wallpapering

Wallpapering Feature Walls – How The Professionals Do It

Are you looking for ways to transform your dull room? If so, how about wallpapering a feature wall?

Creating a feature wall using wallpaper is a great way to create a whole new look, brighten up a room and inject much-needed style.

There were times when I thought that creating a feature wall in my front room would make all the difference, but it seemed too big a job, having never wallpapered in my life!

Is wallpapering something I can learn to do? Would I need a decorator? Would it be expensive? It turns out it’s much easier and cheaper than I thought.

To help others in the same situation, I have put this guide together, so like me, you too can be wallpapering your way to interior design heaven!


Which wall should I use as my feature wall?

In general, it's better to choose a wall that has minimal furniture against it, as you want the wall to pop. However, for your bedroom, I recommend the wall behind your bedhead, as this gives your bedroom a luxe look.

If wallpapering a wall with a chimney breast, it's usually better to choose either the alcoves or the chimney breast rather than both. Wallpapering both can be overkill.

For design inspiration, Iwantwallpaper.co.uk has some great tips for using different styles of wallpaper.

wallpaper a feature wall

Cost

Time

Difficulty


Tools and Materials Required

Make sure you have all the tools and materials below before you get started:

Tools

  • Plumb bob or spirit level
  • Pencil
  • Pasting table
  • check-square-o
    Pasting brush
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    Craft knife
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    Scissors
  • check-square-o
    Smoothing brush

Materials

  • Wallpaper
  • Wallpaper paste

Instructions

Now we're going to dive into the step-by-step instructions. Make sure you follow each step carefully and watch the videos in full to avoid common mistakes.

Preparing For wallpapering

1.  I highly recommend getting everything ready and being super organised before you start.

You don’t want to be halfway up your step ladder, with a pasted sheet of wallpaper, while desperately requiring a craft knife which has disappeared under a mass of DIY paraphernalia!

Have everything to hand, clear the room as much as possible and cover the floors if they need protecting. To work out how much wallpaper you need, check out this guide we put together - How Much Wallpaper Do I Need?

2.  Prepare your walls by removing any preexisting wallpaper and ensuring the wall is clean and dry.

At this point, it's a good opportunity to check your plaster work and make any necessary repairs while the wall is bare. Fixing problems now will help produce a better finish.

For more on repairing plaster, check out our guide ​Patching Plaster - How To Repair Walls And Ceilings.

3. Julian Cassell advises beginning in the middle of the wall and working you way towards the outside.

To help guide you, take your plumb bob and pencil, then draw a plumb line along the centre of your wall. You could also use a spirit level if that’s your tool of choice.

You are now ready to start wallpapering!

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Pro Tip: You can make your own plumb-bob. All you need is a string and a weight of some sort. Simply tie the string to the weight and let it hang!

How to hang wallpaper

4.  Mix the wallpaper paste according to the instructions on the packet and let this stand while you prepare the wallpaper.

5.  Measure the height of the wall, roll out the wallpaper on your paste table to the same length, then add an extra 10cm and cut neatly across.

The extra 10cm will provide an slight overhang at the top and bottom of the wall that will be trimmed later.

6.  With the wallpaper facing pattern down on the pasting table, spread the paste over the back of the wallpaper. Start from the middle and work towards the edges, making sure you cover it all.

This article from Mr Perswall will help you work out how much paste to use. 

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Pro Tip: Weigh the wallpaper down at the ends if it is trying to roll back up. Once it’s wet with paste this should stop happening.

7.  You need to let the wallpaper soak for the recommended time.

This soaking wait time provides an opportunity for a much-needed cup of tea, or, if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to set up two more paste tables to improve efficiency!

Hanging Your First Sheet Of Wallpaper

8.  Okay, we’re now going to hang the first sheet of wallpaper on the wall. Hang it vertically on the wall with an overlap at the top and the bottom. The wallpaper should be in line with the plumb line you marked earlier.

9.  Here comes the smoothing, my favourite step (I find it very satisfying)! Use your smoothing brush to work any bubbles out towards the edge.

10.  We’re now going to carefully trim the wallpaper overlap to fit the wall precisely. You can do this in one of two ways:

  • You can use a knife to cut the paper, but be very careful, as it can sometimes tear the paper. Using a sharp blade helps avoid tearing. 
  • Alternatively, you can use scissors. If you peel the wallpaper up a little, you can cut across. Use proper wallpaper scissors for this, as you want a nice neat line, not a hacked attempt!
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Pro Tip: Once the wallpaper is in place with the excess ready to be trimmed, slide the scissors across using an edge that isn’t sharp. This will make a faint line to cut across. You can see this demonstrated in the video below

Hanging Your Second Sheet Of Wallpaper

11.  Now we're going to hang the second sheet of wallpaper. If your wallpaper has a pattern, it needs to match up. It's very important for patterns to match, so we must take some extra steps before we commit to cutting the wallpaper.

Before you cut the wallpaper, hold it against the wall and next to the first sheet you've just hung. You must now work out where you need the new sheet to be placed in order for the pattern to meet between the two sheets. 

Mark on the new sheet where you are going to cut it. Remember, you need 5cm excess at the top and 5cm excess at the bottom. Therefore, the new sheet should be 10cm longer than required. Do NOT just cut it without checking it! Remember, measure twice, cut once.

Return to the pasting table and cut the sheets where you've just marked it. Please note that you may end up with some excess as you need to stagger the sheets to ensure the pattern matches. 

12.  Hold the new sheet up for a second time against the wall. Using a pencil, mark where the wallpaper overlaps, which should be around 5cm off the top and 5cm off the bottom. These marks will serve as guide when you go to hang it.

Paste as in step 6, and hang on the wall as in step 8. You can slide it around until you get a perfect pattern match. Once you're happy with the position, smooth the bubbles out again (step 9) and trim the overlap (step 10). Remove any excess paste with a clean damp cloth or sponge.

13.  Repeat the steps above until your wall is complete!

All that’s left to do is to stand back and admire your transformational work! 

I love a beautiful feature wall, it can add so much character to a room. Also, it’s not difficult to achieve and doesn't cost an arm and a leg

There are some fantastic wallpapers available, and I particularly love B&M stores for high-quality, but reasonably priced wallpaper. If your room needs an injection of life, this could be the perfect way to achieve it.

If you enjoyed this guide, I’d love you to share it with your friends & family. Also, don't forget to leave pictures of your finished feature walls in the comments below!

About the Author Hannah

I live in Manchester, UK with my young family, 2 cats and a crazy dog. I’m passionate about Victorian houses, Pinterest, Kevin McCloud and creating a home that’s beautiful yet practical for our family!