Hanging Wallpaper

Hanging wallpaper does not have to be the difficult task you may envision. If you follow this helpful guide, you will be well equipped for every step of the process, from preparing the walls to hanging wallpaper around window and door frames.

Gather Materials

Collect the tools you will need throughout the project before beginning. These include:

  • Enough wallpaper for the room
  • Wallpaper paste
  • Paste brush
  • Paper hanging brush
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Plumb bob
  • Flat table for pasting
  • Sponge and bucket of water
  • Scissors
  • Knife
  • Stepladder

Before cutting the wallpaper, make sure each roll has the same batch number. Wallpaper rolls from separate batches may not have identical shades of color, giving your walls a mismatched look.

Preparing the Room

The walls should be fully stripped of old wallpaper. Remove unwanted wallcoverings by soaking them with a stripping solution. Once the paper is completely soaked through, scrape each section off. For large areas or for waterproof, solid, vinyl products, consider using a thorough, efficient steam stripper.

If you plan on painting the trim or ceiling, complete this job before hanging wallpaper to avoid drips on the finished surface. Make sure each wall is fully dry and clean before applying wallpaper.


Consider applying a layer of lining paper under the wallpaper if the room is painted with a non-absorbent, oil-based paint, or if the plaster walls are marred in multiple places. Wallpaper adheres to reinforced lining paper smoothly, making it easier for hangers to flawlessly execute their tasks. For complete novices, hanging lining paper before the more visible and expensive top layer of wallpaper is also a valuable test run to practice your technique.

Move the furniture to the room’s center and cover it with a dropcloth to protect it against dripping paste and to give you adequate room to work.

Cutting Wallpaper


Measure the height of the wall, then cut a length of wallpaper with an extra two inches at the top and bottom of the strip. The best practice is to cut and hang one strip at a time to ensure the pattern is a seamless match and to avoid wasted paper.

Pasting and Hanging


Before applying paste to the wallpaper backing, determine where to apply the first strip. Large, bold wallpaper patterns should begin at the focal point of the room. Smaller, less definitive patterns should begin behind a door.

Using the plumb bob, a tool that helps ensure the paper is hung straight, mark a line where the wallpaper will begin as a reference point. When hanging the first strip, do not cover the plumb line, but hang right next to it so you can make sure the edge is perfectly in line from top to bottom.

Each manufacturer has varying paste recommendations for their products. Make sure you have purchased the correct type of paste. Lay the wallpaper strip face down on a flat surface and brush the paint from the middle toward the edges. Depending on the product, the wallpaper strip must be left for a specific time frame to allow the paste to absorb and the product to fully expand. If hung too soon after pasting, the wallpaper may bubble and blister.

For the first strip, focus on creating a straight edge against the plumb line. For subsequent strips, matching the pattern to the previous strip is the most important consideration. Begin hanging the wallpaper at the top, leaving two inches extra for trimming. Smooth down the surface with the paper hanging brush, eliminating all air bubbles. Make an indentation with the scissors at the top and bottom joints where the wallpaper should end, then cut off the excess. Be sure to clean the ceiling, baseboard and wallpaper surface of any dripped paste using the sponge and water.

Hanging in Corners

Always use two wallpaper strips to cover a corner. Measure the first strip’s width so that it reaches the corner crease and overlaps it by one inch. Apply the second strip by placing the left edge directly into the corner crease, overlapping the one-inch excess.

Hanging Around Windows, Doors and Outlets

When hanging strips around the perimeter of window and door frames, cut each strip with a few inches of excess paper to overlap the frame. Make a diagonal cut in the wallpaper to each frame corner. Smooth down the edge of the wallpaper lying against the frame and trim away the excess.

As an important safety precaution, shut off electricity to the room at the breaker box before applying wallpaper around an outlet, especially if you are hanging foil wallpaper, which could conduct electricity. Remove the outlet cover. Hang the wallpaper covering the outlet box, then diagonally cut into the wallpaper that covers the box, forming an “X.” Trim away the extra paper. Be sure the outlet cover will conceal the edges, then reinstall the wall plate.

When the task is complete, prepare to be amazed at the professional decorative touch your newly hung wallpaper provides. If you have additional questions on hanging wallpaper, do not hesitate to contact the wallpaper specialists at Wallpaper Warehouse for personalized, helpful advice.