A step by step guide of how to hang paste the paper wallpaper

Wallpaper is a great way to add pattern, colour and texture to a room. Here is a step by step guide on how to hang wallpaper, you can also watch our videos here

What you need:

Ready mixed paste, sharp retractable knife, decorator’s brush, sharp decorator’s scissors, pencil, plumb line or spirit level, paste table, step ladder, clean cloth or sponge, sandpaper for wall preparation.


Preparation steps:

  1. Check that all the batch numbers are the same on all rolls, examine opened rolls for any print fault, shading or pattern matching problems, keep all labels safe, in case of a problem. If you spot any fault or defect stop the job and return defective rolls and labels to retailer.
  2. Remove any old wallpaper and ensure walls are unified colour.
  3. Fill in any cracks or holes.
  4. Use a fine grade sandpaper for smoothing any rough surfaces.
  5. Wash any painted surfaces to remove any dust, dirt or grease. Use a medium grade sandpaper to roughen the surface to create ‘key’. Absorbent surfaces e.g. new plaster, should be primed / sealed and allowed to dry.
  6. For best results, cross line the walls and allow to dry.
  7. Switch off radiators and open any windows as wallpaper can shrink if the room is too warm.


Pasting steps:

  1. Use a plumb line or spirit level to ensure the position of the first length is vertical. Mark a vertical feint line on the wall 50cm from the corner to compensate for any unevenness in the corner.
  2. If there’s a feature in the room such as a fireplace, start in the centre of it.
  3. Cut the first piece according to the height of the wall, allowing a margin at the top and bottom for trimming.
  4. You may want to pencil mark a small ‘T’ on the rear of each length to denote the top.
  5. Use ready mixed paste for greater adhesion. Ready mixed adhesive contains less water and has better adhesive properties than self-mix paste. Therefore there is less risk of edges curling and shrink back.
  6. Generously paste an even coat of adhesive on the first length (decorative surface face down) ensuring the whole area, particularly the edges, are well covered. Avoid getting any paste on the decorative surface of the wallpaper.
  7. Fold the paper (concertina style) with the adhesive on the inside and leave the paper to soak for the time recommended in the label instructions. This is important because it allows the paper to fully expand.


Hanging Steps:

  1. Line the first length up with the pencil line.
  2. Smooth the paper evenly onto the surface, using a decorator’s brush from the centre to the edges to expel any air bubbles.
  3. Once fully adhered and smooth, trim the top and bottom. Carefully trim any excess paper in the corner.
  4. Repeat the above steps for subsequent lengths ensuring they are butt jointed and pattern matched. Do not overlap.
  5. Carefully wipe off any excess paste from the surface of the wallpaper immediately with a clean sponge or cloth dampened with clean water only. Do not use any detergents or cleaning fluids as this will affect the printing inks and cause them to run. Dried paste can damage or discolour the decorative surface.


Handy tips to note when hanging wallpaper

Plug sockets and light switches:

  • Turn off electricity at the mains.
  • Hang the wallpaper over the switch plate.
  • Make a small hole in the middle of where the switch is and cut diagonally out towards the corners using clean single cuts.
  • Use a ruler to hold the paper against the join where the switch and the wall meet and trim the excess with a sharp retractable knife.


  • When you reach a window, hang the length over the window recess.
  • Make straight horizontal cuts at the top and bottom of the window recess.
  • Brush the ‘flap’ into the window recess and smooth down using a decorator’s brush.
  • Cut subsequent pieces long enough to cover the area above the window and the window recess. Don’t worry about any gaps at this stage.
  • Continue with this sequence until you reach the opposite side of the window.
  • Hang the final window length as per the first window length.
  • It is inevitable that any gaps around the window recess will have to be patched with pieces cut to provide the best pattern match and fit.


  • When possible, the easiest option is to remove the radiator
  • When not, hang the drop of wallpaper over the corner of the radiator, and trim back the paper but leaving at least 10cm excess overlapping the front and side of the radiator.
  • Use a radiator roller to carefully push the wallpaper behind the radiator
  • Sponge any paste off the radiator before it dries out