Home Lifestyle 10 common wallpaper dilemmas and how to solve them

10 common wallpaper dilemmas and how to solve them

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Photo credit: John Lewis & Partners
Photo credit: John Lewis & Partners

From House Beautiful

Whether it’s a feature wall or across all four walls, wallpaper is a great way to add colour and pattern to your home, but like any decorating project, how many times have you turned to Google to solve a dilemma?

To help answer the most burning questions, MuralsWallpaper analysed data from recent Google searches and found how to measure wallpaper, how to hang wallpaper, and whether it was OK to paint over wallpaper were just a few of the most popular questions.

Struggling with your wallpaper decorating project? Take a look at the most common dilemmas and how to solve them…

1. How do you measure for wallpaper

Want to work out how much wallpaper you need for your project? Whether you’re a beginner or simply want to brush up on your skills, it’s a lot easier than you might think.

The team advise: ‘Take your measuring tape and calculate the longest width and the highest height of the wall. Don’t include any skirting boards or coving. If you have a sloped wall, ignore any slopes and you can cut it away during installation. If you’re installing a mural on multiple walls, add all of the widths together.’

2. Why does wallpaper bubble

The best way to stop wallpaper bubbling is to be proactive from the beginning. When hanging yours, make sure you use plenty of paste to stop it from drying up (this is when bubbles occur). As well as this, ensure that your wall is smooth; old bits of paint, plaster or wallpaper from previous decorating jobs can also lead to issues.

3. How to hang wallpaper

Hanging wallpaper can be a tricky task, especially if you’ve never done it before. When getting started, remove any nails, screws, and socket and switch covers before sanding down rough areas.

MuralsWallpaper explain: ‘Use a sponge to clean the wall and let it dry for 24 hours. Freshly painted walls need to be left for four weeks to dry out, and plastered walls should be dried and sealed with a primer. Make sure to use a spirit level to hang the first roll or panel straight, as this will act as a guide for the rest of your application. Hang from the top and work downwards, taking care not to pull or stretch the paper. If you accidentally get paste on the surface of the wallpaper, wipe straight away with a damp cloth.’

Photo credit: DunelmPhoto credit: Dunelm
Photo credit: Dunelm

4. Can wallpaper shrink

As wallpaper dries, it’s not uncommon for it to shrink. If you’re not sure how to stop this, the team advise to ‘never pull or stretch the paper’ during application.

‘Make sure if your wallpaper is above a radiator that you turn it off for a few days whilst the paper dries out. Most importantly, stick to the golden rule of never overworking the seams,’ they explain.

5. How do you remove wallpaper

One of the best ways to remove wallpaper is to either steam it off or scrape each of the individual strips by hand. Once everything has been removed, use a warm cloth and water to get the wall looking clean again.

6. How do you wallpaper around corners

Not sure how to wallpaper around a cornered wall? MuralsWallpaper suggest: ‘If your wallpaper needs to cover a corner, you should firstly ensure that the paper is high quality enough. Smooth the wallpaper up to the corner, make a slight cut or crease the paper at the edge of the corner, then wrap it around.’

Photo credit: Woodchip and Magnolia Photo credit: Woodchip and Magnolia
Photo credit: Woodchip and Magnolia

7. Will wallpaper stick to wood

‘You can put wallpaper over wood panelling, but you will have to take some extra steps to ensure it has an even finish. Our experts recommend our heavy paper for this as it will be more forgiving,’ advise MuralsWallpaper.

‘First, clean the panels with a damp sponge. Prepare and prime the panels, and start at the outside corner. Wood expands slightly when it comes into contact with paste, so it can lead to slight warping if only one side of a wall or door is papered.’

8. Are wallpaper seams supposed to show

No, wallpaper seams are not meant to show. The edges should touch, but not overlap so be careful when doing this. If you’re struggling to line them up perfectly, you can always use a seam roller to seal the seams, but make sure you don’t press too hard (this could cause the paste to seep out).

Photo credit: John Lewis & PartnersPhoto credit: John Lewis & Partners
Photo credit: John Lewis & Partners

9. Can you wallpaper over gloss paint

While you can wallpaper over gloss paint, it isn’t ideal. If you are adding wallpaper to a glossy wall, it’s best to sand down the wall and coat it with primer beforehand. This will make sure you don’t leave any areas of shine, while also helping the adhesive stick well to the wall.

10. Can you paint over wallpaper

‘As long as the wallpaper is in good condition and fully attached to the wall, you can paint over it,’ say MuralsWallpaper. ‘You will get a better finish if you fully strip the paper and paint the wall underneath, but painting over wallpaper can be done for a quick fix.’

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