Building & Renovating

How To Install Wallpaper—The Easy Way

This is the perfect Christmas break project!

Photography: Kargo (Main Photo)

Aside from a fresh coat of paint, wallpaper can also give your space an instant update. Once the staple of musty, dated rooms, it is now making a comeback with minimalist and modern designs.

If you've been thinking about experimenting with wallpaper, this is the time to take on the challenge! Believe it or not, installing wallpaper on your own is an easy DIY project. For best results, you can also ask a friend to help you out. Check out our step-by-step guide for more tips:

1. Prep your surface. Wallpaper works best on a smooth, even surface, so be sure to apply putty to holes or uneven walls, and sand them smooth prior to wallpaper application.

2. Line it up. Lay the strips of wallpaper on the floor first to see how you can line up and match the patterns—this is very important, especially if you're working with geometrics. 

3. Cut paper to size. Make sure to leave a four or five-inch excess—you can trim that with a cutter and steel ruler once you've put the strip on. Mark and pre-cut your wallpaper strips to fit around awkward corners or outer edges. 

4. Ready your glue. Pour your (preferably pre-mixed) glue onto a paint tray, and with a small paint roller, apply the glue to the back of your wallpaper strip, making sure the glue isn't too thick. 

5. Lay it on. Apply your wallpaper one strip at a time, making sure the edges don't overlap. Work from the top going down, and smoothen it with a plastic smoother or smoothing brush, working on eliminating the bubbles. 

6. Adjust. You have about fifteen minutes until the wallpaper glue dries down. Take this time to correct any mistakes and flatten any bumps. 

This snippet originally appeared in the RL Notebook of the March 2010 issue of Real Living Magazine. Main photo is by Kargo.

More on

RL Tips: Wallpaper FAQs

Building 101: Choosing Your Wallpaper

4 FAQs about Wallpaper that You Need to Know


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