floral wallpaper in kitchen

DIY’ing your wallpaper may seem like a big commitment or a job better left to professionals, but taking a few minutes to avoid mistakes will save you a lot of time and money if you decide to take on the project yourself.

Above all else, always order a sample before buying the full amount so you can be confident in your color choice. Colors and designs will look differently on a computer or phone screen than it will in your actual home. You need to test the color and pattern with your flooring, the amount of natural light in the room, and the lighting fixtures. While shopping for wallpaper, make sure that you are being conscience of the type of room you are considering applying wallpaper in. If it’s in the bathroom, a moisture-resistant material is a must. If you’re looking for wallpaper for the kitchen, a child’s room or a hallway, you’ll want to look for an easily cleaned vinyl wallpaper.

Those are just a few tips to get you started in your search. Here are a few of the most common mistakes people make when they order and apply wallpaper in their home:

1.  Incorrectly Measuring

Don’t rush through the first step of your wallpaper installation process. Measuring is the most important part of your project: if you measure twice (or three times), you’ll only need to order once!

A good rule when placing your order is to order 15-25% more wallpaper than you think you’ll need. You’ll have extra in case of a tear or mistake during installation, and it saves you if you accidentally measure incorrectly.

This calculator will help you to determine the amount of wallpaper you need.

2.  Not Following Instructions Completely

While installing wallpaper yourself can save your budget, not reading through the instructions or starting the project before doing your research will end up costing you both time and money. For example, paper wallpaper is notorious for expanding while soaking and shrinking while drying. Obviously this significantly impacts the final result! Our advice? Read through the instructions that come with your specific type of wallpaper, watch a few installation videos before you start and set timers for each phase rather than guess.

3.  Creating Air Bubbles

Creating or allowing air bubbles in the wallpaper is one the most common mistakes people make when installing wallpaper. Air bubbles can occur if the wall was not cleaned properly before installation. There is a greater likelihood that you might glue the paper on top of dirt or dust.

The simple solution is to wipe down the wall thoroughly with warm water. Allow the surface to dry completely and look for any imperfections. If you find any rough patches or blemishes on the wall, use sandpaper to buff it out.

Air bubbles can also occur while you are smoothing the paper onto the wall. To prevent this from happening during installation, start at the center of the wallpaper and smooth outwards. If you work top-down, not only may the wallpaper develop more bubbles, but it may not fit the area completely.

If you’ve already applied the wallpaper and the adhesive has dried, you will have to cut open around the bubble to release the air or remove the dirt speck beneath the paper, which can be a painful process.

4.  Not Using a Level

Unfortunately, sometimes walls and ceilings are just not level. Don’t make the mistake of lining up your wallpaper with the edge or corner of the room. A laser level or plumb bob tool will keep you in line and save you a lot of frustration.

5.  Tearing the Wallpaper

When installing wallpaper, you’ll find yourself trimming edges often. If you’re not using a sharp razor blade for each cut, you may tear the wallpaper instead of creating a clean trim. Be sure to buy plenty of replacement blades and use a straightedge for each cut.

6.  Not Wiping Away Excess Adhesive

Cleaning off adhesive is easiest when it’s still wet, so don’t wait until the end of the project to clean up. Using a damp sponge, easily remove the paste from your beautiful new wallpaper, as well as your trim, ceiling, or baseboards.

7.  Throwing Away Leftovers

Always order slightly more than you need and always save excess wallpaper. You never know if the paper will be damaged in the future, and you’ll need the extra to patch the spot. Additionally, wallpaper is sometimes created in dye lots, and a new batch may not match your wall exactly the same way as the original.

Still Unsure About Wallpaper?

If the possibilities are making you nervous, or you’re just not ready to make the wallpaper commitment, then try temporary wallpaper instead. Even if you make a mistake lining up the pattern, or the color is different than you expected, you can take it down easily when you’re ready to move on. If you have more questions concerning whether or not wallpaper is a good choice for your room, which type you should buy or how to apply it, check out this Wallpaper 101 handbook.

Over time, we''ve compiled a vast reference library filled with helpful hints and enticing ideas for the home. Lose yourself in these online "stacks" and find the perfect solution for your space – no Dewey Decimal System required.

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