Learn How to Put Up Wallpaper: 8 Simple & Easy Guide

Hanging wallpaper seems pretty straight forward right? If you’ve never put up wallpaper before, it can end up being quite a mess with the glue all over the place, crooked seams, and air bubbles. This guide can help you to learn how to put up wallpaper in a foolproof way so you can be successful and enjoy your results for your wall coverings and wallpaper in St. Louis.

Best 8 Easy to Follow Guides on How to Put Up Wallpaper

1. Prepare Your Walls

Remove any light switch covers and electrical outlet covers with a screwdriver. If there are any hooks or nails in the walls, pull them out with a pair of pliers. Make sure your walls are clean and free of debris. Fill in any holes in the wall that are left behind from hooks or nails or damage to the wall with putty.

Wipe the excess off, so the filled areas are flush with the wall. If you skip this step, you will end up with lumps under the wallpaper from not smoothing the putty out.

Use a “wall size” primer or sizing product on all of the walls. Apply one coat with a sponge paint roller. This product helps your wallpaper adhere well to the wall, and it also enables you to remove the wallpaper if you want to in the future.

2. Measuring the Wall

Lay a full roll of wallpaper on the floor and butt it up into a corner of the room. Make a pencil mark on the wall at the edge of the roll, then slide the roll down the wall and make another pencil mark on the roll until you’ve gone all the way down one wall.

3. Cutting Your Wallpaper

Add 2 inches to the top and bottom of your wallpaper strips. Cut your wallpaper into strips with scissors on the marks that you made with a pencil. It’s best to go ahead and cut all of the pieces at once.

4. Using a Plumb Line

Starting from the left side of the wall in the corner, use a plumb line to draw a vertical line on the wall where the right side of the wallpaper strip should be level. The other strips will automatically be level even if the ceilings or walls are slightly off in their measurements.

5. Rolling On the Paste

Lay one strip of cut wallpaper on a flat surface, such as the floor, or on a sheet of plywood supported by two sawhorses. Apply wallpaper paste with a paint roller.

6. Applying The Wallpaper

Put your first glued strip of wallpaper on the wall in the corner with about 1/8 inch on the adjacent wall in the corner. This will give you some allowance for walls that may be a bit crooked. Place the top part on the wallpaper on the wall first, and then smooth it downward to the floor.

Start from top to bottom and rub a wallpaper smoother over the entire sheet of wallpaper to help it stick to the wall and eliminate any air bubbles. Don’t press too hard, or the glue will squeeze out from under the paper, or it may stretch the wallpaper.

Use a natural sponge dipped into warm water and then wring it out to clean any additional paste along the seam or paste residue. It’s easier to clean this area when the paste is wet.

Hang each subsequent strip of wallpaper in the same way.

7. Trimming The Wallpaper

Press a drywall taping knife against the top of the wall where it meets the ceiling. Use a knife to trim the excess wallpaper off the top of the wall by cutting horizontally with the drywall taping knife for a guide. Slide the drywall knife down the wall and trim the next sections until you reach the end of the wall. Repeat this process to trim the bottom edges of the wallpaper.

Trim the wallpaper in the same way around door frames as you did with the ceiling after gluing it and applying it, so that it aligns the pattern with the first strip.

8. Tips and Tricks of The Trade

If your wallpaper has a print on it, you want the print to line up from one strip to the next. Only cut one strip at a time for patterned wallpaper. Apply the first strip as above for solid wallpaper.

Hold the roll of wallpaper next to the first strip while aligning the pattern. Cut the second strip of wallpaper to leave a few inches at the bottom of the wall.

Trim the wallpaper around your light switches, and electrical sockets by making an X with your knife starting in the center, and cutting diagonal into each of the four corners. Then peel back the wallpaper on all four sides to your cutting area and cut the excess off. Smooth out the wallpaper around your switches and sockets.


Putting up wallpaper is recognized as a popular wall treatment in interior design. At The Great Cover Up Design, we have expert interior designers on our staff. We are more than happy to give you some pointers on your projects.

We carry interior design and home furnishings in St. Louis. Come by our gallery to get inspiration for your remodeling projects of any size.