Wallpaper Installation - How To Hang Wallpaper

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Tools of the Trade
The road to redecorating can be paved with many potholes. But if you have the right tools, your journey to a beautiful new home will be a whole lot smoother. Before you begin your new project, you should have all of the following:

  • Smoothing tool
  • Roller and tray or pasting brush (for non-pasted paper)
  • Trim guide (or broad knife)
  • Sharp shears
  • Wall primer Seam roller
  • Razor knife with extra blades
  • Bucket & sponge
  • Sandpaper
  • Border & seam adhesive
  • Water tray or pre-paste activator (for pre-pasted paper)
  • Level or plumb line
  • Yardstick
  • Drop cloth
  • Paste (for non-pasted wallcoverings)

Most of these items can be purchased at any Wallpapers To Go store. You can also get advice on the best way to prepare your walls at your local Wallpapers To Go store. With the perfect wallpaper and just a little coaching, you'll see how easy giving your home a completely beautiful new look can be.

Always Be Prepared
Before you begin hanging new wallpaper, your walls must first be prepared. If you haven't yet, read about wall preparation.
Get It Straight
Your wallpaper project will be a success if the very first strip of paper is hung straight. To be certain it is, measure the width of your wallpaper and subtract half an inch. Measure and mark this distance from your starting point (a corner or doorway). Draw a vertical line using a level or plumb line. For a plumb line, attach the weight to one end of the string and rub cord with chalk. Tack the line to the spot on the wall and drop weight just above floor or baseboard. When the weight stops swinging, grasp the bottom of the cord and hold taut. With your other hand, pull the cord away from the wall and snap back. This chalk line is your starting point. (To avoid seeing the chalk through your new paper, remember to remove any excess after you have positioned the first new strip.

Got A Match
Measure the distance from ceiling to baseboard and add four inches (two at each end). Unroll wallpaper, pattern side up, and remove curl by reverse rolling. Choose the design you wish to be at ceiling level and start measurement two inches above this point. Measure and cut strip to size. Before cutting second strip, carefully match patterns.

Book 'Em
Pre-pasted: Fill water tray halfway with lukewarm water. Loosely roll wallpaper strip, pattern side in. Submerge in water for 15 seconds (follow manufacturer's instructions -- exact times may vary). Pull out slowly, unrolling as you go. Allow excess water to roll off. "Book" the paper by folding the top and bottom of the strip loosely to the center with pasted sides together, being careful not to crease the paper.


If you prefer, you may apply pre-paste activator with pasting brush or roller to the back of the paper. Do not submerge in water. Book paper to relax creases.

Non-pasted: Unroll paper and apply adhesive with pasting brush or roller to back of paper, starting at the center and working outwards. Be sure edges are well coated. Book paper to relax creases.

Get the Hang of It
Before getting started, cover your furniture and floor with drop cloths and set aside a wastebasket or box to hold the trimmings. Unfold the top portion of the first pasted strip and align it with your vertical chalk mark, overlapping about two inches o paper onto the ceiling. Make certain the main design pattern is positioned on the wall where you want it and that the strip is lined up perfectly with the chalk mark. Using a smoothing tool, work from the center of the strip to the edges and remove any air bubbles. When the top portion is smooth and the positioning is perfect, unroll the bottom half and continue smoothing, allowing the paper to overlap the baseboard. Double check that all air bubbles have been removed and that the strip is securely fastened to the wall.

Trim: Using the trim guide and cutting instrument, trim off the excess paper at the top and bottom of the strip. Move both tools simultaneously for an even cut. Sponge down the entire strip, including the woodwork and ceiling, to remove any excess paste (be sure and rinse sponge in clean water after each use). Move on to the next strip, taking care to match the pattern and butt the edges of the strips. Do not overlap seams!

Ceilings: Always hang the ceiling covering first if you plan to use matching or contrasting wallcoverings. Note: some random-match patterns have side-to-side shading and require reversing alternate strips top to bottom. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions.
The Seamy Side
Well-matched seams are extremely important to the quality of your finished room. After several strips have been hung, roll each seam lightly with a seam roller. Be careful not to roll too hard -- paste may squeeze out, leaving a dry seam and possibly damaging the wallpaper surface. Note: Certain pre-pasted wallcoverings have instructions not to roll seams. Always read manufacturer's instructions carefully.
Doors and Windows
When you come to a door or window casing, overlap the woodwork with the pattern. Position and smooth the paper up to the casing. Make a diagonal cut from the overlapped side of the strip to the outside corner of the casing. This will allow the top portion of the strip to be smoothed flat against the wall. Trim off excess as you did at the top and bottom of previous strips. Before trimming around casings, tap the wallcovering firmly into place with the smoothing tool. Sponge off excess paste and proceed with next strip.

In This Corner
Since very few corners are perfectly vertical, it is important to establish a new plumb line on each wall. When you come to a corner, hang the strip tightly into the corner, making sure the seam remains butted to the previous strip. Continue smoothing the remainder of the strip onto the next wall. Using a trim guide and cutting instrument, make a vertical cut from ceiling to baseboard, directly in the corner. Remove remaining portion of strip and set aside.


Next, measure the narrowest width of the retained strip. Snap or draw another vertical line half an inch less than the narrowest width measurement from the inside corner. Hang the retained strip along the vertical line, tapping the excess into the corner. Gently reach underneath and lift up the strip of paper that was cut directly in the corner and tap the new piece into place, overlapping the corner. Apply a small bead of border and seam adhesive to the overlapped area and lay down the piece that fits perfectly into the corner. Smooth corner and remove any excess adhesive.


A Good Outlet
Caution: Use extreme care when working with outlets of any kind. We recommend turning off your electricity before working around any electrical outlets.

Remove plates from switches and outlets. Loosen back plates of any wall fixtures. Proceed normally with hanging your paper until you come to an outlet box. Smooth paper to outlet and mark an outline of the electrical box on the wallpaper with a pencil. Pull strip away from the wall and make an "X" cut from corner to corner inside box. Smooth the strip down the rest of the way. Trim off the four flaps inside the box and replace plate.

To make the plate less noticeable, it can be covered with wallpaper before replacing it on the wall. Select a scrap of paper that will match the area cut out for the opening and place it over the plate (overlapping on all sides). Make a diagonal cut to each of the outside corners and into the inside corners of any openings. Wrap the excess around the back of the plate, smooth and replace.

If you come to a wall fixture, make a cut from the side of the strip in as far as the fixture will be when the strip is positioned. Make an "X" cut at the end of the cut. Slip the strip behind the back plate, allowing the fixture to slip through the cut slot and into the "X." Trim the four flaps from the "X" cut, then smooth and rejoin cut edges on other side and continue smoothing paper.