How to wallpaper a chimney breast

Create a stylish focal point in your living room in just a few hours with our step-by step guide to wallpapering a chimney breast
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  • There are so many ways to up the style ante in a room without spending a fortune – and this is one of our favourites. Pick one of the many gorgeous statement wallpapers around and try your hand at wallpapering a chimney breast – it’s easier than you think.

    Whether you’re painting, tiling of papering, learn how to tackle the job with our DIY and decorating advice

    It can make an instant difference in a living room, dining room or bedroom, and you should only need one roll of wallpaper. So even if you’ve had your eye on an expensive design, you won’t need to spend a small fortune.

    Wallpapering a chimney breast – the kit you’ll need


    Image credit: James French

    • Dustsheet
    • Plumb line (with chalk)
    • Stepladder
    • Retractable tape measure
    • Wallpaper scissors
    • Pasting table
    • Ready-mixed wallpaper adhesive paste
    • Pasting brush
    • Paper-hanging brush
    • Stanley knife
    • Clean dishcloth

    How to wallpaper a chimney breast


    Image credit: Claire Lloyd Davies

    Another easy weekend makeover: How to put up a floating shelf 

    1. Measure up

    Measure the width of your chimney breast. Measure half the width of your wallpaper and mark a vertical line this far from the centre, using a chalked plumb line. Next, measure from the ceiling to the mantel shelf, then from the ceiling to the floor, adding an extra 10cm to each measurement to allow for trimming.

    2. Start in the middle of the chimney breast

    Cut a length to go above the shelf. Place face down and brush on the paste, from the centre out. Loosely fold and leave to ‘soak’, according to paste instructions.

    TOP TIP: If using a pattern design, check it’s the right way up – the outside end of the roll isn’t always the top.

    3. Score and trim the excess

    Use your chalked line to position the paper in the centre, brushing down and out. With the back of a pair of scissors, mark where you need to trim at the top and bottom, ease the wallpaper away, trim and ease back.

    4. Paper the sides of the chimney breast

    Start at the edge of the front corner and take the paper back into the recess.

    5. Remove any excess paper from the sides

    Where the chimney breast joins the wall, mark the line with the back of a pair of scissors, trim and ease back into place, as before.

    6. Finish the job

    Measure the distance from the edge of the wallpaper in the centre to the front corner of the chimney breast, then add 25mm. Cut a length of paper to this width and hang, taking the extra 25mm round the corner, overlapping the side piece. Repeat for the other side.


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