Should I hang wallpaper myself or get a professional to hang it for me?

Hanging wallpaper can be a tough gig, especially when it comes to matching patterns, but it’s not impossible for a first-time DIYer to do it right and do a great job. Wide format wallpaper (many of our designs are wide format) can become quite heavy when they are wet with glue, so two sets of hands to hang the wallpaper definitely helps. The ‘How to hang wallpaper’ guide below will take you through the steps to hanging wallpaper like a pro.

You will need:

  • Wallpaper adhesive – prepare as directed (we recommend Bartoline)
  • Measuring tape
  • Box cutter/Stanley knife
  • Large steel ruler or spirit level
  • Paintbrush x 2 or paint roller
  • Soft cloth

Step 1. Preparation

Preparation is key when it comes to hanging wallpaper. Your wall must be clean, smooth and dry. So sweep away those old cobwebs and get rid of dust, dirt and grime. We find that washing your walls with sugar soap and one of those big fat orange or yellow sponges you use to wash your car is a great way to clean them.

Sand away any irregularities.

Always remove old wall coverings before applying the new wallpaper.

Highly absorbent surfaces should be treated with a pre-gluing process. You can prep your wall with a product such as Dulux Stain Lock which will make it easier to remove the wallpaper in the future and will protect your wallpaper from dampness through the wall.

Step 2. Prepare the wallpaper paste

Most wallpaper adhesive mixes require some time to set before applying them to the wallpaper, so prepare the mixture first to save yourself some time. Follow the instructions on your packet of paste. Paste is applied to the back of the wallpaper, rather than on the wall. Most of our wallpapers are not pre-pasted. Some wallpapers require you to paste the wall, rather than the wallpaper. Each wallpaper will have its own instructions. 

Step 3. Measure and cut the wallpaper

This is the most difficult step if you have a pattern that repeats and needs to be matched.

Always make sure you start with enough wallpaper to allow for an occasional mistake.

Measure the height of your wall. Allow an extra 5cm (2 inches) for trimming top and bottom. We find it easier to hang the wallpaper when you don’t have to put it flush with your cornice.

Roll out the wallpaper and note where you have to cut it. Carefully cut the paper using a box cutter or Stanley knife against a steel ruler or large spirit leveller.

Roll out more wallpaper and match the pattern. Cut the wallpaper and discard the unmatched portion. See our Wallpaper Calculator to work out how long each piece needs to be and don’t forget to add 5cm top and bottom.

Continue measuring, matching and cutting the wallpaper until you have all the pieces to complete your feature wall. Mark points vertically along your wall so that as you are hanging the wallpaper, you can check to make sure it’s in a straight line.

Step 4. Apply the paste to the wallpaper

Use a paintbrush or roller to liberally apply the paste to the back of the wallpaper, from top to bottom. After you have applied the paste, fold the wallpaper in on itself in half and in half again with the pattern on the outside and set it aside for 30 minutes to allow the paste to absorb into the wallpaper. You can also place the folded wallpaper in a garbage bag. This helps the paste to absorb into the paper. Continue with each strip of wallpaper.

Keep folding the wallpaper in on itself until it is a size that will comfortably fit in a plastic bag or garbage bag. Remove the air from the plastic bag and seal it to help prevent the wallpaper from drying out as it will be some time before you’re ready to hang the final strip.

Step 5. Hang the wallpaper

Start at the top. Don’t forget your extra 5cm (2 inch) trim at the top.

Use your hands and a soft sponge to smooth the wallpaper against the wall. Then use a plastic lathe to lightly smooth the wallpaper and remove the air and excess paste.

Use the marks on the wall to make sure you’re hanging the wallpaper in a straight line. Use a soft cloth to remove any excess paste from the edges.

If you find there is a small gap between each wallpaper strip, work from the centre of the strip and gently massage the wallpaper in the direction of the gap. Use your hands or a special wallpaper roller. Do the same from the other side. Avoid getting glue on the surface of these papers. It is important to smooth the surface of the wallpaper while it is still damp from the paste to ensure all air bubbles are removed. Keep removing the excess glue, too and keep an eye on any air bubbles that may arise as the paste dries.

When you have hung each strip, cut off the excess trim at the top and bottom. After you’ve cleaned up, it’s time to step back and admire your handy work!


The information provided on this website is for use of a general nature only and is not intended to be relied upon as, nor to be a substitute for, specific professional advice. No responsibility for loss occasioned to any persons acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material in this publication can be accepted.

This information is supplied as a guide only. Silk Interiors accepts no responsibility for any problems that may occur while hanging wallpaper.

Got a question?

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2 thoughts on “How to Hang Wallpaper

  1. TJ Kang says:

    Hi Jeff,

    You really only need to use lining if your walls are damaged or the plaster is very old.

    If your walls are fairly new and undamaged, then you most likely won’t need lining.

    It’s always best to check with a professional hanger.


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