Use of wallpaper dates back thousands of years, or for hundreds of years in the style we know today. In 1675, Jean-Michel Papillon made the first wallpaper with repeating designs that matched on both sides and formed one continuous picture. It became very popular during the Victorian era and again in the 1920s. But with its continued popular use today, we can see that wallpaper is no passing fad.

There are good reasons for this. With wallpaper, you can easily cover your walls with interesting designs and patterns that otherwise would take a long time and require skilled hands to complete. With wallpaper, you can quickly decorate a room with a variety of designs, patterns, and textures.

From rich velvety emboss to full wood veneer, wallpaper opens up a world of options for your walls that you just can’t get otherwise.


Unfortunately, and perhaps inaccurately, wallpaper is often seen as too complicated or time-consuming for people to attempt. However, with modern developments in the makeup of wallpaper, and the wallpapering process, it’s easier and simpler than ever before. It requires patience and an eye for detail but otherwise, most people should be able to hang wallpaper on their own without too much difficulty.

All that’s required are a few relatively inexpensive tools, and a little guidance (that’s what this article is for). If for any reason you choose not to do the wallpaper hanging yourself, however, our expert decorating service is here to help. Otherwise, keep reading for our beginner’s guide on how to hang wallpaper.


Preparing your walls for a wallpaper application is messy, so first things first, clear the room. Remove everything, including all furniture, or gather the furniture in the centre of the room and cover it with a protective layer, e.g. dust sheets.

Once that’s done, you can prepare your walls for decorating. To do this, you need to strip any old wallpaper, fill any cracks, and ensure as smooth and clean a surface as possible. Use sugar soap to clean the walls.

If walls have been newly plastered but have not yet been sealed with wall sealer, it is a good idea to do this. Sealing over the porous surface of the wall enables better adhesion with the wallpaper, and makes it easier to slide and adjust the wallpaper while you’re hanging it.

Make sure you have all the materials and tools ready, including enough wallpaper.

To make sure you have enough m2 of wallpaper simply measure the room, subtracting the measurements of windows and doors. Be sure to check that your rolls of wallpaper all have the same batch number on their labels, as different batches can have slight variations in their finish.


●     Wallpaper

●     Lining paper (if using)

●     Adhesive wall paste

●     Pasting brush or roller

●     Straight edge

●     Smoothing tool or brush

●     Ruler and/or measuring tape

●     Snap-Off knife

●     Plumb bob

●     Scissors

●     Sponge and water, for wiping away excess

●     Step Ladder


●     During wallpapering and whilst wallpaper dries, ensure the room is ventilated.

●     Keep potentially dangerous items out of reach of children, i.e. knives and adhesive mix.

●     Have someone support you when working at height, for example on a stairwell or from a ladder.

●     Turn off the electricity before wallpapering around light switches, particularly if loosening the switch.


These days ‘paste the wall’ wallpaper has become more and more the norm. Traditionally wallpaper strips were dipped in an adhesive mix, then folded or ‘booked’ until ready for the wall, and applied. However, ‘paste the wall’ – which as the names suggest is when adhesive is applied directly to the wall and the wallpaper is then laid over it – is almost universally regarded to be easier, faster, and less messy. Paste the wall wallpaper is said to be 30% faster. In this guide, we will be focusing on this type of wallpaper. 


Even when walls are cleaned, cleared, and well-prepared, they often still have imperfections. For the best results, you will want to hang lining paper before you hang your wallpaper. Lining paper provides a smooth surface between the wallpaper and any wall imperfections, allowing for a better finish. The wallpaper will also fit better to the lining paper, without shrinking and forming gaps between sheets as a result. Depending on the wall and other factors this can sometimes otherwise occur.

When using lining paper, hang strips along the opposite plane to the wallpaper. For example, most wallpaper is hung in vertical strips, so when hanging the lining paper beforehand, hang it in horizontal strips. This is so that the edges of the lining paper and the wallpaper never match up, which can cause a deeper, noticeable seam in the wallpaper. 


Before you begin to hang your wallpaper, you will need to choose where to start and mark a vertical line using a plumb bob. It’s sometimes advised to place your starting piece on the room’s focal point. This may be in the centre of the first wall you see when you enter the room, over a room’s natural focal point, such as a fireplace. You will then work your way out to the edges.

Alternatively, you may find it easier to start near the corner between two walls, and somewhere completely unobstructed by windows, doors, or other features. To get a perfectly vertical line, use a plumb bob – a weight attached to a string, affixed with a temporary nail at the top of the wall and the weight hanging at the bottom. Using the string as a guide, make a mark under the nail and under the point of the plumb bob, and every 40 – 60 centimetres in between, behind the length of the string.

Use a long straight edge to join up the marks into one straight line with your pencil. Next, measure the width of the wallpaper and mark that length horizontally from your plumb line. Now you know where to apply the paste.


Some adhesive wall pastes will come ready mixed, otherwise, prepare your paste as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Start applying the paste generously with a pasting brush or roller in an even layer where you’ve outlined the first strip to go. Don’t worry too much about getting paste on walls, doors, or windows, as this should be easy to clean off afterwards with a damp sponge.


Measure the height of the wall from ceiling to floor/skirting and cut the length of your first wallpaper to size, plus ten centimetres overflow for trimming on the wall.


Hang the wallpaper on the adhesive and align it with the plumb line. Smooth it down with your smoothing tool of choice and use the straight edge for trimming the top and bottom. Simply place the straight edge against the seam where the ceiling and wall meet, to use as a guide for cutting the excess wallpaper off with your snap-knife.

Continue to smooth the wallpaper, ensuring all bubbles and wrinkles are flattened out entirely, and continually check the alignment of the wallpaper with the plumb line. Repeat the process for the next strip, checking that repeated wallpaper patterns and designs are aligned with the first strip.


When you come to the end of the wall where it meets the next, measure the gap between your last strip and the corner. Cut your next strip to size, again with a little excess for trimming and making sure patterns align. Remember to mark a new plumb line when moving onto the next wall.


At the top corner between walls, mark the corner with a finger and cut through the excess wallpaper to it, at a 45-degree angle. This alleviates awkward folds as you hang, smooth, and trim. Use this process for the corners of windows, doors, and other features too.


If you’re struggling with wallpaper, or the job is larger or harder than you are able to manage, why not contact a professional? For expert wallpaper applications and many other decorating, home interior design, and refurbishment services, get in touch with Hugh Strain Of Ayr Ltd.

There’s no refurbishment job we can’t manage, no job too big or small, for our numerous multi-trade experts. Contact us today to find out more, we’re always happy to help.