DIY Projects

By Jodie Zhang -

How to Wallpaper a Room

In a design age dominated by clean white walls, wallpaper is enjoying a delightful resurgence. Whether you want to redo an entire room or create an accent wall, wallpaper allows you to create fun, expressive spaces. Read on to learn an approachable way to tackle your next wallpaper project.



Wallpaper Adhesive



Step stool

Drop cloth

Tape measure

Knife with blade

Cloth or sponge

Bucket of water

Smoothing brush


Prepping your walls:

  • For best results, it is important to start off with a clean, smooth wall. Patch up holes with spackle, sand out bumpy areas, and clean off any debris. Generally, you want to avoid applying wallpaper directly over existing wallpaper. If uneven surfaces remain an issue, you may want to prepare your walls with a layer of wallpaper lining.
  • Line your walls with drop cloths. The extra protection will save your floors from adhesive splatters.
  • Remove faceplates and outlet covers. Cover holes with tape.

Cutting your wallpaper:

For best results, cut and hang wallpaper strips one by one. Let’s start with the first strip:

  • Measure the height of your walls. You will want to add an allowance of 2” to the top and 2” to the bottom of the wallpaper (4” total). These extra pieces will be trimmed off once the strip is adhered to the wall.
  • Cut your wallpaper using a straight-edge and knife. Using a sharp blade will make cutting easier. If your wallpaper pattern requires matching up, take this into account when hanging subsequent strips.

Determining the start point of your wallpaper:

  • Decide where you want your wallpaper to start. Typically, if you are only papering one accent wall, it is best to start in the middle of your wall and work outward, so that your end pieces will be the same width. If you are papering an entire room, you will have to determine what will look best for your space.
  • Common strategies include starting from an inconspicuous corner of your room, or locate a window, and place your first wallpaper strip 20” from the corner of the adjacent wall.


The first strip:

  1. After you have determined where you want to start papering, use a plumb line or level to draw a straight vertical line from top to bottom. It is imperative that you draw this line as straight as possible, as all subsequent wallpaper strips will align to the first one.
  2. If you are using adhesive to hang your wallpaper, use a brush to apply a smooth layer of paste. Applying your own adhesive will require proper “booking” - a method of folding which helps relax the wallpaper before it can be hung. If you are applying your own adhesive, it is worth your time to look up the proper way to "book" your wallpaper.
  3. When your wallpaper is prepared and ready to hang, start at the top, and align the edge with the vertical line you have drawn on your wall. Leave a 2” allowance at the top and work your way down, smoothing over the wallpaper with a brush as you go.
  4. Once your first piece is placed on the wall, use your brush again to smooth over any air bubbles, this time starting from the center and working outwards.
  5. Use your brush, or other instrument with a hard edge, to crease the wallpaper where it hits the top and bottom edge of the wall. Trim the excess paper using a sharp blade and straight edge.
  6. Wipe away excess adhesive with a damp cloth or sponge.

Subsequent strips:

  1. The hardest part is done. Your next wallpaper strip should be aligned tightly to the edge of your first. If your pattern requires matching, make sure to take this into account before cutting your next strip.
  2. Remember to leave 2” allowances at the top and bottom of the wallpaper.
  3. Cut, adhere, and trim, as done previously.
  4. Clean off excess adhesive with a damp cloth after each piece is hung, before proceeding to the next strip.


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