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How to Avoid Wallpaper Disasters

Wallpaper is versatile, stylish and durable – but it’s also got a reputation for being a bit finicky. In fact, wallpaper is fairly simple to hang; you just need to follow a few simple pointers.

Wallpaper disasters are easily avoided. Since most disasters stem from poor preparation, take time to make sure you’ve done everything you need to do before you begin pasting and papering.


Wallpaper likes smooth, clean, even walls. If the walls you plan to paper are dirty, cracked or uneven, you’re unlikely to achieve a flawless finish.

Begin by removing any old wallpaper from your walls using a wallpaper steamer and/or stripping solution. (Remember to lay drop cloths over your carpets, furniture and anything else you want to protect before you begin.)

Next, smooth out walls with sandpaper and fill in any cracks or holes with the appropriate filler.

It’s also a good idea to wash your walls with warm, soapy water before you begin papering. Washing removes excess dust and debris. (Always allow your walls to dry before you begin wallpapering!)

Finally, consider applying a sealer or primer to your walls.

Use the right tools for the job

Don’t scrimp or improvise when it comes to tooling up. Buy, hire or borrow purpose-built equipment, such as:

  • A wallpapering table
  • A secure ladder
  • A wallpapering brush
  • A wallpaper cutter
  • A spirit level
  • A tape measure

Read the packaging and follow the instructions

When it comes to wallpapering, it can be tricky to know which wallpaper adhesive to use. Read the packaging of your wallpaper closely and follow the instructions. Generally, the type of paste you require will be printed on the packaging – if not, seek advice. Furthermore, follow the instructions closely when it comes to mixing your wallpaper paste.

Check and double check

Make sure that all of your measurements are accurate before you begin applying paste to paper. (Measure and re-measure until you’re completely confident with your figures.)

Line up any patterns and step back to gain perspective. Sometimes, glaring errors only become apparent from a distance.

Protect your carpets and furnishings

Spillages and slops are pretty commonplace when wallpapering. However, a drip doesn’t have to be a disaster if you protect your carpets and soft furnishings with loose coverings.