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Wallpaper Installation: 8 Things You Shouldn’t Do

June 18 2020

When it’s this easy to install and remove wallpaper, there’s no excuse for sitting and staring dejectedly at the same four walls for years on end! If you feel like your room needs a face-lift, nothing is easier than putting up some of Luxe Walls‘ fabulous stick-and-peel prints and creating your very own makeover montage. Whether you paper over the whole room or design an eye-catching accent wall, wallpaper creates a complete and immersive transformation in any space.

It might seem intimidating to tackle your walls. They are, after all, highly visible, and mistakes or misjudgements could easily lead to a design disaster (not to mention falling off step ladders!). Don’t let your fears keep you from the interior of your dreams, though – stick-and-peel wallpapers are painless to install, and if you make sure to avoid certain pitfalls, the whole process will be smooth and enjoyable. We promise!

Here are eight traps and temptations to steer clear of when adding wallpaper to your design scheme. Dodge them, and watch your home transform into the Pinterest-perfect house of your dreams in no time. 

Taking Shortcuts

It might be tempting to order that perfect wallpaper the minute you see it, and just slap it on without due ceremony. This is a sure recipe for a shoddy finish, flaky paper, and a prompt remodel. 

For your wallpaper to look professional and new as long as possible, doing the proper groundwork (or wallwork?) is utterly essential. Make sure your walls are clean. Fill in then sand down any holes, cracks and imperfections. The more level the surface is, the better! The final step is to prime your walls and wait about a week for the primer to fully cure.

Now your walls are the perfect surface on which to apply your exciting new prints! The wallpaper will be long-lasting but easy to remove. That extra work you put in at the beginning always pays off. 

Improvising

It might also be tempting to just wack that first piece up and see where the wind takes you. It will probably take you in a very wonky, uneven direction you’ll come to regret. 

To stay on the path of straight, aligned wallpaper strips, start from the most discrete corner of the room, where any first-timer mistakes can be easily hidden. In that safe space, draw a straight line from the ceiling to the floor – note: in a lot of houses, this true straight line will not necessarily follow the actual corner-line. Use a level to make sure your guideline is actually straight, and proceed to ignore the corner. 

If you align your first strip with this guideline, you’ll be able to use it as the basis for all the successive pieces, and they’ll all be straight!

Rushing the First Strip

This point follows on from the previous one, but your first strip is usually the one that takes the longest to hang, with good reason. 

For starters, it’s your practice run, so you’ll be figuring out how to avoid bubbles, peel the backing off smoothly and evenly, and keep it straight. The skills you learn here will serve you well for the next few hours!  

It’s also the strip that will act as a guide for all the pieces to come, so making sure it’s straight is paramount to achieving a professional, even finish. If there’s any point at which to become cocky and over-familiar with the process, it’s certainly not this one! 

Starting in the Middle

For best results, start in one corner and work your way across the wall to the opposite corner. This way, by the time you get to the middle of the wall (which is the part everyone is more likely to see and pay attention to), you’ll have perfected your technique.

Losing Sight of the Pattern

This might seem like common sense, but it really is a very common rookie mistake. As you go about your business, just double check that the pattern is actually lining up! 

Position the strips so that the design lines up with the previous piece before pressing down. The advantage of stick-and-peel wallpaper is that you can quite easily peel it off and adjust it a few times, but the more you can avoid this process, the better. 

Under-buying

Always order more wallpaper than you think you’ll need – not just enough, and never less! Leave room for calculation mistakes, practical mishaps, and any number of unforeseen circumstances. There’s nothing worse than running out of materials mid-way through a process. 

Going Big or Going Home

If this is your first foray into wallpaper, don’t scare yourself, and don’t bite off more than you can chew. Experiment with the process and the look in small spaces first – closets, bookshelves, headboards. As your confidence in your abilities and eye for design grows, move on to accent walls. These are a great way to add depth and drama to a room without necessarily going all-out. Then, when you decide to re-do the entire room, you’ll know that you know what you’re doing.  

Going it Alone

Hanging wallpaper requires a lot of motor skills and accessories, like step-ladders, utility knives and smoothers. It also involves some intense multitasking: peeling, sticking, smoothing, aligning, supervising. All of this is much easier with two or more people (although you don’t want too many chefs in the kitchen…), so make wallpapering-time, fun-time! Add some snacks, tunes and a cheeky wine into the mix, and you’ve got a party. The fantastic result will bring you more joy if the process is memorable and fun.