Hey all! I thought I’d pop in with a bit of a tutorial update for you today after the lovely response on our guest room makeover. Doing that room has convinced me as to why I love wall paper…and so I thought I’d share some of my ‘hanging secrets’ with you today. Plus, I seem to get a bunch of questions about wall paper and how it all works – so here you go!
Deciding Which Wall to Paper and Prepping Your Wall
Well, there’s always the option of papering an entire room. I firmly believe that’s a fabulous route to go for a small powder room or even a closet or foyer. I considered it for our guest room, but pivoted when I realized my paper would shine a bit more as an accent wall.
I’m often asked about prepping the wall prior to papering. Some other sites will suggest that you need to ‘size’ the wall. Honestly? I’ve never once sized a wall. I think if you’re using high quality paper and good adhesive (which I’ll explain below), you don’t need to use wall sizing. Just clean the wall, or as with our case, give it a fresh coat of a neutral paint a few days before papering. Just putty any major flaws in the wall, otherwise, you don’t need to do much.
Since our room is so small, there are very few options in terms of where to position the bed. And when I say ‘very few’, what I really mean is there is only one option. A queen sized bed would only fit on the wall opposite the door. So that was the wall we decided to bejewel with this stunning wall paper.
Cutting and Prepping your Paper
I’ve wall papered quite a few times in the last couple of years and have picked up some tips along the way. One thing we did this time was tape off a 61″ length on the floor. The measurement from the wainscoting to the ceiling is 59″, so having two extra inches on the floor let me cut two pieces of patterned matched paper at once. I’ve now used this ‘floor cutting’ method twice and it makes it much easier. If you have a big giant table that’s clear of stuff, use that instead to avoid having to work on the floor 😉
It went SO much more smoothly this way rather than hanging a piece and then trying to pattern match with your arms above your head. One word about pattern matching – it will result in significant wastage of your paper, so account for that when you’re purchasing. This one wall (which is really half a wall) used one entire roll of paper and we were very careful to waste as little as possible.
Getting your Paper to Stick – aka Pasting the Wall
Walls Republic is a high end and high quality paper retailer. As such, the papers they sell are called ‘Paste the Wall’. At first, that might seem like a turn off, but after working multiple times with pre-pasted paper and now working with this, I have to say, I MUCH prefer pasting the wall. You have better control, better adhesion, easier clean-up and tighter seams. It’s far superior in quality. This paper, especially, has a beautiful weight to it, so it was a dream to hang. To paste the wall, you literally buy a can of wall paper paste (we use this type), brush it on the wall with a paint brush so it’s even and not gloopy and that’s it. Your paper will stick.Position your paper at the ceiling and then work your way down, adding paste as needed as you go. The biggest thing is to work relatively quickly to get rid of any bubbles or creases. I just use a basic plastic wall paper scraper thing. It works great.
You might need a small bucket and damp sponge to wipe any excess glue that squishes out the seams, but once you get the hang of hanging paper, you should be able to find the sweet spot in terms of volume of glue and it won’t be that messy. We barely had any glue squishes this time at all.
Final tips and tricks
You’ll definitely want to trim your ceiling, bottom and corner pieces after your glue has totally dried. Certainly trim any huge excess with scissors, but wait until the glue is dry before going back over the finer details with a utility knife (love my Stanley!), because otherwise the glue might gum up your seams and result in rips and uneven cuts.
My final suggestion? If you’re making a foray into wall papering, start with an easy project first to get the feel for it. Try a single wall like we did, or the back of a closet or even a bookcase. I’d stay away from ceilings, slopes, or stairwells if you’re a wall papering newbie. 😉 You can check out our full guest room reveal here!
PS. Want to Shop this Room? Here you go!
Here are some other ‘Wall’ Projects you might like!
Walls Republic generously supplied the wall paper we used for this project. You can see our full privacy and disclosure policy here.
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Hi! I’m Erin and I wrote this post!
I’m a former broadcast journalist turned DIY blogger; I love all things paint, and power tools. My husband and I work on DIY Passion to share our commitment to inspire others to see beauty in the every day. I love dogs, cats, Han Solo and pie – probably in that order. If you’d like to chat about working together, please get in touch and sign up for our email updates.
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