of the sheet up against the wall and slide it up to the ceiling. Then press the rest of the sheet to the wall. Try to use your fingertips, rather than the palm of your hand, so as not to leave dirty marks.

Working from the centre outwards, use a brush or roller to smooth out any air bubbles. Then trim the bottom of the sheet so that it is perfectly level with the top of the skirting board. Repeat this process with the other sheets, making sure that they line up correctly. Use the seam roller along the joints to make sure that they are glued down sufficiently. Remember that you may need to cut down the final sheet so that it is the right width.