How to wallpaper a feature wall – with expert advice from Graham & Brown

Give your walls the wow-factor
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  • While we’re all spending more time in our homes, for many, this has encouraged us to embark on easy DIY projects to refresh our surroundings and improve the space we live in.

    Whether it’s having a major declutter, Marie Kondo style, getting all Ground Force and giving the garden a spruce up or finally painting those tired bathroom walls, recent research* commissioned by Graham & Brown has found that 86 per cent of those surveyed have taken on a new DIY task during lockdown.

    Tackle your project the right way with advice and guidance from our DIY & Decorating channel

    But if you’re looking for a fresh new look in your home, wallpapering a feature wall in your living, dining or bedroom, could be just what your space needs to take it from drab to fab.

    Jody Hudson, Stylist and James Hughes, In-House Decorator at Graham & Brown share their step-by-step guide on how to wallpaper a feature wall. Use it, and reinvigorating your room should be a breeze…

    Which wall should be a feature wall?

    Image credit: Graham & Brown

    A feature wall can define a space so choose your wall wisely. They’re a brilliant way to highlight existing architectural features or zone the space in an open plan home. Chimney breasts and walls behind headboards make for interesting focal points.

    What colours should the other walls be?

    Adding a feature wall can be a great way to inject colour and pattern into your home, but the whole room doesn’t have to be bold and bright to make a statement.

    Graham & Brown pairs each of their wallpapers with four co-ordinating paint shades, so you choose to match with a more neutral hue to give your room soothing balance.

    How to wallpaper a feature wall

    Image credit: Graham & Brown

    1. Prepare your wall

    Preparing your walls for wallpapering is quick, easy and essential. First start by removing any grease, dust or dirt with a damp sponge, and fill in any small cracks with filler. For really troublesome walls, think about applying a lining paper first, to get a smooth base.

    2. Draw a plumb line

    Start by drawing a plumb line (a vertical straight line from which you will hang the first drop of wallpaper against) about 50cm from the left-hand corner of the wall you are about to paper.

    3. Paste the wall

    Apply wallpaper paste directly to your wall with a paint roller or wide brush. Paste over the plumb line and at least 2cm wider than the width of the wallpaper.

    Use a slim paint brush to add paste at the top of the wall, around sockets and just above the skirting, to avoid the wallpaper lifting when dry.

    Image credit: Graham & Brown

    4. Hang your paper

    The wallpaper can then by hung, straight from the roll, using a clean, dry paint brush to smooth it into place, allowing 2-3cm extra at the top and bottom. The wet waste will allow you to wiggle the paper into the right spot, lining it up with the plumb line, then starting at the centre, brush out any lumps or air bubbles to the side.

    5. Trim your wallpaper

    Once smooth, cut the excess paper at the top and bottom with sharp scissors or a craft knife.

    Image credit: Graham & Brown

    6. Move to the next drop

    For the second drop, check that your design fits together along the edges of the wallpaper. Starting at the top, match the paper as your hang it from the roll, lightly brushing the paper to the wall as you go- the paper will slide into place on the paste.

    When you get to the bottom of the wall, double-check that the pattern matches and there are no gaps- loosely pulling back the paper and brushing it back down if there are any bubbles- the paper is pretty forgiving!

    7. Repeat until the wall is covered

    Repeat until you have covered your wall and use a damp cloth to remove any paste that may have oozed out onto the paper.


    Image credit: Graham & Brown

    So which walls in your home will your be transforming this weekend?

    *Total sample size was 1,001 UK adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 4th and 5th May 2020. All research conducted adheres to the UK Market Research Society (MRS) code of conduct (2019) RWB is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and complies with the DPA (1998).

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