Wallpapering Tips Made Easy

Wallpapering tips for the novice; including measurements, types, and patterns.

While many people like the look of wallpaper, the idea of hanging it scares them away. Believe it or not, it isn't as difficult as it looks. The trick is choosing the right type, pattern and texture and the right tools. Actually, the only tools you should need are a wallpaper roller, a sponge and, if you are papering an entire wall, a ladder.

If you are a novice hanger, your best bet is to choose a relatively basic pattern, one that will be easy to "match". If you choose something simple like stripes that actually don't have to be matched, the job will be quick and the paper waste will be nominal. Once you get into more intricate patterns of wallpaper, like flowers or rainbows, each piece has to be matched precisely with the previously-hung piece. This can lead to frustration, discarded paper or worse, an extremely mismatched wall, so for your first attempt at paperhanging - keep it simple.

Another good idea for first-timers is to start with a simple border. Borders come in a variety of patterns and textures and can add a whole new look to any room. If you choose a border to hang at the top of your walls, make sure you have someone to help you. Set up two step ladders approximately six feet apart. Start the border at one corner, smooth it down as far as you can reach, then let your helper smooth the border area as far as he can reach. Once your border area is secure, move your ladder six feet from your helper and take over from his secured border area. Keep moving the ladder positions until the entire roll is in place. If you would rather place a border midway up the wall, be very careful to measure around the entire room. While we assume our walls are straight, many times they are not. Be sure to measure from the floorboard up to the position you want to hang the border and use a chalk line or a ruler and pencil to mark the position of the border. Once you've done your measurements, make sure that you place the border exactly on the position of the chalk line.

There are many varieties of wallpaper but without a doubt, the easiest to work with is the prepasted variety. Prepasted paper merely needs to be dipped in a bucket of water, or for larger sections of wallpaper you can dip it in a bathtub or lay it out on a table and wet sponge it. Prepasted paper goes on easily and only needs to be sponged into place. If the wallpaper has "air bubbles" once it's on the wall, use a wallpaper roller to "iron" out the bubble. If you don't have a roller, use a rolling pin. Wallpaper also comes in a variety of textures from textured paper to coated vinyl. Vinyl is relatively easy to work with and is ideal for the first time hanger.

Knowing how much paper you will need can be a little tricky. That's why it's a good idea to purchase your paper from a reputable merchant who will take the time to help answer any questions you may have. A good rule of thumb if you are papering an entire room is to multiply the height times the width of each wall and add them together. This will give you your total square footage. If your room has many doorways or large windows, you can deduct from your total, but if this is your first time, it's probably better not to as the waste will be minimal. Give your square foot measurements to your vendor and let him figure out just how much paper you will need. It's better to order too much than not enough as any unopened rolls can be returned.

I guarantee that if you start with something simple, you'll be so pleased with your paperhanging abilities that you'll begin a total makeover of your entire home.

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