5 Tactics to Hang a Wall Covering

Coping with corners
Room corners are rarely perfectly vertical, so if part of a length of wall covering is simply folded round a corner, the edge which will abut the next length is unlikely to be a true vertical. To get round this problem, the length that turns the corner should be hung as two strips.

To do this, measure the distance from the edge of the last length to the angle, taking the measurement in several places. For internal corners, add 10 to 15mm to the largest measurement; for external corners, add 30 to 40mm. Mark the measurements on the back of the length, join up the points before pasting and cut along the resulting line after pasting.

Hang the first part of the length between the last whole length and the corner, matching the pattern carefully. Butt the paper well into internal angles; brush it carefully around external ones. Then hang the second part of the length to a plumbed line on the next wall. If the corner is vertical, the pattern will match exactly along the cut edge; if it is not, overlap the second strip slightly over the first. This will not look perfect but will be much less obtrusive than the creasing and the slanted edge that would result if an attempt was made to turn the whole width round the corner. Wipe any excess paste off the wall covering surface.

Papering around windows and doors
Round a window opening with a reveal, wall coverings should be hung so that the lull length next to the opening has the full width of its top part on the wall over the opening, the full width of its bottom part on the wall under the opening , and has its centre part covering the side of the reveal. Use two scissor cuts to make the centre flap and brush it carefully round the external angle and into the reveal. Crease il and trim it where it meets the window frame. Sometimes this technique of turning the angle causes the wall covering to crease. Another method is to lap each angle by 10mm and hang strips around the reveal.

Next cut and hang a succession of short lengths of wall covering on the wall above the window opening, making them long enough to cover the top face of the reveal too. Trim them where they abut the window frame. Do the same below the window sill, until a point is reached where a full length can be hung at the other side of the window opening, in the same way as the full length hung at the first side. Hang this as before covering the side of the reveal.

Two small areas in the top corners of the reveal now have to be patched. Cut these so that they will turn on to the side of the reveal and on to the face of the wall above it. Peel back the edges of the full lengths at each side of the opening, position the patches and then brush the peeled-back flaps into place over the edges of the patch, repasting the flaps if necessary to make them stick (use a vinyl overlap adhesive when hanging vinyl wall coverings).

Doors can be dealt with by simply creasing the length against the vertical side of the architrave, trimming along the crease and then brushing the wall covering into place. As with window openings, part of the length will go on the wall over the opening, and it may be necessary to hang a short length over the opening before hanging another full length down the other side. Where the door is in the corner of a room, the angle above the door is the ideal place to finish hanging the wall covering, since the inevitable discontinuity in the pattern matching will be noticed least here.

Papering stairwells
In stairwells, the biggest problem is in handling the long lengths involved. Set up a proper working platform in the stairwell first and then measure, cut and hang the longest length, turning about 10mm of it on to the head wall if there is one. Work to a plumb line, as always. When cutting succeeding lengths, make them longer than the shorter edge of the preceding length, to allow for trimming to the angled skirting board. Usually you can calculate the extra needed. Hanging long lengths is a job for two people one person takes the weight of the lower end of the length as the other positions the upper end.

Switches, power points and radiators
To tuck wall covering behind the faceplates of light switches and power points, make diagonal cuts in the wall covering from the centre of the faceplate, and then trim each tongue to leave about 10mm of wall covering to go behind the faceplate. Switch off the electricity at the mains, loosen the screws securing the faceplate, tuck in the tongues neatly behind it and tighten the screws again.

To paper behind radiators, mark the position of the radiator brackets on the top edge of the radiator, and hang the length as normal down to the level of the radiator. Then cut slits in the wall covering in line with the marks, and push the narrow strips down behind the radiator with a wire coat hanger wrapped in cloth or a radiator roller. Finally, butt-join the strips again underneath the radiator, and trim at skirling board level.

Papering ceilings
Papering ceilings is far easier than most home decorators think there are no corners (or hardly ever), no windows and only the occasional obstacle.

Lengths should nearly always be hung parallel to the main window of the room, and the job should be started next to it – this will ensure that the joins are not highlighted. However, if this means wasting a lot of wall covering, the rule should be ignored. Make a guide line on the ceiling; cut the first length about 100mm too long to allow for trimming; paste it and fold it up concertina-fashion. Fashion some sort of support for this concertina of paper so that it does not fold around your arm when you carry it (and while you are hanging it). An old roll of wall covering is useful.

To hang it, you need to be able to walk across the room at a comfortable working height, so set up a scaffold board on steps underneath the position of the length. Position the free end of the wall covering in the angle between the wall and ceiling, brushing it into position. Gradually unfold the wall covering and brush it into place against the guide-line, walking along the scaffold as you proceed. When the length is in place, crease and trim the ends.

Once the first length is in place, successive lengths should be hung parallel to it with the joints neatly butt-joined. It is unwise to try hanging a wall covering wit a pattern that will have to be matched until you have had some practice a papering ceilings.

Light fittings should be taken down before starting to paper the ceiling, an ceiling roses should be loosened after switching off the electricity at the mains. To paper round a ceiling rose, make hole in the wall covering, pass the flex through the hole and make star cuts to allow the wall covering to be tucked neatly behind the rose. The last length on a ceiling will probably be less than a full width. Trim it before pasting and hanging it.