Wallpapering – like a pro or by a pro?

Wallpapering is often seen as one of the most basic of DIY jobs, but it is also the basis for many a classic sitcom sketch as well. Spilled paste, torn paper and ruined rolls of expensive wallpaper are standard for any television paper-hanging job. So should you attempt the job yourself, or do you really need a professional to take the job on for you?

The first question you should ask yourself is how confident you would be doing the job. It is certainly not the most complex DIY task to carry out, but you could end up costing yourself a lot in wasted paper if you are not confident. If you have never carried out any paper-hanging then you should only really go ahead if you are planning to hang inexpensive plain paper. This is because the cost will allow for a few mistakes and the plain design will mean that you won’t be required to match up the pattern as you go around the room.

floral wallpaper

Image source: rogue designs via Flickr

The first stage of putting paper on the walls is to cut the paper, for which you will need a paper table, scissors, decorator’s rule and a sharp knife. You should also make sure you have a sponge, seam smoother and a brush. You cut the paper just over the size you need for the drop of the wall and then make final adjustments once it is in place and measured up against the wall. You should have already made sure that the walls are fairly flat and not in need of filler or smoothing out.

Most papers now come with a paste solution already applied, so you only need to wet it to apply it to the wall but it’s worth checking this before you get started. Whether or not you need paste, you will need to position the paper on the wall once the adhesive is activated or applied. The first piece of paper should be simple enough, but remember you will have to negotiate your way around corners, decorative features, fireplaces, switches and doorways yet. If you are experienced or are working with someone who has done the job before then you should be fine, but bear in mind that if you are following instructions from a book or your smartphone then things could get messy pretty quickly.

blue wallpaper

Image source: keresi72 via Pixabay

Patience is your friend when wallpapering. You will need to be ready for the odd mistake and be brave enough to slide the paper across the walls to make sure the joins meet up. If you are likely to throw down your pasting brush and screw up a roll of paper with your first error then save yourself the stress and use a pro.

The cost and the design of your paper should also be a deciding factor in whether to use a professional. Some wallpapers cost upwards of £50-per-roll, which can mean that the cost of a professional decorator as a proportion of the overall job can be fairly small. Depending on the condition of the walls, a small bedroom can cost from just £100 in terms of labour, up to around £500.

black wallpaper

Image source: jarmoluk via Pixabay

Mistakes from a professional are likely to be few and far between. There will also be a distinct lack of cursing, crying or shouts of ‘never again’ as they easily match up patterns such as stripes, floral designs or even flock. If you are using complex designs or heritage hand-printed papers then you will definitely want to invest in having the job done properly. There is little point in splashing out on expensive materials and then skimping on the execution. Just think of the peace of mind you will have in going to bed on the day that the paper is put up, not worrying about the possibility of waking to find half of it on the floor.

Iain Aitch

Iain is a London-based writer who works as a journalist for a number of newspapers and magazines. He has also written two books, one of which is a hilarious lexicon about Britishness – Iain is a Brit through and through!

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