Wallpaper: what the best dressed rooms are wearing

Wallpaper is back in the interior design spotlight, thanks to a certain flat refurbishment and a Prime Minister left with a huge redecoration bill. While the fact that Carrie Johnson gave the green light to wallpaper that cost over £800 a roll caused outrage, the follow up news is also causing consternation.

If reports are to be believed, the ultra luxurious wallpaper is already peeling off, with interior designer Lulu Lytle recalled to examine why the rolls of gold are falling down. It is thought the handcrafted nature of the wallpaper chosen made it extremely difficult to hang and ‘wallpaper-gate’, as it’s been dubbed, has brought to light the issues faced when using paper wallcoverings.

If you have been inspired to break out the paste and paper table – and want to avoid any nightmare scenarios –  here’s our quick guide to wallpapering:-

Preparation is king: flat, smooth and dry walls will ensure that the end result is as good as possible. It’s best to remove any existing wallpaper – using a wallpaper steamer is usually the quickest way but ensure the walls dry out before you put any new wallpaper up.

If you’re wallpapering over painted walls, fill in holes, sand back to achieve a smooth surface and wash down before papering. Newly-plastered surfaces should be left to dry for at least a month before wallpaper is applied and the plaster must be sealed before you start. If you’re after perfection, you could put up lining paper before your final wallpaper choice.

Types of wallpaper: gone are the days when wallpaper had to be put up using a thick, gloopy glue. The traditional method of using paste applied to the wallpaper is still very common but there are less-messy alternatives.

Pre-pasted wallpaper allows you to just add water to make the paper sticky, or there’s self-adhesive wallpaper where you simply peel off a backing and apply. Every room in the house can receive the wallpaper treatment, as you can now buy paintable, washable and moisture-resistant examples.

Tools for the job: prep work may require filler, sandpaper, sugar soap, a sponge and perhaps a wallpaper steamer. As wallpaper is sold in rolls, you’ll also need a surface that’s long and clean. While you can use the floor, a specific wallpaper pasting table is best. Hanging wallpaper is about accuracy, so a sharp blade or scissors, tape measure, plumb bob, pencil and carpenter’s levels are vital.

Depending on your adhesive type, a pasting brush, something to mix the paste in or a tray filled with water can be useful. Once the wallpaper is in place, a clean, dry sponge, a seam roller or a wallpaper smoother will help remove small bubbles and join seams.

There is more detail and advice in B&Q’s ‘how to hang wallpaper guide’ – have a read and make a list of what you might need to get wallpaper ready.

If you’re looking to move home and fancy a property where there’s already wallpaper in place, ask us for a list of available homes that are decorated and ready to move into