Wall covering ideas: how to hang wallpaper and other decorating tips

With our how to hang wallpaper guide you can take any wall in your home from shabby to chic!

Updated

Hexagonal Wall Art Plant

The wall décor in your home plays a vital part in the overall feel of the room so having the best wall coverings will make a huge difference. From knowing how to hang wallpaper to discovering the most inspirational wall covering ideas, we’ve got you covered.

Preparation is key when it comes to knowing how to wallpaper walls. Cleaning the surface, filling holes, sanding to an even finish, and having all your equipment ready will help limit common mistakes like cutting wallpaper too short or trapping air bubbles when hanging it.

How to wallpaper a wall

Before you jump in, it’s really important to learn how to apply wallpaper correctly. Fortunately, we’re here to help:

  • Gather your equipment. Tape measure, pencil, spirit level, cutting knife, brush, paste, clean cloths and a wallpaper table.
  • Prep the wall. Make sure the surface is free from grime. Fill any holes and sand then smooth.
  • Measure the height of the wall. Then cut your wallpaper to size. Add 15cm to 20cm extra for flexibility. You may want to add more if you’ll be matching a pattern.
  • Use your spirit level to mark a line. Work from the top to the bottom of the wall and slightly wider than your wallpaper strip.
  • Apply the paste. If applying to your wallpaper, make sure the paper is face down on a clean table. Alternatively, some people prefer to paste the wall.
  • Hang your first piece. Start at the top of the wall and press the sheet onto the wall lightly, leaving around 5cm at the top to trim later. Work down and smooth out any lumps and bumps as you go.
  • Cut to fit. Then move onto your next piece.
  • Tackle tricky areas carefully. Windows, doors, switches, and corners require extra work. Always leave extra wallpaper to work around them and trim bit-by-bit until you’re happy with the fit.

How to wallpaper a feature wall

The process is almost the same, just with a couple of slight differences.

First, you want the most striking part of the pattern to be front and centre, so hang your first piece in the middle of the wall.

Second, pay extra attention to matching up the pattern. Hold it up dry at first to match the lines. Work slowly and leave extra margins when cutting your wallpaper pieces. You may want to invest in an extra couple of rolls of your chosen design to make sure you have enough.

Other wall covering ideas

Don’t fancy wallpaper? Paint isn’t your only other option – try these alternative funky wall covering ideas:

  • Panelling. Wood or even leather can give your wall a stylish look. If you want to keep the budget down, faux leather panels can look just as good as the real deal.
  • Art. Whether it’s one piece of striking art or a collage of some of your favourites, view your wall as a blank canvas and turn it into a masterpiece.
  • Decals. Motifs and messages can look stylish and create a real talking point.
  • Shelving. Hanging shelves gives you the chance to decorate the look of your wall and increase storage space. Use ornaments and trinkets to add extra character.

Now you’ve got a better idea of how to wallpaper or cover your wall with stylish décor ideas, you’re ready to give it a go. Get someone to help out – two hands are always better than one – and have fun turning a drab wall into something fantastic!

Key steps

Use our top tips for wallpapering and wall covering ideas:

  1. Prepare the wall and arrange equipment before you start so you have everything you need.
  2. Draw a plumb line as a guide and then match wallpaper strips carefully. 
  3. Measure accurately and leave extra wallpaper to cut off at the end. 
  4. Add shelves, art or decals to walls for an easier alternative to wallpaper. 
  5. Get someone else to help – it’s easier with two sets of hands. 

Originally published