How to wallpaper your room

How to wallpaper your room

Looking at your plain wall and feeling uninspired? With an unending variety of patterns, textures and designs, wallpaper is the perfect choice to revive a tired space. Wallpaper can instantly accentuate and enhance your interior space, but as we all know, our tastes and aesthetic preferences are prone to change. Wallpaper caters to our shifting tastes and with the availability of new products, applying and removing a design is easier than ever.

Picking the right wallpaper

Pattern, colour & texture

Make a statement with the right wallpaper design. The pattern and colour combination you choose will depend on the ambience you wish to create. Take into consideration the lighting in the room as this will influence the mood and can either complement or contradict the effect your wallpaper creates. Depending on the look you wish to create, textured wallpaper might be an option to enhance interest and dimension in a space. Here are some general rules to remember when adding wallpaper to a space:

  • Mini prints and cool colours can help a small space appear larger while large patterns can create visual interest but will make a space appear smaller and more intimate.
  • Large vertical patterns and vertical lines make a ceiling appear higher, whereas horizontal stripes make a room appear wider.
  • Textured wallpaper and fabric wall coverings create a three-dimensional effect
  • In large, empty and colder spaces, textured or fabric wallpaper can be particularly effective in exuding an inviting and homely look and feel
Bold, statement wallpaper / Source: Shutterstock


The wallpaper material you choose will also depend on the function of your room. For spaces prone to humidity and dampness, like the bathroom or kitchen, vinyl wallpaper is an ideal choice as it is durable and easily cleaned. 

Non-woven wallpaper is another popular option, becoming the wallpaper of choice as its blend of natural and synthetic fibres makes it easier to hang and remove. 

Wallpaper is not waterproof however, and it is best to avoid areas that will directly attract humidity.

How to wallpaper

Preparing for wallpaper

Preparation is a must for a successful wallpaper application, our walls need to be bare and as clean as possible.

  • Clear away any dirt or grime on your walls 
  • Fill any cracks or irregularities with a filler
  • Evaluate the space and decide where you will lay the seams of the paper
  • Identify the dominant wall in the room as this will give you an indication of where to start.
  • Clear out any furniture before applying

Applying the wallpaper

  1. Use a pencil and a level to mark a vertical line on the wall
  2. Check your line is straight using a plumb bob or level to double-check your line is straight
  3. Undo the protective wrapping of your paper and ensure the rolls contain the identical shade, pattern and batch reference number. 
  4. Ensure you have enough wallpaper by calculating the length x breadth of the wall but add an additional 10% for potential wastage or 15-20% if the wallpaper has a large pattern repeat
  5. Cut the first strip about 10 cm longer than the height of a wall and cut each following strip at least 5 cm longer than the first strip to keep the patterns aligned. It will be easier if you cut and layout each of the strips before applying the paper to ensure the patterns are correctly lined 
  6. Check the type of wallpaper 
    1. If it is adhesive-backed, it will require soaking in water before the adhesive is activated
    2. For paper without adhesive, a stiff brush, roller, utility knife, scissors, sponge and a bucket of water will be required to apply the wallpaper. Note: Ensure you always use the wallpaper paste recommended by the supplier
  7. Add the paste to a container of water until it gradually thickens.
  8. Ensure the paper doesn’t become too wet whilst applying the paste as it will shrink back when it dries. Allow enough time for the wallpaper to book (soaking in paste) and when you apply the paper, brush out any extra paste, starting inwards and pushing out

Cleaning: Dust, stains and dirt can build up on your paper. Take the time out to wipe down your wallpaper with a damp rag or with a brush attached to your vacuum.

Installation tips

Bold prints

For loud prints it’s best to start from the centre and work outwards, otherwise, begin wallpapering from the corner diagonally opposite to your door, and work your way around back to the door and finishing in the corner so the seams aren’t visible. Always start from the top and work your way downwards. When you reach the floor, use a sharp utility knife to trim the top and bottom.

Around a window

Start by trimming the paper around the window sill of the door frame. The leftover paper can be used above a window sill or door frame but ensure the pattern is perfectly aligned to avoid clashing prints. 

Around a powerpoint

To wallpaper around a power outlet, hang the paper over the outlet then cut two diagonal slits from corner to corner. Cut out the triangular flaps, then loosen the plate to smooth out the edges of the wallpaper before reattaching.

Wallpaper vs paint

Applying a new spread of colour or patterned wallpaper can instantly refresh a space, but with the range of hues and textures available, choosing between a fresh coat of paint or a new wallpaper spread isn’t easy. To guide your next interior step, here are the main points of difference between paint and wallpaper to consider.


  • The use of colour is transformative in a space and applying a coat of colour is an easy way to distinguish different areas of the home 
  • A coat of paint can bring elements of a space together to give the illusion of extra depth. Paint however, won’t be useful in concealing an uneven surface
  • With occasional maintenance, a repaint will only be necessary every few years. Give your wall a quick clean with a warm, damp cloth to extend the life of your paint and ensure your wall is looking great
Great use of paint, texture and layering / Source: Visualising Interiors


  • The patterns, textures and design elements of wallpaper are endless, making it the ideal decorative choice. They can introduce colour and warmth into a room and subtle texture to liven your existing space
  • Wallpaper can accentuate personal style to make a statement in a relatively easy way and can be a useful tool to cover an uneven or damaged surface
  • From wood prints to metal finishes or faux brick, wallpaper can create the impression of real timber or red brick without a structural change
  • To maintain your paper a basic mix of warm water and cleaning detergent is suitable for vinyl and washable wallpapers. Start scrubbing from the top of the wall, ensuring the wall is lined with plastic to catch excess water