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A 5 step guide to transforming your home with wallpaper

These expert tips will help you freshen up your living space in no time

By Amy Saunders  | August 23, 2021 | Category

Picture: Domonique Mural from Wallpaper Online, Instagram/@wallpaperonline.co.za
Picture: Domonique Mural from Wallpaper Online, Instagram/@wallpaperonline.co.za

Now that the wallpaper trend is big again, you’re probably considering using some in your next décor update. Wallpaper is a great way to express your individual interior style and add a bit of character to your home.

Below, the experts at Builders have put together a five-step guide to successfully install wallpaper that you can DIY at home. For inspo, we have also included a few of our favourite local wallpaper spots where you can choose your next print that will enhance your space and give it a fresh new look. Let’s begin.

You will need:

Wallpaper

Wallpaper adhesive

A large paint brush (make sure it is clean)

A spirit level

A scraper

A squeegee

A very sharp knife

A pair of industrial scissors

Sandpaper

A pencil

Crack filler

Tape measure

Smoother surfaces give you a better wallpaper finish

Knowing how to prepare your wall for wallpaper installation is important to ensure that you get your money’s worth out of your purchase and also the best possible outcome. The more precautions you take beforehand, the more bulletproof you will be against all things that can go wrong. Smooth the wall: fill holes, cracks and uneven surfaces, sand any bumps or textures, and make sure you get rid of any screws or imperfections. Once that is complete, wipe down your wall with a damp cloth 24 hours prior to installing your wallpaper. With your wall prepped, your next step is working out where to start with installing your wallpaper.

Don’t cut corners. Literally.

As walls and corners aren’t often straight, don’t rely on them as a guide when hanging the wallpaper. Some may prefer to start in the corner, but if your wall is not straight you may be starting off the process skew. The centerline of a wall should be your starting point. Measure this out using your tape measure, a pencil and your spirit level - this line will dictate the way your wallpaper should lie across the wall.

X Marks the spot

Once you are done with measuring and marking, you may start to cut your wallpaper using a tape measure ensuring you have measured the space you plan on covering. When all the measuring has been completed you can then start to cut the wallpaper. Make sure to leave an extra 50mm at the top and 50mm at the bottom of the wallpaper. This will be removed at a later stage.

Time to add the adhesive

Mix the wallpaper adhesive in a container; a single packet makes about 3-5 litres in total. Give the mixture about 15 minutes to set before you start applying it. Use a clean paintbrush to paint the adhesive onto the wall, remember to paint enough on either side of the width of the wallpaper to ensure your wallpaper edges stick down firmly. Do not lift.

The application begins

Finally, apply the wallpaper. Start by rolling your already measured wallpaper cutout against the line marked on the wall. Have a cloth close by to keep your squeegee nice and clean, you will use the squeegee to smooth out the wallpaper by pressing against and running this over your wallpaper length in even strokes. Start from the centre and move outward. Feel free to move either left or right, but it's important to ensure the wallpaper is nice and smooth, and perfectly aligned with the line set on the wall earlier. Work out any air pockets with your squeegee. Once your wallpaper is fixed, use a damp cloth to wipe off all the water-soluble glue along the edges. This will also make for a fine finish. If the wallpaper is not applying smoothly, pull it away from the wall and go back to your centre point. Remember that this job does take some time and a lot of skill but it is worth the results in the end.