wallpaper accent wall
Jean Allsopp

Why Wallpaper?

The quickest and usually the most inexpensive way to really change up the feel of a room is to switch up the surroundings. With all of the new styles and wallpaper patterns to choose from, this once-dated décor trend has been resurrected and is totally modern. If you’re not ready to commit to wallpapering an entire room, creating an accent wall by covering only one wall is a great way to add style and interest.

If you think that hanging wallpaper is a messy, complicated process, you’re right—it can be. However we’ve figured it all out, and with a few tips from the pros, we’ve created a simple 10-step guide on how to hang wallpaper.


materials for hanging wallpaper carpenters level, scissors, utility knife, sponge
Jean Allsopp

What You Will Need

-Enough wallpaper to cover your wall

-Measuring tape


-Wallpaper Primer

-Paint Roller Brush

-Carpenter’s Level

-Six-inch Plastic or Metal Putty Knife

-Utility Knife


-A bucket of water and a sponge, if your wallpaper is pre-pasted or a small paint roller and wallpaper paste if it’s not


measure a wall for hanging wallpaper
Jean Allsopp

Step One: Measure and Clean Walls

Before you do anything, measure your walls to determine how much wall paper you will need. Once you’ve chosen a style you like and bought your rolls, you’re ready to get started.

First, make sure your walls are clean, and have been coated with a wallpaper primer. A coat of primer applied with a paint roller, will help the paper adhere to the wall, and make it easier to remove if needed.  Let the primer base dry, and then move on to the next step.


Find Your Center and Create a Plumb Line for Wallpaper Hanging
Jean Allsopp

Step Two: Find Your Center and Create a Plumb Line

Using a measuring tape, measure to the center of the wall, vertically and horizontally. Mark this point with a pencil, and using a carpenter’s level, carefully draw a straight vertical line through the point. This plumb line will be where you line up the edges of the wallpaper.

line up wallpaper pattern
Jean Allsopp

Step Three: Line Up Your Pattern

If you are using a solid color, you can skip this step. If your wallpaper has any sort of pattern on it (stripes, plaid, etc.) lay two rolls side-by-side and line up the patterns. Then, on one sheet, mark where you want the bottom of the pattern to lie, and measure about four inches down from that point to give yourself a little wiggle room. Using a straight edge (we used a t-square, but you can use the carpenter’s level again), draw a line across the width of the paper, and carefully trim along this line. Repeat this process with your other rolls of wallpaper.

measuring wallpaper
Jean Allsopp

Step Four: Measure Length and Cut Paper

Starting at the bottom of the roll you just trimmed off, roll out the rest of the paper and measure out the height of the wall. Using a straight edge, cut the paper horizontally along this point. Make a mark on the back of the paper letting you know which end is the top, and which is the bottom. Repeat this process with your other rolls of wallpaper.

how to hang wallpaper
Jean Allsopp

Step Five: Prepare the Paper

Lay out your strips of wallpaper on a long table, or on the floor, with the backside facing up. If your paper is not pre-pasted, apply wallpaper paste over the entire surface. If it is pre-pasted, use a damp sponge to moisten the entire back surface. Using pre-pasted paper is definitely easier, so if possible, choose this type of paper.

how-to booking wallpaper
Jean Allsopp

Step Six: Booking the Paper

With the paper still moist, pick up one edge of the paper and fold it over to the center, without creasing the paper. Do the same thing with the other edge. You should not be able to see the back of paper. Don’t worry; it will be easy to separate later. Fold the paper in half again, and another time if necessary taking care not to create any sharp creases—this process is called “booking.” Let your “books” sit for about 5 to 7 minutes. This allows the adhesives to take effect, and for the paper’s width to expand to its original size.

how to hang wallpaper
Jean Allsopp

A Quick Tip

You may want to do this in stages so the booked paper doesn’t sit for too long while you’re hanging other strips, and then loose its stickiness. 

lining up hanging wallpaper
Jean Allsopp

Step Seven: Start Hanging

Starting at the ceiling, unfold the top half of one of your strips and stick it to the wall, lining up the side of the paper with your center plumb line. Gently smooth the strip against the wall using a smoothing tool or 6-inch plastic putty knife. Unfold the bottom half of the paper and smooth it against the wall. There should be about four inches of excess paper hanging off the bottom. We’ll get rid of this later.

trimming excess wallpaper
Jean Allsopp

Step Eight: Trim Excess

Hold a six-inch putty knife against the bottom of the wall or along a baseboard, and using the utility knife, cut away the excess paper.

cutting wallpaper around an electrical outlet
Jean Allsopp

Electrical Safety

If you’ve placed wallpaper over a power outlet, turn off all power to the room before trimming around any electrical sources. Using a sharp utility knife, gently cut an “X” shape over the outlet, and use a pair of scissors to cut away the paper.

removing air bubbles from wallpaper
Jean Allsopp

Step Nine: Remove Air Bubbles & Excess Glue

Sweep a clean, slightly damp sponge over the paper to get rid of any extra adhesive, and to remove any air bubbles that may have popped up. Work from the ceiling down, and from the center outward.

lining up wallpaper patterns
Jean Allsopp

Step 10: Repeat

Unfold your second piece of paper and line it up against the first sheet, paying careful attention to line up the patterns. Place edges of paper so that they are touching, but not overlapping. You shouldn’t be able to notice a break in the pattern. Repeat the process with the rest of your strips.

how to hang wallpaper accent wall
Jean Allsopp

The Finished Product

For a step-by-step guide to wallpapering an entire room, visit This Old House

Like the wallpaper we used? It's Sanitas Wallpaper (#DS106822), available online at Wallpaper Wholesaler



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