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How to Hang Wallpaper

How to Hang Wallpaper Around Corners, Woodwork, and Outlets

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Run a corner strip to and past the corner to start, before trimming.

The open expanse of an unobstructed wall makes for some fairly easy wallpapering. Sadly, every room will at least have corners -- if not cabinets or electrical outlets. On this page, we will show you how to handle the finer points of hanging wallpaper.

Papering Around Corners


The last strip of paper you put up on a wall should be made to turn any corner it encounters. Because perfectly straight walls and perfectly plumb corners are rare, never start or stop a strip of paper at or in a corner. If you do, there will be a noticeable gap in the seam, or the pattern will be out of alignment. Instead, plan to run the final strip of paper on the wall into or around the corner and then master the double-cutting technique outlined before. Here's how to successfully negotiate a turn:

Step 1: On inside corners, measure the distance from the edge of the last strip of paper you put up to the corner of the room. Do this at the top as well as at the bottom of the strip. Then take the wider of those two measurements and add 1/2 inch. Cut the next strip of paper vertically to make a strip that is as wide as your final measurement.

Step 2: Paste and hang this strip, butting it to the edge of the previous strip and running it into and out of the corner. Smooth it on both walls and trim at top and bottom as necessary.

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. To hang the second corner strip, make a chalk line.

Step 4: Use a sharp utility knife and a straightedge to double-cut both thicknesses on one of the two walls, getting as close to the corner as you can. Peel away the top layer of paper, lift the new edge of the top strip, and peel off the inner layer of the paper. Smooth both edges together and use a seam roller to flatten them to the wall.

Step 5: When you get to an outside corner, wrap the wall covering an inch or two around the bend. A wrap of much more than that may wrinkle or buckle when you try to smooth it out. Overlap the next strip on the unpapered wall. Then double-cut the overlap as before, but about an inch away from the corner.

Cutting Around Woodwork, Switches, and Outlets

Papering around windows, doors, built-ins, and woodwork is time consuming but relatively easy. To make the work easier, use a sharp utility knife and clean or change the blade as soon as it shows any signs of pulling or tearing the wall covering.

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. At door and window frames, let the paper  overlap the frame before cutting it.

Step 2: Around large openings or obstacles, make the longest cuts first. At a door, for example, slice the paper from the top of the frame to the baseboard and discard or set aside this strip. Next, crease the flap of paper at the top of the frame and make a horizontal cut, using the frame as a guide. Most such cuts can be done freehand, but you can use a metal straightedge if you desire. Force the knife into the junction between wall and woodwork and guide the tip of the knife along the edge.

Step 3: For outlets and switches, just remove the faceplates and paper right over the recessed electrical boxes. With your utility knife, trim away the overlap, cutting a rectangle in the paper the same size as the box itself. Caution: Wall covering paste is a superb conductor of electricity, so cut off the power to the circuits you're working on at the circuit breaker or fuse box. If you need additional light, run an extension cord to a "live" outlet in another room.

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. To paper over switches and outlets, remove the plate first.

Remove the creased paper and the plate. Position the plate facedown on the pasted side of the paper. Trim off the corners of the paper diagonally so that you can then fold the four edges over the back of the plate without overlapping them. Cut an "X" in the paper where the toggle switch will go through, pull the flaps through the hole, and paste them down.

For best results around both wall-mounted and ceiling-mounted light fixtures, take them down completely. Then you can paper right over the electrical box. Afterward, use the inside of the box as a guide for your knife and cut away the paper covering the opening.

Hopefully by now you have your wallpaper hung and it's looking beautiful. If only your walls could stay that way. Sometimes the wallpaper might start to sag or you might accidentally puncture the paper. Move on to our next section for some common wallpaper fixes.