Wallpaper hanging guide: Everything you need to know

Once you’ve chosen your favourite wallpaper from our wide range of timeless archive designs, it’s time to transform your space. Before starting, double check you have enough rolls to complete the project with our easy-to-use wallpaper calculator. Then when you’re ready, gather your tools and let the decorating begin! 


Wallpapering toolkit. 

You will need:

  • Wallpaper
  • A large flat surface  
  • Wallpaper brush and paste
  • Scissors
  • Taping knife
  • Clean roller
  • Spirit level and tape measure
  • Pencil and Stanley knife
  • Clean sponge



Careful preparation is the best way to create a beautiful finish, so take your time to get this part right. Paint the ceiling and any woodwork first to avoid paint splashes landing on your new wallpaper. 

Remove any old wallpaper, paint or dirt to make sure your walls are as smooth as possible. Fill and sand holes or uneven surfaces. Next, gently clean with sugar soap. 

Newly plastered walls need to be fully dry and then primed with diluted wallpaper adhesive or an appropriate primer. This ensures that the wall doesn’t absorb the wallpaper paste when applied. 



Start off by deciding where in the room to hang your first drop. This could be on a feature wall, a sloped ceiling or around a fireplace. It’s always best to centre your first strip so the fullest part of the pattern is most prominent. It’s also a good practice to check that your start point won’t result in any thin strips of paper near the corners of the room, as it can be tricky to create a neat finish. 

Once you’ve chosen the position for your first piece of wallpaper, use a spirit level or plum line to carefully mark this location on the wall. Use the spirit level to continue the mark and draw a straight vertical line. Use this line to ensure your wallpaper is straight on the wall.

Work out the length of paper you need for your first drop by measuring the height of your wall. It’s advisable to measure in a few different places as walls can sometimes vary slightly in height. Begin at the top corner, then add 5cms to the total length. We suggest measuring a few times to make sure you’ve got things right.



Lay out your wallpaper on a flat surface, using something heavy to hold down the edges. Taking your measurements from step two, mark the height of the wall on your paper, remembering to add the extra 5cms. Score along the height line and use a pencil to mark the length. Now use scissors to cut along the scored line.



Use your roller to apply a thin layer of paste to the wallpaper, then fold the paper back on itself for easier movement. 



Position the paper at the top of the wall, so that it corresponds with your vertical pencil line, then line up your paper and press gently into position. Continue until the full length of paper is on the wall, carefully brushing until you reach the skirting board.  

Don’t worry if your pattern doesn’t line up perfectly at this point, the paste is still damp so you can gently readjust to get things right.



Now it’s time to remove any air bubbles, lumps or bumps. Using a clean, dry brush, gently sweep across the entire surface of the paper. This ensures it’s firmly in position and as smooth as possible, which will help the pattern match.



Use your taping knife to mark where the wallpaper needs to end and score with a Stanley knife to trim back any excess paper from the top and bottom of the wall.



Carefully wipe away any excess paste marks with a clean, damp cloth.



It’s highly likely that your room will contain sockets and switches, so before tackling these, please turn off the power.  

Surface mounted sockets: When your wallpaper reaches a switch or socket, carefully smooth the paper around the fixing, while supporting the remaining paper with your other hand. Cut along the top of the box and then gently pull the paper away from the wall. Following the outline of your fixing, continue cutting the left and right sides. Smooth down the paper and trim the remaining bottom edge. 

Use a damp cloth to wipe away any remaining paste, then allow to dry before turning on the power. 

Flush sockets and switches: When you reach a socket or switch, make a small hole in the middle of the wallpaper so the hole lines up with the centre of the switch. From the centre of the hole, cut diagonally towards the corner of the switch. Smooth the wallpaper outwards onto the wall and leaving enough paper to tuck behind the switch, cut off the triangle sections on each side. Loosen the face plate and carefully tuck the wallpaper behind the switch. After removing any air bubbles, screw the face plate back into position. 

Use a damp cloth to wipe away any remaining paste, then allow the wallpaper to dry before turning on the power. 



Once you’ve mastered your first drop, you’re well on the way to wallpaper perfection! Repeat the above steps until your room is looking utterly gorgeous. Some of our more detailed patterns can be a little tricky to match, so take your time and ensure everything is lined up neatly. If there’s any excess paper left at the top of the wall, use your Stanley knife to carefully trim.

Remember to add an extra 5cms to your measurements (as per step two) so that there’s a little extra length if needed.


Share and share alike 

We’d love to see how our designs have become part of your story. Share your finished looks with us using #livingarchive

Discover the Archive by Sanderson Design wallpaper page. Browse through our stunning range of iconic and reimagined wallpaper, then when you’ve found the perfect pattern, order a sample or two, just to make sure the colours are exactly what you are looking for. Our samples are charged at 90p each.

Once you’ve chosen your favourite design, use our handy wallpaper calculator to work out how many rolls you need to complete your project.

If you have any questions, please contact our customer service team who will be more than happy to help.

posted on 01 Sep 2021 by Archive By Sanderson Design

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