Close Menu
O'Neill's Decorating Centres

How to Hang Borders

How to Hang: Wallpaper Borders

Step One: Measure up

The first job in most decorating tasks is to get your measurements taken, so before you grab the measuring tape take a look at your room and decide where will you be placing your wallpaper border?

  • Around the top of the room?
  • At picture rail height?
  • Simply around the centre of your walls?

Now you can go ahead and measure. If you have no windows in the way, measure the entire perimeter of the room (you'll need to add to this to allow for any matching, to get the most satisfying finish it is best to match into any corner)

If you do have windows to contend with, these can be deducted from your calculations (but do remember to leave yourself some allowance for any matching and for decorating into the window reveal) 

One last thing to check whilst measuring... UK/EU wallpaper borders are normally 5m (16ft) long, so to get the best finish you don't really want to have a join along any wall if you can help it. Aim to use continuous lengths on your longest walls and any cut off sections where you can (pattern permitting).


Step Two: Adhesives

 Make sure you have the correct adhesive, our staff can help you with this in store too when you've chosen your wallpaper border. The majority of borders will require a border and overlap adhesive this gives excellent adhesion for applying to vinyl and washable surfaces such as wallpapered and painted walls. Simply using a wallpaper paste may not be sufficient and you may find the border curl at the edges or even come down.


Step Three: The surface

 If you’re going to be applying your border onto a PAINTED wall, lightly sand the area where which the border will sit. The slightly pitted surface will strengthen the bond between the adhesive and the border. (Just be sure you don’t sand beyond the perimeters of the border.)


Step Four: Cutting it

Measure the length of the first wall or section then cut a strip of border, allow a little overlap, around 1-2 inches (2.5-5cm). Now when it comes to cutting, you really should leave your kitchen and sewing scissors where they belong. For precision cutting, our decorating scissors and snap off knives are a sound investment.

Top Tip: Cut the length for your longest wall first, and perhaps save your shortest wall sections until last. You can then minimise the chance of a mid-wall join.


Step Five: Spread some love

It's time to get the paste table out, whether your border is paste the wall (non-woven) or paste the wallpaper, applying adhvesive on one of these clean and flat tables will make your life easier. Apply adhesive to the back of the border and don’t be shy about slapping it on, just keep it off the printed face! For ease of handling, gently fold the border in a concertina style, making sure it doesn’t crease as you fold it back on itself. Converting the border into a smaller, accordion-style shape will also make it easier to transport it to your wall too.

The key here is to allow the adhesive to soak in for a few minutes and to expand before positioning it on the wall (check the roll label for the correct soaking time). If you are using a paste the wall border, you do not need to wait at all - these products are stable and will not react to the moisture from the adhesive.


Step Six: In position

To hang your border at the top of a wall, simply follow the ceiling line around the room, allowing at least an half-an-inch overlap at each of the corners.

If you’re applying a ‘chair rail border’ to the middle of a room, use a spirit level and a pencil to make a faint line around the room at the desired height before you start.

When it comes to bordering windows and door frames, be sure to overlap the corners by about two inches, as that'll help prevent the border from falling down later on. Then, cut through both strips at a 45° angle from the corner, taking care to remove any excess pieces. Use a clean, damp sponge to wipe away any adhesive that may have crept out.


Step Seven: Silky smooth

Once you’ve applied the border in the desired position, smooth over with a wallpaper hanging brush, to ensure the removal of any air bubbles and the maximise contact with the wall or substrate. You now need to allow time for it to dry and bond with the wall. If you notice any excess adhesive as it dries, don’t panic! Simply use a damp sponge to remove it ASAP. If you are using a self-adhesive border extra care needs to be taken in regards to level and air bubbles, once it’s stuck down - it’s stuck!

Top Tip: Be careful not to adjust the positioning of the paper too dramatically as you’re smoothing out the bubbles, as it can stretch and become loose.


Step Eight: Repeat

As with sport and baking, practice makes perfect, when it comes to learning a new DIY skill. So keep going and see what you can acheive!


Enter your email to keep informed about the latest home decorating trends, new products and special offers.

By signing up you agree to our terms.

Got a question?

Simply fill out the form below and we will get back to you as soon as we can.