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How to Hang Wallpaper with Paste

Give your walls texture and pattern with wallpaper! I'll show you how to hang wallpaper with paste in this beginner friendly tutorial!

How to Hang Wallpaper

Hanging wallpaper doesn't have to be scary! It's the easiest way to add a bold texture or pattern to a room for instant impact.

The process isn't overly complicated, but it takes some preparation ahead of time so the project goes smoothly. In fact, installing wallpaper can be quicker than painting once you get going!

In this tutorial, I'll walk you through every step of how to hang wallpaper with paste. We'll cover all the supplies you'll need, how to prep your walls, and how to install your beautiful new wallpaper.

Let's get started!

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For this project, I'm adding a wallpaper accent wall behind the upholstered headboard I recently built. I purchased this amazing textured wallpaper by Graham & Brown, which is no longer available. But they have tons of similar geometric print options here!

roll of textured wallpaper hanging unrolled

Picking out the perfect wallpaper is way more fun than agonizing over paint colors. So many patterns and textures! And if you get tired of it, there are ways to paint over wallpaper to change it up!

Want to try a different type of wall treatment? Find out about the difference between wainscoting vs board and batten for more ideas!

Materials Required for Installing Wallpaper

textured wallpaper accent wall supplies

Paint the Walls a Matching Color

It may seem like an extra step, but painting the wall behind the wallpaper in a matching color will help any seams or gaps disappear.

Our upstairs bathroom was wallpapered by the former owner. Over time, the wallpaper shrunk and you can see the wall color in the seams. Check out how I removed this wallpaper for future reference!

gap between strips of wallpaper

I brought a sample of the new wallpaper to Home Depot to be color matched for paint. All the walls were painted the lightest color of the wallpaper pattern. This helped to tie the rest of the room together.

Mark a Vertical Reference Line

Walls are rarely straight, so if you try to butt up the edge of the wallpaper to the corner, you might be starting off crooked! Give yourself a few inches of overhang so you can trim the wallpaper to fit into the corner perfectly.

Once the paint was dry and cured, I marked up the wall for the first strip of wallpaper. This wallpaper is 20 inches wide, so I measured out 18 inches from the corner. Use a level to draw a straight vertical line for reference.

marking a reference line for wallpaper with a level

Cut the First Wallpaper Strip to Length

Unroll the wallpaper and take a good look at the pattern. Mine has distinct horizontal lines, and I wanted to line up one of those with the ceiling. Cutting off the pattern right in the middle can disrupt the flow and look weird!

wallpaper with geometric block pattern lined up with ceiling

Once I decided where to start the pattern, I folded the paper at that line so it can tuck into the corner easily. Use painter's tape to attach the wallpaper to the ceiling and let the roll drop to the ground.

Take a step back and see how it looks from further away. Once you're happy with the first piece, cut it with a few extra inches at the bottom. Set it aside while keeping it flat to take out some of the curl.

Apply Paste to the Wall

This type of wallpaper calls for pasting the wall, which is the easiest method for beginners. Use the wallpaper paste brush to coat the section of wall from your marking to the corner.

applying wallpaper paste to the wall

Paste slightly further than the marking as well so there is plenty of adhesive at the seams. This will prevent the edges from curling up.

Apply the First Sheet of Wallpaper at the Corner

Line up the edge of the wallpaper with your vertical line on the wall, making sure to keep a few extra inches at the top and bottom. This first piece will wrap around the corner, and that's ok. 

Walls are never perfectly straight, so trimming to fit is easier than trying to line up the edge of the wallpaper with a wonky corner!

applying wallpaper to the corner of the wall

Smooth Out the Air Bubbles

Be careful when smoothing out textured wallpaper! I used a wallpaper brush rather than a hard plastic smoother to prevent smooshing down the texture.

brushing out air bubbles in textured wallpaper

Start in the center of the wallpaper, and push any air bubbles out to the edges with the brush. Make sure to work in every direction, not just straight up and down.

Trim the Excess Wallpaper

With everything smooth and straight, trim the excess. Using a straight edge, like a wide putty knife, press down tight into the corner.

Slide the razor blade along the edge, then keep the point of the blade in the wallpaper while you move the straight edge down to the next section. This creates a continuous cut rather than a series of jagged stops and starts.

trimming the excess wallpaper with a straight edge and a utility knife

Keep that blade sharp! I switched out dull blades after every 2-3 strips of wallpaper because it would get gunked up with wallpaper paste. Snap-off blades make this process easy!

Line Up the Next Strip of Wallpaper

For the next strip of wallpaper, find the repeat in the pattern and match it to the strip already on the wall. I found it easier to apply the paste to the wall first, then pull the wallpaper up from the roll on the floor until I found the match.

The paste dries slowly enough to allow you to slide your piece around until you get everything lined up exactly. But one word of warning: Try not to stretch the raised sections of this textured wallpaper when matching up the pattern.

I found that the long L shaped pattern wouldn't match up with their counterparts on the adjoining strip until I puffed them back up a bit. Brush from different directions to avoid stretching.

when matching textured wallpaper patterns, be careful not to stretch out the raised sections

Wipe Off the Excess Paste

Once you have the pattern lined up, wipe off any excess wallpaper paste at the seam with clean water and a wallpaper sponge. This is also your last chance to get those air bubbles out before applying the next piece!

wiping off excess wallpaper paste with a sponge

Trim Wallpaper Around Outlets and Doors

Our weird house has an electrical outlet mounted on the outside of the wall, with conduit running between the two outlets. I appreciate having outlets on both sides of the bed, but would it have killed them to run it through the wall?

I decided to cut off the wallpaper at the conduit and leave the section below painted. No one will see it behind the bed anyway, and it was a lot easier than trying to match up the pattern!

Cut the wallpaper the same way you did at the corner. Use a straight edge to press it into the corner, then use the blade to cut it flush.

wallpaper around outlet and conduit

When I got to the other corner of the wall behind the door, I needed a two inch wide strip behind the trim to finish it off. Rather than wrestle with a huge sheet, I used left over pieces.

I would search the scrap pile until I found the match, cut it down to 2" wide, then stuck it in place. No one will see this part of the wall behind the door, and it was easier than trying to attach an 8 foot long sheet!

textured wallpaper behind door trim

Enjoy Your New Wallpaper!

Boy, was I sore when I finished this project! Hanging wallpaper turned out to be a good arm workout! It took about three hours to complete this wall by myself, but it was totally worth it. You can't get this 3D look with paint!

finished textured wallpaper accent wall

The shading in the pattern really makes the blocks pop, even though it's really only a few millimeters away from the wall.

view of textured wallpaper looking down

The texture really stands out when viewed with a raking light, like this one on the nightstand.

bedside lamp in front of textured wallpaper accent wall

I can't believe it took me two years to get up the courage to hang wallpaper myself. The final result completely changed the feel of the room!

You can do it too! Feel free to reach out in the comments below if you have any questions, and I'd be happy to help!

Shirley Wood

Sunday 25th of September 2016

I love your textured wallpaper! Your tutorial is awesome too. So glad you shared with us at Merry Monday. We painted our home after 15 years and wondered why in the world we didn't do it sooner. It's always just so nice to have fresh updates. It makes us fall in love with out home again.


Wednesday 21st of September 2016

In the 90s I wallpapered every single room in my home if not with full out paper at least a border and I did it myself except where there were two story walls. I find hanging paper very relaxing and honestly it never aged in a 10 year old painted wall needs to be repainted? I have one room yet to be updated with 25 year old wallpaper in it and it still looks fresh. I love your textured paper. I agree as we renovate and see how impactful things are it is kind of crazy to wonder why we didn't do something sooner. Lovely!

The Handyman's Daughter

Wednesday 21st of September 2016

Wow, I can't imagine hanging that much wallpaper! I was exhausted after one wall! Wallpaper makes such a huge impact that you just can't get with paint. Your home must have looked amazing!

Pamela List

Monday 19th of September 2016

The wall paper looks fantastic. I really like a textured look in small bathrooms.


Saturday 17th of September 2016

Your wallpaper looks awesome. You did a great job of lining up the pattern. Thanks for all the tips you shared. What a great accent wall.

The Handyman's Daughter

Sunday 18th of September 2016

Thanks Rebecca! Glad you liked it!


Saturday 17th of September 2016

I am flipping in love with this wallpaper. Your instructions are so clear and make it look like something I can actually do! Thanks so much for this. I have to get that paper...oh lala love it!

The Handyman's Daughter

Saturday 17th of September 2016

You can totally do it! It was way easier than I thought it was going to be. I regret not putting it up sooner!