Pattern Repeat & Pattern Match: The Low Down

When it comes to wallpaper, do you know the difference between ‘pattern match’ and ‘pattern repeat’? People often mistake them for the same thing - so, as experts in wallpaper, we’re here to explain in straightforward terms just what they mean.


This is the vertical distance measured before the design repeats itself, along the length of your wallpaper. You’ll see it written as a measurement, Arthouse wallpapers come in a range of pattern repeats for example, 26cm, 32cm or 52cm.

You need to know what the pattern repeat is so you can calculate how many rolls of paper to buy. This will save you from buying too many rolls, which can be an expensive mistake. Or from buying too few and finding out the supplier has run out of the same batch numbers.

The pattern repeat measurement is useful for calculating how much extra should be allowed on each drop of paper when you hang it. The amount of waste you need to add to each length is never more than the pattern repeat indicated.


When you’re hanging paper, the pattern match tells you where to align the next length, to ensure the design matches up. Look out for a written description, for example free match, half drop and random, or for arrow symbols.

If the match falls on the same horizontal plane as the other side, this is referred to as a straight match. If the matching part of the pattern is between two match points, this is called an offset match. Many papers are trimmed through the design for ease of matching.

FREE MATCH (or random hand)

There are no match points – e.g. on a vertical stripe or all-over textured design

OFFSET MATCH (or half drop)

The match is somewhere between the pattern repeat

Off set

STRAIGHT MATCH (or horizontal match)

The pattern match is on the same horizontal line as the next hung length

Straight match


Hang every other length upside down

Reverse hang