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How To Hang Wallpapers And Preparation!

Updated on July 23, 2015
These rooms definitely need some redecoration!
These rooms definitely need some redecoration! | Source

A simple and not so expensive way to do household repairs is to renovate the room with new wallpaper.

I think almost every person that have some practical skill can hang wallpaper! It is just a question of patience, creativity and a willingness to try! To hang wallpaper is not a skill we are born with, it is a skill we can learn. I have learned by trying and making errors and by reading books and such. But no one has taught me how to hang wallpaper, I have just learned while practicing.

I recently redecorated two room in my house with new wallpaper and some paint and it made all the difference to rooms that before looked really dull and worn. Redecorate a room with wallpapers is like getting a brand new room even if you put back in your old furniture when you are finished, and it is a fast way too!

But, as it is with almost everything in life there are some part of the redecoration that isn't so fun! The preparations before we can hang the new wallpaper! This is the part of wallpapering that I find a bit boring and it is important to do it right from the beginning in order to shorten the time spent on preparations of the walls.

The way to do it, is to do it well and think before you start!

Tools you need for wallpapering a room!
Tools you need for wallpapering a room! | Source
Wallpaper table
Wallpaper table | Source

Wallpapering tools that you need:

  • Smaller bucket and sponge
  • Different sizes of plastic applicator or trowel
  • Wallpaper table
  • Screwdrivers, hammers
  • Putty
  • Putty knife
  • Wallpaper paste
  • Wallpapers
  • Bubble level
  • Scissors
  • Wallpapering brush
  • Paint wash
  • Element color
  • Woodwork colour
  • Roof color
  • A damp towel

Lets get started:

Measure the room and choose wallpaper!

The first step is to take measurements of the room size and calculate how much wallpaper and color you need. If you haven't decided which wallpaper you want to use, just measure the height of the walls and the room´s length and width. Take the measurements to the wallpaper store and they will help you if you can´t calculate how much you need to buy.

There are different ways to calculate how much wallpaper you need, and it all depends on your demand for accuracy. You can do very thorough calculations in order to buy the exact amount wallpaper rolls. But I believe in the art of not making things too complicated and make a general calculation that so far has worked just fine. I usually come very close! The way I go about it is to calculate how much wallpaper I need by measuring the room with a folding rule. Use the most common width of wallpaper where you live, and measure direct on the walls in the room. Most wallpapers here have the width of 53 cm and I use that measure and slowly working my way along the walls making marks using a folding ruler. By doing so I have the amounts of wallpaper lengths that is needed. The only thing you need then is the hight of the walls and then you multiply with the number of wallpaper lengths. If you know you are going to use wallpaper without patterns you can do some count off for doorways and windows but I advice you to have some marginals and don't count off for windows and doors at all, because you might need it. And if you are going to use wallpaper with patterns you better not, because the wallpaper waste generated by pattern will match the wallpaper you can count off for doors and windows. If you haven't decided about wallpaper patterns or not, you better take both calculations with you to the store.

But even if you calculate how much wallpaper you need by yourself I suggest you go to the wallpaper store and select your wallpaper before you start to prepare the room anyway, since not every store have all their wallpapers in store. In that way you can prepare the room while the wallpaper is ordered.

In my case I had two room, two smaller rooms upstairs that hadn't been used so much before. There is also a large opening between the rooms which makes them both visible at the same time. To avoid a messy result it is best to take that into consideration and choose wallpapers that goes well together and/or complement each other.

Here are some guidelines for you to think about when you choose color and patterns of your wallpaper.

A dark wall on the wall furthest away makes the room looks smaller.

Dark colors on the opposite walls makes the room seem narrower.

Horizontal stripes on the wallpaper makes the roof lower and the room seem smaller.

Vertical stripes on the wall makes the distance to the roof to seem a bit higher and the room bigger.

Lowering the roof. If you want the roof to look a bit lower, you can continue with the roof color a bit down on the wall.

Rough walls and large patterns give the impression that the room seems smaller and a room filled with big patterns can make the room feel like it is squeezin

Things to consider about wallpaper patterns

You also need to consider the size of the wallpaper pattern. A big pattern will look much better at a distance so you should only use big wallpaper patterns if you have a room that allows a long viewing distance. If the room is too small you will have to move your head and your vision to be able to see the whole pattern and that can make the patterns seem a bit overwhelming.

Other things to consider is how you are going to use the room, since big patterns in a smaller room also can make it feel more homely and warm. And if that is what you want to achieve you can choose big patterns also in a small room, but try to adjust the pattern size to the room. It is the size of the room that should decide the size of the pattern on the wallpaper.

Small patterns can be suitable in small rooms because then you come closer to the pattern and you can actually see the pattern that in a big room has a tendency to be invisible and only look like a blur.

How to prepare your wall for wallpaper

Prepare the walls!

Remove the old wallpaper.

I use spatulas of different sizes to remove the wallpaper, layer by layer. To make it easier you can use a steam, or plain water on a sponge as I prefer. Apply water on the wall with the sponge and leave on for 5 minute. Then it is quite easy to remove the wallpaper. If there are many layers of wallpaper on the wall you may need to repeat the procedure. Make sure you take away all loose hanging wallpaper or wallpaper over air bubbles. Be extra thorough around wallpaper edges and corners.

You do not need to remove all layers of wallpaper. In an old house like mine, there where 4 or 5 layers so I had to take away three layers before the walls felt smooth and even.

The material of the wall is very important!

How to continue with the preparation work, will depend on the wall material in the room you work with!

If you have gypsum board walls you may continue with filling joints, holes and other imperfections with putty. After the putty has dried, you need to grind the walls. Sometimes you need to repeat the procedure with putty and you may also need to grind the walls more times to get a good and even result.

Easy cover for uneven walls!
Easy cover for uneven walls! | Source
Easy cover on the wall!
Easy cover on the wall! | Source

If you, like me, have a soft and porous board, then you are in much bigger trouble!

You really have two options: either remove these soft boards completely or prepare them!

I chose to keep them because I think it is a heavier job to take them out and replace them with new wall material.

The problem with porous wall material is that they absorb all types of fluid. If the wall surface contain both plaster, wallpaper and areas with no wallpaper the wall will absorb uneven and the wall will not look good when you are finished. To prevent this, you first need to glue the walls with wallpaper glue, ore paint the walls. I used glue. Brush on a big amount of glue on the walls and let it dry.

I recommend that you always pre glue walls unless you wallpaper a wall for the first time. It will prevent different materials to absorb uneven and the final appearance will be better.

If the wall for some reason is very uneven and if you like me dislike plastering and grinding plastered walls several times you can use an easy cover wallpaper to get an even wall surface. They are a bit thicker than normal wallpaper and cover the holes, the cracks and other imperfections very good, but it will nor cover up for higher bumps or severly uneven walls.

Prepare the walls with glue and let it dry!
Prepare the walls with glue and let it dry! | Source

Final preparations!

I glue the walls one more time on top of the easy cover wallpaper as a precaution when I use the easy cover wallpaper. The cover wallpaper are thick and it is easier to get a smoother result if they are little saturated with glue. I want the glue to attach the wallpaper on the walls, not risking the glue to be absorbed into the wall material!

Another important aspect is the wallpaper quality! I always make sure I choose a wallpaper of good quality and preferably the type where you add the glue directly on the wall instead of glue the wallpaper on a tapestry table. It makes it so much easier and a lot less messy!

Good quality wallpaper is also more stabile which makes it easier to get nice cuts. It is almost impossible to get a bad result if the wallpaper is of good quality. It really is worth it, even if the cost is higher. Consider how many years you will have to look at that wall and feel irritated because of walls with a bad result.

My message is therefor: make sure you do your best with the preparations of the wall! Poor preparations will directly show and be visible on the walls otherwise.

Other things to consider!

It is a good idea to improve the woodwork in the room and maybe also the roof with some new color because it will improve the result if you do!

When all the reparations are done you can continue with the fun part! It is time to hang the new wallpaper!

Two rooms with wallpaper in the same basic colour will seem like a unit. Now, the thing that remains, are the finishing touch in the two rooms!
Two rooms with wallpaper in the same basic colour will seem like a unit. Now, the thing that remains, are the finishing touch in the two rooms! | Source


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    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      6 years ago from Sweden

      Hi Docmo! It feels like a house never gets ready! There is always some room that need paint or wallpapering, maybe that is part of the charm with living in a house:) I am glad to know you got some tips from this Docmo and good luck! Best wishes,


    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 

      6 years ago from UK

      This is a great Hub, Tina. Easy to follow instructions and great tips and tricks. I love the video and the accompanying guitar riff.Our house is in need of a lick of paint and also we're contemplating wall papering some of the rooms. This is timely!

    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      6 years ago from Sweden

      Hi teaches! Yes the preparation time is quite massive but I think it pays off in the end and I never think about all the hours once it is finished. Thanks you so much for this encouraging comment! Best wishes,


    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      I could have used this when I was wallpapering a couple of years back. Great coverage! It does involve some prep time but it leads to a quality finish. This will help many out there who need this great advice.

    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      6 years ago from Sweden

      Cloverleaffarm, lol, It might seem a bit strange, but I often find boring things to be relaxing because it doesn't involve so much thinking, I just work on with one wall at the time, doing the same thing over and over again and I can let my thoughts wonder off in all possible directions. I like weeding too:) But scraping is also a great work out for the upper body!

    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      6 years ago from Sweden

      Hi Jackie, I do agree! Nowadays there are so many wallpaper of good quality that makes it so much easier. But sadly the cost for some wallpaper is too high and I totally ignore the most expensive wallpapers. Luckily there is so much to choose from and it is a great idea to search on sales and such. I can so relate to what you wrote about finding a special wallpaper, and I know when I have found that special wallpaper:) Often one glimpse of a wallpaper color or pattern can get all my creativity going and I have a clear picture in my mind of how the end result will become almost instantly! Lets hope that we both find it again! It is a great feeling. Thanks for the lovely comment, I am so glad you like this!


    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      6 years ago from Sweden

      Hi Lesley, I have done that mistake too! It is easy to fell in love with some wallpaper patterns and it is hard to imagine how it will look when it hangs on the wall judging from just one length. The light in the room is of big importance too and can change how a wallpaper look once it is up on the wall! Thanks for the wonderful comment, I appreciate your votes and your visit Lesley.

      Best wishes to you,


    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      6 years ago from Sweden

      Hi Tom, oh, I am so glad you found this hub useful! I think you will do a fine job, the most important thing is to let it take time and think before doing. And may I suggest that you choose a wallpaper of good quality, it makes all the difference and the end result will be so much better! Thanks Tom for your encouraging comments, you are one of my first friends on HubPages and I value you opinion and your votes! Hugs


    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 

      6 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      I never thought of scraping as relaxing. A great work out for upper body When I was doing it, my arms had muscles like you wouldn't believe.

    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      6 years ago from Sweden

      Hi Linda, I can really understand and I can confirm that it is a massive job, especially in an old house with many layers of wallpaper. For some reason it took me so long time to finish these two rooms, much longer than any wallpaper project I have ever done. The preparations where a big job on these walls, so maybe I go for the paint next time! Thanks Linda, I appreciate you and your comments!


    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      6 years ago from Sweden

      Hi cloverleaffarm! Scraping the walls can be relaxing during the first day but it usually takes more than one day to fix a room and in the end it is absolutely boring:) Yes, walls in an old house are never straight and that is really something to consider when choosing wallpaper patterns. Avoiding stripes can be a good idea and save a lot of effort, or maybe buying an extra roll of wallpaper! Thanks for adding to this hub and I appreciate your comment!


    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      6 years ago from Sweden

      Hi Kelly, I hope you will do it someday! It is a lot of work but it is fun and the result is often the most rewarding! I am so glad to see you and I appreciate the wonderful comment and the sharing! Thanks Kelly!


    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I use to hang wallpaper and it is much easier today, although so much more expensive but I see some beautiful rolls at yard sales and flea markets. I may do it again if I come across enough of a beauty I just have to have. I love pastel colors and patterns and they blend so much better. Great info!

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Tina, I haven't hung wallpaper in years, but I did get quite good at it, my biggest problem once, was when I overlooked how big the pattern was!

      A well presented hub with lots of useful information, excellent work thank you and voted up and shared.

      Best wishes Lesley

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi my friend great hub,i was thinking of wallpapering a few of my rooms this summer but never hung wallpaper before. After reading your well explained information i feel i can do it more easily now with all this very helpful information .

      Vote up and more !!! SHARING !

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I haven't hung wallpaper in a few years. The reason I stopped is because it was never fun to remove it unlike paint that I could just paint over. Excellent, informative hub!!

    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 

      6 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      Great hub. I have been wallpapering since I was 13. I've always hated scraping the walls. May I add, that if you choose vertical stripes to be sure the walls are straight. I did our ell in a small stripe, and with a house that is over 200 years old, it was a chore to keep the stripes straight. Even if you don't use stripes, old houses walls are never straight, and there could be more waste than expected.

      Voted Up +

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is an amazing hub! Thank you for creating this. It is well written and complete. If I ever need to hang wall paper I will use your great tutorial! Voted up and shared on Pinterest! Take care, Kelley


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