Wallpaper: Why It’s Hot Again and How to Hang It

image credit: Hygge & West

image credit: Hygge & West

No longer a bad word, wallpaper is cool again. But, this is not the drab wallpaper of 1970. Thanks to popular interior design TV shows and design-inspired communities like Etsy, wallpaper has been resuscitated and transformed. 

With its new, design-friendly reputation, today’s wallpaper breathes fresh personality into rooms with natural themes, bold graphics, and unique patterns. Most importantly, it’s being used in new ways - and it’s being applied sparingly. 

Today, wallpaper is hung to create accent walls, dramatic borders, or unique backsplashes. And you’ll find it in unpredictable places, lining the inside of closets or bookcases. 

Here’s how to hang wallpaper if you’re in a DIY state of mind:

1) Pick a single wall and an easy-to-apply wallpaper.

For first-timers, turn a single wall into an accent wall. If it’s a patterned wallpaper, pick a pattern that’s easy to match up. To make the project even easier, pick heavier papers, which are easier to handle.

2) Clean wall and apply primer.

Wipe down the wall with a rag and warm water. When dry, apply a coat of wallpaper primer to the wall to ensure the paper adheres well. Allow the primer to dry.

3) Measure wall and draw a centered plumb line.

Measure the wall’s height and width, and then mark the wall’s center. Use a level to draw a plumb, vertical line through the center mark for plumb wallpaper panels.

4) Align your pattern and trim bottoms.

Side-by-side, unroll two rolls and align patterns. Mark the bottom, adding a 4-inch margin, where you’d like it to end. Use a straight edge to trim all bottoms. 

5) Measure, mark and trim tops.

Measure wall height and use straight edge to mark and trim the top. On the back of the roll, write a “T” to indicate the top. 

6) Prep the paper.

Lay a roll face down. If pre-pasted, moisten back of roll with a damp sponge. If not pre-pasted, apply paste evenly to the back of the roll. 

7) Book the wallpaper. 

Without creasing, gently fold both ends of the roll to meet in the middle – paste side in. This is known as “booking.” Let the strip of paper rest for the amount of time recommended in the manufacturer’s instructions (usually about 10 minutes).

8) Hang wallpaper ceiling to floor. 

Unfold the top half of a “book” and align a side to the plumb line. Gently apply to the wall, top to bottom, with a smoothing tool. Unfold the bottom half and smooth against the wall. 

9) Trim bottom. 

Hold a straight edge against the bottom of the wall or baseboard. Use the straight edge as a guide while you carefully trim the excess paper with a utility knife.

10) Wipe with a damp sponge. 

Smooth from top to bottom, and from the center outward, with a slightly damp sponge. This will smooth out any air bubbles and wipe away excess adhesive.

11) Hang another piece of wallpaper. 

Unfold the top half and align the side to the paper on the wall. Edges should touch, but not overlap. Be sure the patterns align as desired. Apply to the wall and repeat until done.

You can have a stunning, wallpapered accent wall easily. But, take your time and don’t rush!

by Anjie Cho