Wallpaper Buying Guide

Wallpaper Buying Guide

Wallpaper Buying Guide

Wallpaper can add a unique and stylish touch to any room, and with so many textured and patterned wallpapers now on offer you can completely update your decor. It can be a little tricky for novices, but with the right guidance, you'll be able to overhaul your home with beautiful wall coverings.

How much wallpaper do you need?

Our handy wallpaper calculator will help you work out the amount of wallpaper you require. Use this as a guide, but remember your actual roll requirements will depend on the way the pattern repeats.

Before you begin hanging wallpaper

  • Check all Batch and Pattern Numbers Match.
  • Check all rolls are free from damage and any printing is consistent.
  • Check all colours match from roll to roll and edge to edge.
  • Check you have sufficient rolls to complete the job, plus a little extra as backup.
Batch number

How to prepare for hanging wallpaper

  • Before removing your wallpaper from its packaging, check each roll has the same batch number.
  • Unwrap two rolls and check the colours match exactly. Check for any flaws in the paper.
  • Your walls need to be smooth, dry, and clean. Rub down with a damp cloth to remove dust and stains.
  • Fill any holes in the walls, allow to dry, and sand down any repaired areas to create an even surface.
  • New plaster or other absorbent surfaces should be sized. Sizing involves applying a 50/50 coat of water and emulsion to seal the porous surface. Let this dry before papering.
  • It's better to complete any wall or woodwork painting before applying your wallpaper.

How to remove old wallpaper

If you currently have wallpaper up, you'll need to remove it before applying your new design. Follow our step by step guide on how to easily remove wallpaper.

  • First soak the old wallpaper with warm water and detergent, or wallpaper stripper. You may want to place some old towels at the skirting boards to catch any splashes and drips.
  • Once saturated, use a wallpaper stripping knife to prise it away from the wall.
  • If you find the wallpaper particularly difficult to remove, try a steam stripper.
  • Once you reach the existing lining paper underneath, decide whether or not you can salvage and use it.
  • If the lining paper remains firm and flat, leave it as a base for your new wallpaper. If you find that it is coming away, remove it and replace it with a fresh lining paper base, otherwise your new wallpaper could blister.

Do you need to hang lining paper?

Lining paper provides a better surface for your wallpaper to sit on, and will ultimately provide a more professional finish. Walls that are in bad condition will need a heavier lining paper to help disguise any problem areas.

You will need...

Gather all the tools for hanging wallpaper before starting. These include:

  • Wallpaper brush and a roller
  • Spirit level
  • Scissors
  • Tray full of lukewarm water
  • Damp sponge
  • Tape measure
  • Bucket of water
  • Pasting table

When preparing the pasting table, use a plastic covering instead of newspaper as the print on newspaper can potentially stain the wallpaper.

How to cut wallpaper

  • Measure the height of the wall and add on an extra two inches to the top and bottom of the length of the wallpaper before cutting. You can trim away the excess once the wallpaper has been hung.
  • Check the pattern is the right way up – never assume that the end of the roll is the top!

Mark the top end on the reverse of the paper so you can see instantly which way up to hang your wallpaper.

How to use wallpaper paste

Always follow the instructions carefully when mixing your wallpaper paste to get the consistency right.

  • Use the paste recommended on the label of your wallpaper for the best finish.
  • Place a strip of wallpaper face down on your pasting table.
  • Apply a coat of paste on the back of the sheet with your brush, working down and outwards.
  • Once the paper is evenly covered paste, loosely fold the wallpaper inwards, from the top to the middle, and the bottom to the middle.
  • Allow the wallpaper paste to fully soak into the paper before hanging.
  • Try not to get paste on the front of the paper. If any gets onto the patterned side, wipe immediately with a damp sponge.

How to hang wallpaper

Take time and care over hanging your wallpaper and you'll have a professional finish to your décor. Follow our tips below for the best possible finish.

1. Before you begin, know where you're going to start. With a bold print, or if you're creating a feature wall, begin in the centre of a wall to create symmetry. If neither of these apply to your room, start 50cm (20in) from the corner of the wall adjacent to a window.

2. Use a plumb line or spirit level to mark a straight vertical line. This will help you get your first piece of paper on the wall in the correct position, and all other strips should follow on from there.

3. When cutting strips for the second and third wallpaper pieces, remember to match up the pattern. If you have a large pattern you may need to use more wallpaper to match up the repeating pattern exactly. Cut the wallpaper strips to length allowing extra for pattern match and trimming. With all paper cutting, add an extra 5cm (2in) at either end to give you room to trim later on and get a neat finish.

4. Once cut, take a strip and place pattern down on your pasting table. Mixing your paste or adhesive as recommended for use with your wallpaper, apply generously downwards and outwards, ensuring all edges are fully pasted.

5. Loosely fold the two ends into the centre so the pasted surfaces are touching each other and the edges are aligned.

6. Using your plumb line or spirit level as a guide to keep your paper straight, unfold the top half of the strip and lightly position on the wall, leaving around 5cm (2in) to overhang at the top. Once you're confident the placement is right, unfold the remaining half and use a wallpaper hanging brush in a downward and outward motion to remove air bubbles, taking care at the edges.

7. Smooth the paper down to the skirting board, where there should be a 5cm (2in) excess.

8. To trim the excess paper away, use sharp scissors or a snap-off blade at a shallow angle to score along the overhanging pieces. Remember to snap off the blade every three strips to ensure the blade hasn't dulled and won't pull and tear the wallpaper.

9. Wipe any excess paste from the wallpaper with a clean damp sponge.

10. For subsequent strips, unfold half the pasted strip and position next to the first length ensuring the pattern matches and the strips butt up against each other for the length of the seam.

11. If your wallpaper is flat, you can use a seam roller to ensure they are smoothed out, but this is to be avoided when hanging highly textured wallpaper or you may risk spoiling the design.

12. Wipe excess paste away with a clean damp sponge, moving down the seam, not across.

Wallpapering tips and tricks

  • Buy all the wallpaper you'll need, and make sure they all come from the same batch. There can be slight variances between batch colouring, and you want your walls to match!
  • Turn off the power supply in the room that you're working in, then cover light switches and sockets as if they weren't there. Once you've wallpapered that area, make a diagonal cut from corner to corner of the fitting, and fold the triangles back for a clean edge.
  • Always check your wallpaper sheets for any bubbling or blistering and smooth over with your brush for a professional finish.