If you’ve been redecorating or even renovating, then wallpaper is most often the final stage in the journey. You’ve been tiles, plastered, rendered, sanded, blasted, painted and stripped, so you’ll be relieved to start on this last leg. However, this is no time to rush; you need to take as much care with wallpapering as you did with everything else.
Choose the right paper
Not all wallpapers are created the same. You can go retro with the traditional paste-the-back paper, choose ready-pasted, or even a paste-the-wall type. There’s also textured paper, which is great if your walls are less-than-smooth, as well as wipe-clean papers for children’s bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens.
It’s not a neat process. You should shift all your furniture, books, ornaments and soft furnishings out of the room, or move them into a stable pile in the centre, before covering it with a dust sheet. Then you should cover your carpet if you have one. You might not need to remove older wallpaper, unless it’s textured or washable, as long as it’s in fairly good condition.
If it’s not in a good way, though, it’ll have to come off and you’ll have to line the walls. You can paper over painted walls, but they’ll have to be very clean (use sugar soap) and you’ll need to let them dry.
Buying in your paper
Most wallpaper rolls are around 10 metres long and 53cm wide, so you can measure your walls – length and height – to calculate how many rolls you’ll need. Ignore windows and doors – pretend you’ll be papering them over as well – as then you’ll allow for wastage and mistakes. Don’t actually paper over the door, though…
If your paper has a larger repeating pattern, buy in an extra roll so you can cut off the ends to match up the pattern with each strip.
You should also make sure the rolls are all from the same batch, as sometimes hues vary slightly and you don’t want to be looking at ever-so-slightly different colours for several years. The batch number will be on the roll’s label.
Just before you start
Coat your walls with size – a sealer and lubricant that stops the walls absorbing the wallpaper paste and also makes it easy for the wallpaper to slide about into position. Size also helps the paper to stick to the wall once it’s dried.