Windsor from Thibaut Canopy collection of wallpaper
By Lucy Whiter - I Wallpaper Interiors

Want to know how to avoid common wallpapering mistakes ?

If you would like to add wallpaper to your interior design and need some pro tips we are here to help. As Brisbane’s best wallpaper specialists we have compiled some common yet easily avoidable oversights made during the choosing and hanging of wallpaper.

It is easy to be daunted by an unfamiliar process. I have been in this industry for 12 years and Lee still teaches me new things all the time! So him being a wallpaper expert of 30 years and hanging wallpaper everyday, we want to share our knowledge so you can avoid costly or avoidable wallpapering mistakes.

Wallpapering mistakes tip #1 Not measuring walls properly

Working out how much wallpaper you need is crucial. If you are working on an approximate measure you may under order. Firstly this is disappointing as your installation has to be delayed while you wait for more. Then if you can’t get from the same batch or dye lot you run the risk of there being a difference in colour or pattern between the two batches of wallpaper.

Most wallpaper is sold by the roll. (Alternatively is by the metre.) There are different size rolls so always check the description of your chosen wallpaper for the length & width of the roll. You will also need to see if there is a pattern repeat. The pattern repeat takes into account the amount of wallpaper that will be needed to match up the pattern from sheet to sheet.

To work out how much wallpaper you need to:

Use a tape measure to measure the width and height of each wall or surface. Its then a matter of working out how many drops you will get from a roll.

You can double check using our handy wallpaper roll calculator.

Case Study

How to measure a wall for wallpaper:

Wall is: 5m wide by 2.4 high

Roll is: 52cm wide by 10m long

52cm goes into 5 = 10 times (10 drops needed across the wall length)

10 divided by 2.4 = 4.1 (rounded to 4 drops in a roll)

10 divided by 4 = 2.5

Rounded up to 3 rolls to order

Pro Tip:

Always order extra if the quantities look tight. This allows for you to have room to play with the placement during installation. In case there is a damaged area or if you make a mistake hanging a drop you will then have spare. And if you have left over you can stash it away for future repairs or use it in a more creative way…

2) Choosing the wrong scale for the space

Easily made wallpapering mistakes is to not look at the room as a whole. Did you chose a design purely based on a pattern you liked the look of but failed to think if it will work in the room? If so there is a chance you may be in for disappointment.

As a general rule of thumb; use large scale patterns for a large wall and save small scale patterns for smaller spaces.

If you have many things to cut around such as shelves in an office, think about; will you cut away too much of the pattern? You risk losing the impact that a large pattern creates which really is the whole point of it.

By using a small repeating pattern on a large wall you may start feeling like it looks too busy. And when you are standing back from it you may not be able to see what the design is at all.

Read this article if you want more details on choosing the right wallpaper for the space

fireplace wallpaper leaves

3) Not prepping the wall properly

Prior to installing wallpaper the wall needs to be prepped to ensure your wallpaper looks as good as it should and to avoid issues such as; not being smooth or the wallpaper paste not adhering.

It is a myth that wallpaper covers imperfections. While this may be true in some cases, often the opposite happens. If you have a thin or white wallpaper and the wall is a dark colour you may see the colour through. If you have made pencil marks on the wall to measure the wallpaper first you may even be able to see these. So this myth is dependent on the wallpaper type. A thicker wallpaper may cover a minor imperfection but anything major like a bad plastering job may still be seen as a bump in the wallpaper.

If the wall is a new wall you will need to plaster any joins and seal the entire wall with a coat of water based paint. Undercoat is a good primer for this.

For existing walls often a light sand is all that is needed. If there is a gloss paint or a textured paint finish these will need to be sanded away.

While existing wallpaper can be wallpapered over in some cases, it is best practice to remove this first to avoid an issues arising. This might show up as; bubbles or existing wallpapers joins showing through to the new. 

Pro Tip:

Look at the wall in different lights from different angles. The light from a window viewed from the  side or artificial light at night may show up imperfections not seen straight on. This is also a good way to check for bubbles once the wallpaper is up. 

hallway showing metallic wallpaper

4) Pattern finishing at the wrong point

So you have chosen a beautiful wallpaper, designed with lets say flamingos. And you finish hanging it and stand back to take in the wall and all your hard work. But the top of the wall cuts off a whole row of the flamingos heads! By planning better and dropping each roll a few cms to start in the best place, this rookie wallpapering mistake could have been avoided.

An experienced installer will always plan for these issues. Measuring, centering and lining up the pattern to the overall best advantage. This is another reason why getting enough wallpaper is crucial.

This is also applicable when hanging a mural. Ensure you aren’t cutting a crucial part of the pattern away to cut around a door or light switch. Think of the placement when designing your mural to avoid this. Because most murals can be custom designed you can alter the design to be moved to be centred correctly and avoid this and similar wallpapering mistakes.

fun flamingo wallpaper on grey stripes

So with myths debunked and pro tips given what do you need to do next?

soundproof wallpaper mural of palm trees on a timber effect wallpaper. Living room

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