How to Hang Wallpaper Border

Wallpaper borders are a quick way to add interest and pizzazz to a room. Whether for a kid-themed room, a classy dining room chair-rail border or a pretty, scalloped border in your laundry room, there are a myriad of choices. The good news is that it's easy to hang wallpaper border.


Borders come with basic instructions, which are just that: basic. With some professional secrets that the wallpaper companies don't put on the instruction slips, you will be hanging borders with ease in no time.

Where Do I Hang the Border?
You can put a border at any height, but most typically, the border is found around the ceiling or at chair-rail height (32" from the floor to the center of the border). Borders come in 15' rolls and are long enough to cover most walls without having a seam break mid-wall.

Before You Start Hanging the Border
Check for blemishes, like paint drips along the top of the wall or cracks along the corners. Use clear or matching-colored caulking for cracks and a scraper for paint drips. Fill holes and shallow gouges and spot-prime them before applying the border. Most borders are fairly thin, and underlying imperfections will really stand out. It is best to fix them now, rather than see them once you are done. As with painting, half the battle with any successful wallpaper project is in the preparation.

Hanging the Wallpaper Border
First, do not rely on prepasted borders to be terribly effective, particularly in humid climates or for bathroom use. Prepasted borders don't adhere well to very glossy surfaces. Buy a small tub of premixed wallpaper paste and thin it until it becomes a thick paint texture, much like the consistency of mayonnaise. Paint this on the wall before you apply your wetted border and then wipe each section down with a clean damp cloth.

If you need to move your ladder mid-wall, use a pin to hold the border in place. The pin hole will be imperceptible once you are all done.

With darker colors, sometimes no matter how much you try, the white seam edges will show. If they don't show up right away, they may as the border dries and shrinks. Using any sort of similar-colored water soluble paint or colored pencils (those from a child's art set work fine), gently work some of the color along the seams with a moistened artist's brush or small rag. Once you wipe over the area, the edges will have absorbed the color. This is also handy for accidental rips or visible pinholes left from sticking the border to the wall.

Always start in the darkest or most inconspicuous corner, so the almost-inevitable pattern mismatch won't be as obvious as you finish.

If you are installing your border over freshly painted walls, it is best to wait 30 days for the paint to cure first. Otherwise your border may start peeling as the paint cures.

And, as the old carpenter's saying goes: Make sure you measure twice and cut once.

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