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An image of a tidy room with a bed, a bedside table and modern wallpaper in the background

Overview

Applying wallpaper is an easy D.I.Y. way to create a feature wall or transform a room. We’ll take you through the steps and equipment you’ll need to cut the wallpaper to size, apply the paste and ensure that it’s straight.

Safety tip: Always wear the appropriate safety equipment (safety glasses, gloves, ear muffs and a mask, for example) and always follow the instructions for the product or equipment. 

Steps

1Prepare the walls and room

Start by repairing your walls, using gap filler and a spatula to fill in any cracks or holes. Allow to dry before sanding down any rough areas. Wipe down your walls with a simple solution of mild dishwashing detergent and warm water using a microfibre cloth. Alternatively, you can use sugar soap wipes to get a professional-level clean. Clear any furniture away from the walls or cover pieces with a drop cloth to protect them. 

A person is sanding rough areas on white walls. A person in a red T shirt and face mask is sanding rough areas on white walls]

2Measure and mark the wall

You’re going to be working with wallpaper in sections. Lay out your wallpaper on a clean, flat surface to measure its width. Using the width of your paper minus one or two centimetres to account for overlap, mark this distance from the edge of your wall. By overlapping the wallpaper onto the next wall, you can cut it accurately, ensuring a clean, finished edge and this will also assist in helping the pattern line up.

Use a level to draw a starting vertical guideline for your first piece of wallpaper. This will create a guide as to where to place your first piece of wallpaper.


Tip: Use a plumbline from the top of the ceiling to mark every 20cm to 30cm, ensuring your guidelines are straight.
A Bunnings team member is marking sections on the wall.

3Mix the wallpaper paste

Follow the manufacturer's instructions to mix the wallpaper paste (also referred to as wallpaper glue or adhesive) in a clean bucket. Use a painter’s stick to stir thoroughly until the paste reaches a smooth consistency. 

A person in a red T shirt is mixing wallpaper adhesive glue in a clean bucket.

4Apply the wallpaper paste to the wall

Apply the wallpaper paste like it’s paint. Cut in the edges with a paintbrush and then use a roller to apply the paste in larger sections, going a little wider than the marked line on your wall. Make sure you have even coverage and haven’t missed any spots.

A Bunnings team member is using a paint roller to apply wallpaper adhesive

5Hang the wallpaper

Start by aligning the edge of your first piece of wallpaper with the pencil marking you made, making sure to leave a little overhang at the top. Smooth the paper as you go. 

A person in a red T shirt is using a wallpaper smoother to attach the first piece of wallpaper on the wall

6Trim the excess wallpaper

Leave some overhang at the bottom, using a wallpaper trimmer to trim the excess paper at the top and bottom.  

A gloved hand is using a wallpaper trimmer to trim the excess paper at the bottom of the wall

7Smooth the wallpaper 

After you’ve applied the wallpaper, use a wallpaper smoother to push out any air bubbles, working from the centre towards the edges. Do this part slowly, working in sweeping motions. 
Tip: If you have any stubborn bubbles in your wallpaper, take a pin and puncture the wallpaper to release trapped air before going over it again with the wallpaper smoother.
A Bunnings team member is using a wallpaper smoother to smooth out wallpaper placed on the wall.

8Apply the remaining wallpaper

Now that you’ve successfully applied your first piece, hang the rest of the wallpaper. If you’re working with a patterned design, make sure the patterns line up where the edges meet. 

9Trim the wallpaper around hole or power points

When you get to power points and light switches, you’ll need to work around them. Start by turning off the power at the circuit breaker for safety.

Next, use a screwdriver to unscrew the screws and pop off the cover plate. Hang the wallpaper directly over the power points and light switches as you go. When you’ve finished applying the wallpaper, come back to the power points and any edges or light switches.

Taking a pair of scissors, cut from the outermost corner of the power point or light switch diagonally to the other corner. Do the same to the other side to create an X-shaped cut. Use the trimmer to cut the edges of the power point or light switch. Don’t forget to pop the covers back on when you’re done – this will hide any uneven edges and give you a clean finish. 


The image displays two hands trimming wallpaper around a hole or powerpoint

10For more wallpapering skills...

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.