How To Properly Install Wallpaper

Remodeling your home or just a section of your home with new wallpaper can be fun and a challenge at the same time.  Homeowners have found that they can drastically alter the look and feel of an area just by changing the look of the walls. The following is a step by step approach to installing new wallpaper on a room’s wall so that you get the desired look you want.  To make things easier, ask someone else to help you out.  When two people are involved this process goes by really quickly.

Step 1

You want the wall surface to be smooth before you put anything on it so take some sandpaper and smooth out any rough edges, bumps or other deformities.  After you have done this take some wallpaper primer and coat the whole entire wall with it.

Step 2

Cut out some vertical strips that are four inches longer than the actual height of the wall if you intend to paper the whole wall. When the paper is actually on the wall then you can trim the excess. You want to ensure that the patterns line up correctly so you need to arrange the wallpaper strips side by side.  To secure them, tape the strips together with painter’s tape.   Use a small utility knife to cut it out if you plan on making a specific shape.

Take a pencil and a tape measure to mark when you want to put the wallpaper on the wall.

Step 3

Get out your paint roller tray and pour in premixed wallpaper glue.  Take a small paint roller and quickly apply it to the back of the wallpaper. Make sure it’s applied evenly throughout the paper so no bubbles form. There are many brands now that are made pre-glued, meaning you just have to add water to the back of the wallpaper for it to become sticky.

Step 4 

Place the wallpaper on the wall just one strip at a time. Take your time and smooth out each strip onto the wall starting in the center and then moving outward with an 8” plastic smoother.

If you have a really long wall then you will need to use a ladder and start from the top down. It’s best to have a partner in this instance so he or she can hold down the other end as you are positioning it from the top.

Do not overlap the wallpaper strips, instead laying them side by side. You can guarantee that the seams are lying flat by utilizing a seam roller.


Do not use the seam roller to smooth out the wallpaper when the glue is still wet because you can squeeze all the glue away from the seams and it will not stick.  This is a common mistake that most people make.  However, if you allow the seam adhesive to dry a little, and become tacky, then you can use the seam roller with great success.

When you put a piece of wallpaper up you will have less than fifteen minutes to make sure its just as you want it.  This stuff dries quickly. Make sure you carefully push out any of the air bubbles towards the borders at the end.

Step 5

Wet a clean sponge and wipe off any excess glue, while at the same time smoothing out the paper as you do this.

The job is complete! At this point you should have a totally different looking room.  Hopefully, it is just how to wanted it to come out.


This article was written by Doyle Sumrall of Total Wallcovering. They specialize in all types of wallpaper and murals and take pride in their excellent expertise and knowledge of the industry.

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