This article will show you how to easily hang pre-pasted wallpaper, perfect for an accent wall in your home. (Check out this article if you have adhesive wallpaper).
Wallpaper gets such a bad rap.
Probably because a few decades ago, people would apply layer upon layer of wallpaper to entire rooms.
While some might believe wallpaper to be a thing of the past, wallpaper is definitely making its comeback.
There are so many beautiful, artistic designs that really bring so much character to a space.
I recently hung wallpaper in my pantry. It has a gorgeous farmhouse-esque white brick design. That inspired me to keep going!
Today I’m sharing how I hung wallpaper on an accent staircase wall. I absolutely love the way it turned out.
It brings such a fun element to an otherwise boring space.
So, now for the elephant in the room – was hanging the wallpaper hard?
No! At times, it was frustrating to line pieces up (I figured out a trick though!), but overall it was a quick project.
If you have someone to help, you might not get frustrated at all.
How to Hang Pre-Pasted Wallpaper
I ordered this wallpaper because I absolutely loved it. I had only ever hung peel and stick wallpaper, so I wasn’t sure how pre-pasted wallpaper would work.
However, I knew I wouldn’t mind the challenge because I just adored the pattern and color of the wallpaper.
It turned out that the instructions were so simple, and almost exactly the same as hanging peel and stick.
So if you are lusting after a particular wallpaper and are worried about it having paste instead of adhesive, there’s no need to worry.
It’s just as easy!
Step 1: Measure Your Wall
First, you’ll want to measure your wall to see how many rolls of wallpaper that you will need. You’ll want to find the square footage of your space.
Now, if your wallpaper has a pattern, where you’ll want to line it up perfectly, you’ll want to make sure you have extra square footage.
This olive branch patterned wallpaper required me to line it up perfectly.
I really didn’t want to order an extra roll because I was on a budget, so I made it work. Some tiny pieces at the bottom are not a perfect match.
However, you would have to get down on the ground and look very closely to even notice.
How to Measure the Square Footage of Your Wall
To measure the square footage of your wall, you take the width and the height and multiply them.
It gets more complicated when you have a space that doesn’t have a single width and height, like the triangular area of our stairwell. Or, if you have walls with large windows.
If this is case for you, you may want to consider breaking your area into virtual blocks of space and then adding them.
If you are working with triangular areas, you can use the long sides for the measurements and divide by two.
If your number comes out to a decimal, you’ll want to round up.
Last, you’ll definitely want to pad your numbers especially if you have a pattern that needs to be lined up (e.g. floral patterns or even subway tiles)
Once you have the square footage, you’ll compare it to the square footage of the wallpaper roll. This will help you determine how many rolls you’ll need.
Step 2: Gather Your Materials
The materials you’ll need are as follows:
- Pre-pasted wallpaper – I used this Magnolia Homes Olive Branch Wallpaper
- Spray bottle with water
- Tape measure
- Towel for the ground
- Xact-o Knife
- Smoothing tool or credit card
- Step stool (if hanging wallpaper up high)
While that seems like a long list of tools, you probably have most of those things already.
We had all of the above materials except the wallpaper.
Step 3: Hang the Wallpaper
Now onto the fun part!
Measuring Your Wallpaper Pieces
The first thing you’ll do is measure your first wallpaper strip to fit the wall. Give yourself an extra inch or so on each side for trimming.
This next step is very helpful (your arms will be thanking you later). Before applying the first strip to the wall, measure out your second strip. Line these up on the floor – instead of the wall.
After you hang the first strip, before grabbing the second strip, line up the third strip of wallpaper (on the floor).
As you continue to cut and hang the wallpaper, always line up the next strip. You’ll save yourself matching up the pieces on the wall, which can be super frustrating.
Activating Your Wallpaper Paste
Okay, so now that you know to work one strip ahead, you’re ready to get that first strip on the wall.
The instructions for this wallpaper recommended a spray bottle, so that’s what I used. I filled my spray bottle with just water.
I flipped my first strip over (so the pattern was face down), and I sprayed the pre-pasted wallpaper. I went up and down saturating the paper. I did lay a towel down to catch excess water.
Then, the instructions recommended booking the wallpaper. This is when you fold and roll wet wallpaper and allow it to sit for a minute or so. This activates the paste and makes the wallpaper easier to work with.
To book wallpaper, you take each end of the strip and fold it toward the middle. The two ends meet, and the wet part is on the inside.
Then, you take either side and roll it up like a scroll. Allow it to sit for a minute or two.
If your roll of wallpaper doesn’t include booking, then you wouldn’t do it. You’ll want to follow the instructions you’re given.
Applying the Wallpaper to the Accent Wall
Grab the top end of the wallpaper and line it up to the top of your wall. If you want a perfect fit, apply it right where the wall and ceiling meet.
If you would rather the paper hang over and trim, then you can be more liberal with the way you are lining it up.
Either way works!
While you are lining up the top, you’ll also want to line up your first side, making sure either the wallpaper lines up to the corner.
Make sure you aren’t putting the paper down at an angle. If you are, then just lift the wallpaper off and start again.
With your smoothing tool, start working your way down the wall, making sure that you are still lining up the wallpaper edge with the corner of your wall.
If you don’t have a smoothing tool, you can use a credit card.
Continue doing this until you get to the bottom of your wall. You’ll want to make sure there are no bumps or creases.
Trimming the Edge of the Wallpaper
Once you get to the bottom of the piece, you can trim any of the sides where it’s needed with your X-acto knife.
To trim the pieces, I used my smoothing tool as a straight edge and held it firmly to the wall and then ran the X-acto knife across.
Once you’ve made your line, just peel up the excess piece.
That’s it for the first piece of wallpaper!
Now, you’ll repeat this process with every additional sheet. Starting with the second sheet, you’ll have to line up wallpaper to wallpaper. You’ll want to make sure that the pieces do not overlap.
Instead, you’ll line them up perfectly, trying to not get a crease. The smoothing tools helps with this, as it helps to push the paper out.
However, the more you do it, the more you’ll get comfortable with it.
Once you’ve applied every sheet of wallpaper to the wall, you could go over on more time with the smoothing tool to make sure everything looks nice.
Then, you’re all done!
Time & Cost
I was able to hang this wallpaper during naptime, so it took about 2-2.5 hours, from start to finish.
The only thing I purchased was the wallpaper, so my total cost was around $50.
Hanging Wallpaper FAQs
I have never completed a DIY project before. What skills do I need to hang wallpaper?
None! As long as you have patience and can follow simple instructions, you’ll be just fine.
Having someone to help hold the wallpaper helps too – but it is not a requirement. I hung this wallpaper by myself (with a little “help” from my preschooler).
Where do I start?
Start by finding a wallpaper that you absolutely love. Look at Pinterest. Or use google images (e.g. wallpaper staircase accent wall). See what you love.
Then, measure your space. You’ll want to find the square footage (see below). Price out the wallpaper you like, and then decide it fits your budget.
What if my wallpaper doesn’t fit my budget?
You can look for a similar wallpaper that doesn’t cost as much. You might even find a design that you like more.
Many times, you can find other sites that have the same wallpaper and you can compare prices.
Also, look for coupon codes. I got my wallpaper off of a site I had never heard of before – with a really nice coupon code that I googled.
For some reason, my wallpaper took a week to ship, so I simply emailed and asked if I could have a discount, and they took an additional 10% off, which was a nice surprise!
How do I find the square footage of my space?
To find the square footage of your space,
You can also use a wallpaper calculator.
What is the difference between peel and stick wallpaper and pre-pasted?
Peel and stick wallpaper already has an adhesive on it. Therefore, all you do is peel and stick the wallpaper to the wall.
Pre-pasted wallpaper has paste already on it, but it needs to be activated with moisture in order for it to stick to the walls.
Which was easier to work with – peel and stick wallpaper or pre-pasted wallpaper?
Both were easy to work with, but pre-pasted wallpaper came with the extra steps of spraying the wallpaper.
Yet, peel and stick wallpaper had a lot of waste with peeling off all of the backing.
When buying future wallpaper, I wouldn’t be biased toward either. I would go with the best price or the design I liked the most.