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Changing the Walls Around You

With a wide variety of patterns, wallpaper can provide a room with a new look and feel. By carefully following a few steps you can paper a room yourself, and achieve the look you want.

Prepping for wallpaper is an important step if you want to your walls to look good and for the papering job to last. Wash the walls to remove dirt and dust and then apply a vinyl-acrylic sizing. This is applied just like paint, and it will dry to be a bit tacky to the touch. This sizing material provides adhesion when applying the paper, and will allow for easy removal if you decide to remove the wallpaper in the future.

If the wall is painted with a flat oil-based paint all you need to do is clean and size the wall. If the paint is a shiny oil-based paint, treat the wall with a de-glosser so the wallpaper will adhere better. Untreated walls and latex painted walls should be treated with an oil-based primer before sizing. If you cannot tell what is on the wall, you should prime the wall.

While it is possible to hang new wallpaper over old wallpaper, as long as the new paper is lighter than the old paper, it is not advisable. You will get a nicer look for the new wallpaper if you start with a clean, primed, wall.

Since wallpapering is not a neat process, be sure to protect the floor and any furniture in your room with plastic tarps. You will also need to wash excess glue off your hands and the wallpaper itself frequently.

Once your walls are ready to go, select an unobtrusive section of your room to begin-like in a corner or an edge with a window or a door. The first strip you lay will set the precedent for the rest of the room, as any small mistake in the first strip will only be emphasized with each new sheet that is applied.

Use a chalk line (a tool used to draw straight lines on walls with chalk) to be sure the first line you draw is perfectly straight. Then cut several lengths of wallpaper a few inches taller than your wall.

Instructions will vary for the method to paste the paper to your wall. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions closely.

Once you apply the paper be sure it is even with the chalk line, or you will need to remove the paper and start again. After the paper is set on the wall, the top and bottom should be tight against corners and baseboard molding. Trim the top and bottom of the paper with a sharp utility knife to get a good cut, one that does not tear the paper. Clean the excess paste off of the sponge and hang the other strips, waiting 10 to 15 minutes for each strip to dry before starting the next. These strips should be about 1/8 inch from the first strip when you first apply them, then slide the new strip towards the previous strip. Allow your new strip to buckle just a bit to accommodate the shrinking that will occur when the strips dry. Finally, using a seam roller will help to seal the seams of each strip.

Sources used in this article include and