How To Measure For Wallpaper: 5 Steps To Success


When it comes to DIY home repair and improvement, changing the color of your walls can make the biggest impact. While painting is a less expensive way to go, choosing wallpaper for a little extra wow factor can add up to big returns in the long run. You’ll need a few tools to successfully line up and smooth your edges as well as a few expert tips to make sure your wallpaper installation goes as seamlessly as possible (see what we did there?).

First, you’ll want to do your research about what wallpaper you want to use. We’ll elaborate in a bit about the different types available for purchase, and how each of their installations differs. After you’ve decided what kind of wallpaper you want, you will need to choose a color or design. Typically, you want to use a color scheme that coordinates or at least pulls one shade from another part of your home. If you’re starting the entire design from scratch, use a wallpaper with a statement color that you want to incorporate in another element of your home. 

Wallpaper tends to look best when it looks intentional, which is to say that it’s clear the colors, shapes, or patterns coordinate with other designs in the home. It’s most popular today to do an “accent wall” using wallpaper, perhaps in your bathroom, or a bedroom. In doing this, you can preserve the majority of your wall space, but still, have a focal point that really makes the room stand out. 

How Do You Measure For Wallpaper?

Before you know how much wallpaper to purchase, you will need to accurately calculate how much square footage you need to cover. However, it’s not as straightforward as it seems. This is a 5 step process for correctly measuring wallpaper:

  1. Measure the height and length of the wall.
  2. Measure the height and length of doorways and windows.
  3. Round numbers up to the nearest half-foot if you need to.
  4. Multiply the length and width of each wall to get the square footage. Do the same for the doorways and windows, and subtract that number from the total square footage.
  5. Add up the totals of all walls you want to cover, and then increase that number by 15% to account for waste or mistakes.

How Do You Install Wallpaper?

Typically, many wallpapers will come as an adhesive, meaning that you’ve eliminated the need for glue or other substances. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to follow a step-by-step process to do it correctly.

Prime The Walls

You’ll begin by making sure your walls are as smooth as possible. This will mean removing nails, caulking any open gaps or small holes, sanding the caulk once it’s dried, or removing any paint that’s chipping or falling off. For wallpaper to lay correctly, the wall must be as clean and flat as possible.

Cut The Wallpaper To Size

Next, before removing the laminate that covers the adhesive side of the wallpaper, you’ll cut a piece based on the size that you need. You can install in panels, or all at once, depending on the size of the wall and your preference. Note that you should always add in an additional 6 or so inches to accommodate for edges. 

Mark The Plumb Line

This means that you will begin laying your wallpaper using the top edge as a guideline, in which you will rest the paper along the very top of the wall.

Smooth The Surface

You can then take a wallpaper brush and run it over the remainder of the wallpaper, ensuring that you get a close seal.

Clean Up The Edges

Next, if you aren’t going to be installing new molding over the edge of the wallpaper (which is, in most cases, ideal) you can then take an Exacto knife and cut along the edge where the wallpaper meets the ceiling or the next wall, to create a very precise line. 

Install Molding 

If you are installing molding, you’ll then place it on top of the pre-installed wallpaper, to create a clean line.

What Wallpaper Should I Get?

Once you know how much wallpaper you need, you can start looking into various types of wallpaper, and determine which will work best for your needs. Here are some of the most popular, and their pros and cons.


Vinyl wallpaper is the most popular option, due to its versatility, stability, and easiness to install. There are a few different types of vinyl wallpaper, and the one you choose will depend on the room you want to install it in, and how much weathering it will incur.

Solid Sheet Vinyl

This is the most durable option, the easiest to clean, and the easiest to remove. It is also the thickest wallpaper on the market and is a great option for rooms that are exposed to the elements, such as bathrooms that deal with a lot of steam, water, and heat.

Vinyl-Coated Fabric

With a more natural feel and texture, this is popular because instead of a flat appearance, a vinyl-coated fabric will actually give your wall more dimension. These are popular in rooms that do not incur water or heat, such as a dining room.

Vinyl-Coated Paper 

A vinyl-coated wallpaper offers durability that a classic wallpaper does not. It is effectively the same thing as traditional wallpaper, but with the added protection of an extra sealant. 

Non-Woven Wallpaper

If you have concerns about the environmental impact of using vinyl, non-woven wallpaper is a great option. Made of natural fibers, it does not come with the risk of mold buildup, as it is sealed to protect against it.

Easy-Walls Wallpaper

If you’re concerned about certain chemicals or toxins in your home, this wallpaper is PVC and VOC free, and the ink is water-based. It is as easy to install as any other wallpaper, too.

Prepasted Wallpaper

One of the most common to purchase, prepasted wallpaper ensures that you do not have to purchase or apply additional adhesive. Though prepasted wallpaper is typically more budget-friendly and will not be available in high-end selections, it is undoubtedly the easiest to install.

With so many choices available and installation easier than ever before, your journey to a perfectly wallpapered home is closer than you think.