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How Much Do You Need: Wallpaper

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If you want to put wallpaper in your room, but aren’t sure where to begin, follow our easy steps to find out how much wallpaper you need.

Did you know? In colonial times, wallpaper was hung with tacks; pasting came later. Borders made of separate pieces of paper have long been popular because they cover up ragged edges.

  • Before choosing your wallpaper, keep in mind that wallpaper with little or no pattern to match at the seams and the ceiling will be the easiest to apply, thus resulting in the least amount of wasted wallpaper.
  • If you choose a patterned wallpaper, a small repeating pattern will result in less waste than a large repeating pattern. And a pattern that is aligned horizontally (matching on each column of paper) will waste less than one that drops or alternates its pattern (matching on every other column.)

To determine the amount of wall space you’re covering …

  • Measure the length of each wall, add these figures together, and multiply by the height of the walls to get the area (square footage) of the room’s walls.
  • Calculate the square footage of each door, window, and other opening in the room. Add these figures together and subtract the total from the area of the room’s walls.
  • Take that figure and multiply by 1.15, to account for a waste rate of about 15 percent in your wallpaper project. You’ll end up with a target amount to purchase when you shop.
  • Wallpaper is sold in single, double, and triple rolls. Coverage can vary, so be sure to refer to the roll’s label for the proper square footage. (The average coverage for a double roll, for example, is 56 square feet.) After choosing a paper, divide the coverage figure (from the label) into the total square footage of the walls of the room you’re papering. Round the answer up to the nearest whole number. This is the number of rolls you need to buy.
  • Save leftover wallpaper rolls, carefully wrapped to keep clean.

Tip: Before you begin to hang wallpaper, unroll the paper and inspect it for flaws. Reroll it with the back side out to relieve the curl and make it easier to handle later on.

About The Author

Tom Dvorak

Tom Dvorak, a civil engineer, also writes for Family Handyman about DIY home improvement. Read More from Tom Dvorak

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