Let’s chat wall paper! Yes, I know it is normally one word, wallpaper. But I’ve decided to divide it today, because we are not just talking traditional wallpaper here. I have fallen in love with covering my walls with paper! Paper of all kinds. From wrapping paper, to removable paper, to the more traditional one word wallpaper variety.
Here I’m sharing what I’ve learned from wallpapering about 11 rooms by this point and every trick you need to know for how to hang wall paper at home. It is totally doable!
If you’ve seen any of our home renovation pictures or have spent any time checking out Our Festive Home Tour, then you are very familiar with my love of wall paper of every kind. It transforms an entire room from boring and ordinary to bright and pretty in just a few simple steps.
There are lots of different types of paper you can put on your walls and just as many ways to hang it. Wallpaper, made of different materials, with varying washability, removability, coverage, and of course countless designs and patterns to choose from. Here are all my tips and tricks for successful hanging wallpaper and cutting wallpaper, and even some of my favorite exceptionally cute wallpapers around, but I’ll leave the really fun part – the picking out the paper! – to you ;)
How to Hang Wallpaper With Paste
We can call this the traditional method. How to hang wallpaper with paste also happens to be the easiest method that I’ve found and my favorite way to hang paper onto a wall. The large wallpaper mural in our bedroom is hung this way, as well as the cute wallpapers in the new walk in closet and the guest room.
If you’ve purchased unpasted wallpaper, then to get it to stick to the wall, you’ll need to use some paste (which acts as glue). Seems obvious, right? Well, there are different ways to use wallpaper paste, but I’ve found that the best method is to paste the paper instead of the wall. It’s a fairly easy process and here’s how you do it:
1. Make sure to clean the wall really well before you start. Warm water applied with a sponge should do the job just fine. Here’s your chance to also fill in any dents or dings in the walls with a bit of spackle. Yes, the wallpaper will cover up any imperfections in the wall (#winning), but if you’ve got any significant damage, you’ll want to fill it in first to ensure the wallpaper goes on smoothly. There’s also some pretty nifty heavy duty lining paper that you can buy in the case of severe damage that’ll help with smoothing out the rough walls.
2. Apply a coat of primer… now, this isn’t a totally necessary step, however, your wallpaper will probably stick better, last longer, and also be easier to remove when it comes time to change the look of the room, if you do use primer. Decision is totally up to you, but I recommend it.
3. Once your wall is clean, dry, and primed, it’s time to paste! If your paste needs pre-mixing, follow the included instructions. This is the wallpaper paste that we use to hang every kind of traditional wall paper onto the walls.
Using a roller or large paint brush, apply the paste directly to the backside of the paper. We are not talking a light paint job here. Apply the past liberally, basically soaking the backside of the paper, especially the sides. The one mistake we made was not soaking our paper enough the first time. It needs to be covered and wet. Every inch.
4. Once the paste is applied to the wall paper it’s time to get booking! To ensure your paste gets the right amount of sticky, you’ll fold one side over until it’s at the middle and then the other side as well. Make sure everything is lined up exactly and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes (or whatever your specific paste calls for). We learned a little trick along the way for this part of the process. Roll the wallpaper and place in a plastic garbage bag while the booking does it’s magic. This keeps all the moisture in and ensures none of the edges get too dry.
How To Correctly Hang Wallpaper
5. Now it’s time to hang. Starting in the top corner, slap that beauty onto the wall, taking care to leave some extra paper at both the top (and the bottom) of the wall for precise trimming in the next step. Smooth down the paper, pressing it onto the wall, taking special care to rub out any air pockets + avoid creating any bumps or ridges in the paper.
5. Trim off the extra paper that you left at the top and bottom of the wall, making sure to create as straight an edge as possible as you’re cutting. I’ve found a pocket knife is the best option for this. Wipe off any excess paste with a damp sponge.
6. Repeat the steps as you continue filling the whole wall(s) with your cute wallpapers!
How To Hang Pre-pasted Wallpaper
Not all wallpaper is created identically, and lots of my favorite designs and patterns over the years have been pre-pasted. While this is certainly a more dated method, I am all for a vintage look, and can definitely back the pre-pasted paper method. The cute wallpapers in my home studio was hung this way. Here’s how it works:
1. As mentioned before, it’s important to start with a clean and primed wall. So, if you haven’t already done so, get out your trusty sponge and can of primer and get to work!
2. Taking your pre-measured strips that fit oh so perfectly along your about-to-be-prettily-papered wall, turn them over so the beautiful side is facing down and the paste side is facing up. Starting with your first strip that’ll be pasted onto the top corner of the wall where you’re starting… gently roll water onto the paste side of the paper with a standard paint roller, making sure to dampen the entire strip.
3. Here’s the tough part: wait… (but only a few minutes) until the paste is “activated,” and feels sticky to the touch. Follow the booking steps above for this and be sure to read the specifics on your wallpaper before you begin. Then, line up the strip of paper in the corner of your wall and being to apply it directly to the wall, taking special care to get out those bubbles and wrinkles as you go.
4. Trim the excess wall paper, wipe off the excess paste, and continue on until your wall is a lovely masterpiece of perfectly applied pre-pasted paper!
Hanging Removable Wallpaper
Are you afraid of serious commitment or are you just a hardcore DIY junkie with a never-ending desire to redesign, redecorate, or renovate? If you’re like me and answered yes to either of the above, then removable wallpaper is about to become your BFF! I adore this type of wallpaper that is perfect for apartments, for renters, or just for mind changing at any time. We hung removable wallpaper in our living room and the laundry room. It’s awesome for the plain and simple fact that it is so easily removed, my friends! Which means, it’s only around for as long as you’d like it to be. If you can get down with that, then let’s talk hanging:
1. By now you know what I’m going to say here…clean + prime, please! Although honestly, if you want to skip the priming step I certainly won’t judge. Removable wallpaper is designed to be easy (especially to remove), so if having to prime is a deal breaker for you, then just skip it and do without.
2. Measure and cut your paper to fit the wall you’re placing it on. Just like before, I’m going to recommend you leave some extra paper at both the top and bottom of the wall for precise trimming in a little bit.
3. Prepare your paper for hanging by starting to remove the plastic sheet affixed to the back side. Only pull back a few inches of the plastic at a time, to keep the paper taut and avoid getting stuck to itself.
4. Begin placing the wallpaper onto the wall, working out the air pockets and wrinkles as you go. I didn’t mention this before, but a squeegee tool works really well here, and can be used to smooth the surface of the wallpaper for any of the methods we’ve discussed so far (P.S. this is your bonus pro tip for sticking with me!). Then, peel back some more of the plastic, and keep securing the paper onto the wall.
5. Continue pasting the wall paper onto the wall, trimming off the excess on top and bottom, until the whole wall looks just marvelous!
6. When your heart desires, rip it off, rinse, and repeat with a fun new design. ;)
Now that we’ve gone over the ins and outs of all kinds of wall paper, I’m going to get into some detail about cutting, hanging, and some unique wall papering options.
How To Cut Wallpaper
Tips for cutting wallpaper correctly:
- Measure your wall accurately (this seems like a no-brainer but it’s so important, I had to mention it!)
- Add 4 inches to the height of the wall (to allow for 2 inches on the top and 2 inches on the bottom of excess paper) before cutting.
- Make sure to use the proper tool to cut your wall paper. Either scissors or a razor blade are just fine, but make sure they are sharper than sharp!
- Consider your pattern…when making cuts, you want to align the wallpaper pattern as neatly as possible so it doesn’t look all jumbled and random once it’s hanging.
How To Hang Wallpaper
Tips for hanging wall paper in wet areas:
- Some areas of the home, like the kitchen and bathroom, are prone to dampness…especially if you live in a humid environment!
- Vinyl wallpaper is really good for these areas as it’s basically immune to humidity. I love the cute wallpapers from Chasing Paper for a space like this.
- Always use products labeled “mold-resistant” when hanging in a wet area.
Tips for hanging wall paper on a half wall:
- Sometimes you just don’t want to paper a whole wall, and that’s ok! I love the look of a half wall–the wallpaper just really pops when it’s up against an un-papered area.
- It’s really important to be extra precise with your cutting to ensure an even dividing line.
- Decorative borders are a great option to mark the space between the wallpaper and un-papered area of the wall. You could use a wood molding, wallpaper border, or a stenciled border for a festive way to join the two and hide any uneven edging.
There are as many cute wallpapers as there are creative ways to hang them! Here are a few fun and original ideas for hanging other wall papers that aren’t your traditional type.
You certainly don’t have to hang wallpaper any one certain way. If you’re the creative type, make up your own way to hang! Or, you can pick from some of these fun and cute wallpapers ideas:
- Layer it up! Using the same patterned paper, or a different design altogether, cut additional strips of varying shapes and sizes, depending on your preference, and place them right on top of your base layer.
- Make your own wallpaper out of contact paper for a fun update to any space. Or use Spoonflower to make your design into a full wall of paper.
- Cut it out! Don’t just use perfectly cut strips, cut out your own custom designs in the wall paper; maybe you want to do a few circles of paper in one room or maybe you want to actually cut alongside the pattern for a section in another room. These sprinkles on the wall really do the idea well.
- Frame it! Purchase or make your own wood frames to capture individual squares of wall paper. Here you can mix and match patterns and designs, or for a geometric look, use all the same paper but frame it in sections. Wood molding would be a good option here too.
Hopefully by now you’re just as excited about wallpaper as I am. This really makes me want to add a bit of wall paper to every room in the house! It adds so much fun, whimsy, and style to any room and is so simple to do yourself, over and over again. Don’t forget to check out Our Festive Home Tour to see my love of wallpaper put into practice and please, please share with me pictures of your beautifully papered walls too!