Avoid these 10 common mistakes & fulfill your wallpaper dreams

Have you ever spoken to someone fresh off of hanging their own wallpaper? If you haven’t, that’s because many find the process so overwhelming and riddled with mistakes that they simply can’t talk about it. That is, until it’s time to show off the results.

In all seriousness, DIY wallpaper installation is no joke. You can still have your dream “statement wall”, it’ll just take some careful planning. Pay attention to the 10 mistakes you should look out for, and you’ll be just fine.

  1. Measuring incorrectly: Failing to correctly measure the space you want to cover can result in not ordering sufficient materials, or not having the space to correctly accommodate a complex pattern to begin with. Be careful when taking measurements, and repeat the process several times to be sure you know how to estimate your needs. If you’re still unsure, contact a wallpaper store for some on-the-spot troubleshooting.
  2. Choosing the wrong material: We’re living through a golden age of wallpaper, with countless patterns, colors and materials to choose from. Do some research to determine what kind will work best for your space. For instance, vinyl is often used for ‘wet rooms’ such as kitchens and bathroom, while woven fabrics work well for living rooms.
  3. Taking the plunge without ordering a sample: As with any home project, the vision you have in mind may not align with what actually works for the space. You may be dreaming of a larger-than-life mural, but you’re working within a smaller room that would probably benefit more from a modern wallpaper pattern. You won’t necessarily have to give up your vision, but ordering a sample first will help you get a better sense of the end result, so you can make a better decision.
  4. Underestimating how much wallpaper you’ll need: Even if you’ve measured perfectly, you’ll still need extra rolls depending on the pattern you chose. If it’s an intricate pattern, you’ll want to order 25% more. If it’s a simple, repetitive pattern, 15% extra should do.
  5. Working with bumpy, unprimed walls: Wallpaper isn’t a magical fix for ugly walls. In fact, it can even enhance flaws such as uneven finishes and blotches. Before hanging wallpaper, lightly sand and scrub the wall, then cover it with primer suitable for the adhesive and material you’ve chosen.
  6. Assuming your wall’s corners are perfectly square: As every expert will tell you, home corners are hardly ever square. To offset this, don’t start hanging wallpaper from a corner, rather, using a level, start right at the middle of the wall. This will ensure that the wallpaper will look straight and level throughout, regardless of the wonky angles you may have going on in your home.
  7. Handling ends incorrectly: Depending on the material you chose, you’ll need to learn the best way to trim and align ends. For example, vinyl wallpaper won’t stick to itself, so it can’t be overlapped; you’ll need a special adhesive or superhuman precision to make sure your rolls align perfectly. Moreover, some woven fabrics tend to fray when cut with scissors; to control this, so you’ll need a sharp razor and adhesive on hand.
  8. Not accounting for shrinkage: Since wallpaper is usually installed wet, it shrinks somewhat after drying, which can reveal gaps. For this reason, it’s best to overlap edges slightly when first hanging, so that once dry you’re able to nudge everything perfectly into place.
  9. Smoothing out wallpaper from the edges: When noticing air trapped underneath the wallpaper you just installed, your instinct will likely be to smooth it out top-to-bottom, whereas you’ll actually want to smooth out wallpaper from the center, in both directions. If the wallpaper has already dried and you notice bubbles, don’t despair – simply puncture the bubble with a safety pin to let the air escape, and smooth.
  10. Throwing out scraps: As you gaze lovingly at your stylish, newly-wallpapered wall, you’ll want to tap yourself on the back for a job well done. However, keep in mind it won’t always look like this, because, well – life. In case the pattern is discontinued at some point, save any large scraps leftover to ensure you’ve always got material on hand for quick fixes.


Despite the potential room for error, there’s no denying that wallpaper can take an ordinary room and makes it extraordinary. Feeling more confident about taking on such a project? Good – because you’ve got this.

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