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Walls And Stairs

Hanging Wallpaper



by Allison E. Beatty
Repair-Home Columnist

Wallpaper can bring interesting texture and dimension to any room. While many people hire a painting contractor for this home improvement project, with a little practice you can do it yourself.

Try Vinyl Wallpaper

The easiest wallpaper to hang is vinyl wallpaper that is prepasted with a glue backing. (The non-pasted types are just as good, but require you to apply an adhesive first.) Simply dip the paper in water and apply it to the wall. One disadvantage is that the glue dries quickly, so you have to hang the paper soon after getting it wet.

Measuring is Key

Start by measuring the room. Be aware of unusual spaces, such as areas around windows and doors. You'll want to buy 10 to 20 percent more than the total dimensions of the walls to allow for mistakes or future repairs.

Before You Start Wallpapering

Like any home improvement project, there is some prep work to do. You'll want to wash down the walls, remove any nails, and fill any holes. (If the walls need major repair, have a painting contractor fix them first.) Move furniture away from the walls to give yourself plenty of workspace.

Starting the Job

Before you start, apply a coat of wallpaper sizing to the wall. This makes hanging the wallpaper easier and makes it easier to remove in the future.

Start in a corner and, using your measurement of the wallpaper width, mark off where the wallpaper will go. Use a vertical laser level to make precise marks. Then:

  • Measure the height of the wall, allowing for an inch or two overlap at the top and bottom.
  • Cut several pieces to this length.
  • Roll the first sheet in water; get air bubbles out.
  • Start hanging paper at the top of the wall and move down, smoothing air bubbles out with a flat edge.


As you hang the wallpaper, pay close attention to how the patterns line up. Ideally, the seams should flow together as if it's one large sheet of paper. Glance around the walls and look for any bubbles or imperfections to fix. Carefully smooth out the paper.

The last step is to trim the extra wallpaper at the bottom and top. Then, sit back and enjoy the new look.

About the Author
Allison E. Beatty is a syndicated real estate writer and founder of the Web site Renovator's Place. She has been a writer of home improvement columns for 15 years. Her articles have appeared in numerous national newspapers and magazines, and on home improvement Web sites.