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The Home Depot

Ins & Outs of Applying Wallpaper

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Handyman > Ins & Outs of Applying Wallpaper
Ins & Outs of Applying Wallpaper

When a coat of paint doesn’t suit your room and you need a little more pizazz, wallpaper might fit your decorating scheme better. With an infinite variety of colors, patterns and designs, wallpaper can dress up your walls with energy and style.


Once you’re ready to go with your project, learn and ins and outs of applying wallpaper like a pro. You’ll have all the information you need to transform your walls beautifully.

  1. 1.Choose Wallpaper

    With an infinite variety of colors, patterns and designs, wallpaper can dress up your walls with energy and style.

    Before you even begin a wallpaper project, you’ll have a challenge picking the wallpaper you want to apply. Wallpaper comes in a variety of different colors, patterns, materials and styles. Some wallpaper is smooth and some has textures. Most modern wallpaper is paper-backed vinyl with prepasted adhesive already in place on the backside of the paper panels. This simplifies the hanging process because you won’t have to brush on adhesive to the panels.

  2. 2.Prepare to Apply

    Choose your focal wall and start there – this is the wall that gets people’s first look as they walk into the room. Measure the dimensions of your focal wall and cut a panel of wallpaper to plan the wallpaper placement on this wall. Position the panel of wallpaper onto the focal wall where it will have front-and-center position on the wall. Mark the right edge of the panel – the leading edge – to plan the placement of each panel and then set aside the wallpaper. Mark a plumb line along this line to help you position the panel properly. Continue positioning the paper, marking the leading edge and creating plumb lines along the entire wall.

  3. 3.Booking the Wallpaper

    Roll up a panel of wallpaper and place it into a trough of water to saturate it. Let it sit in the water just long enough to saturate it completely and then remove it. Lay out the wallpaper with the adhesive side facing up and fold over both short edges to meet in the middle without creasing the wallpaper. Let the wallpaper “book” for about five minutes and then it’s ready to hang.

  5. 4.Hanging the Wallpaper

    Unfold the booked wallpaper and apply one short edge to the point where the wall meets the ceiling. It’s ok to allow about 1 inch of overhang along the top edge – you’ll trim this away later. Align the right edge of the wallpaper panel to the center plumb line that you drew. Smooth the edges of the wallpaper panel with a damp sponge, working from the center to the edges of the panel. Work a wallpaper smoother gently across the surface of the wallpaper to remove all wrinkles and to make sure the adhesive has secure contact with the wall. It’s ok if the wallpaper overhangs along the baseboard, too.

  6. 5.Trimming

    Use a razor knife and a putty knife to trim away excess wallpaper along the ceiling and baseboard edges. Wipe away any adhesive from the wallpaper with a damp sponge.


    Congratulations! You’ve just hung the first panel of wallpaper. Keep going to add more panels until you’ve covered all the walls in the room.

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