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Learning how to wallpaper a wall is one thing, but what about the windows and doors, or the sockets and switches that might get in your way? How do you wallpaper around those tricky bits?

You might only be papering one wall and are already clued up on how to wallpaper a feature wall. But there’s bound to be a sneaky socket or two. Or you might have chosen your chimney breast as your feature wall. What happens then?

Whatever the obstacle, don’t push the panic button just yet!

Let us take you through our top tips on wallpapering around the tricky bits.

How to wallpaper around sockets and switches

Safety first, make sure you turn the electricity off at the mains for this one.

Step 1. Unscrew the socket or switch and gently pull it 1cm away from the wall.

Step 2. Hang your drop of wallpaper as normal, smoothing it into place around the socket or switch. This will leave it visibly protruding underneath your paper.

Step 3. Mark the four corners with a pencil and make a small incision in the paper at the centre of the socket. Then cut the paper diagonally to meet each corner.

Step 4. You will now have four triangular flaps of paper, with the socket or switch visible underneath. Cut each of these triangles down to make a flat edge and tuck the excess wallpaper behind the socket before screwing it back into place.

How to wallpaper around internal and external corners

When wallpapering corners, there are two types to consider: internal corners and external corners. But the process is mostly the same. Here’s how to master the art in just five simple steps.

Step 1. Measure the gap between the edge of your last drop of wallpaper and the corner of your wall, then add 20mm to that measurement.

Step 2. Taking your next drop of wallpaper, use a straight edge to draw a pencil line at the correct width down the back of the paper, and then cut it into two strips.

Step 3. Hang the first strip, brushing it tightly into or around the corner and onto the adjoining wall.

For straight external corners, you should then be able to hang the remaining strip of wallpaper edge to edge with the first one.

For internal corners, follow the last two steps below.

Step 4. Check the width of the remaining strip of wallpaper, then minus 10mm. Measure this distance from the edge of the first strip and use a spirit level to mark a vertical pencil line down the length of your wall.

Step 5. Use this pencil line as a guide to hang the second strip of wallpaper which will overlap the first by 10mm. Any slight pattern mismatch at a corner usually goes unnoticed, as does the overlapping papers.

Top tip: To remove the surplus overlapping paper, use a sharp knife and a straight edge to cut through both layers of wallpaper halfway across the overlap. Then peel the excess paper from the top strip first, followed by the bottom and then smooth to create the perfect join.

How to wallpaper around windows and door frames

Step 1. Start to hang your drop of wallpaper as normal, brushing it into place above your door or window frame. You’ll be able to see and feel the frame protruding underneath your paper.

Step 2. Use your scissors to cut diagonally from the edge of the paper to approximately 25mm past the top corner of the frame. For window frames, repeat this for the bottom corner of the frame too.

Step 3. Brush your wallpaper into place at the corner(s), then brush the rest of the drop into place down the length of your wall. Smooth it tight into the edge of the frame so the excess paper sticks out from your wall at a 90° angle.

Step 4. Trim the excess wallpaper around the edge of the frame using a sharp knife.

How to wallpaper around recessed windows

Learning how to wallpaper around a window recess is probably the trickiest of all tricky bits when decorating. But don’t let that put you off!

Take it step-by-step. It’s easy to do when you know how.

Step 1. Hang your drop of wallpaper next to the window, overhanging the opening.

Step 2. Make two horizontal cuts - one just above the edge of the window recess and the other at the bottom where the opening meets the window sill.

Step 3. Fold the paper around to cover the first side of the window recess, trimming any excess paper at the inside edges.

Step 4. Finish hanging the rest of the drop to the wall above and below the window recess. Carefully cut the paper around the window sill and trim at the ceiling and skirting as usual.

Step 5. Cut a strip of wallpaper to match the width and pattern of the paper above the window recess.

Step 6. Gently lift the edge of the paper above the recess and slip this strip under so there’s a slight overlap. Then fold it around to cover the top of the recess.

Step 7. Next, measure and hang short lengths of wallpaper above and below the window recess, wrapping those above into the top of the recess.

Step 8. When you reach the second side of the window recess, follow the same steps as the first side.

How to wallpaper a chimney breast

This one sounds tricky. But actually, wallpapering a chimney breast isn’t much different from wallpapering a standard wall.

The only difference is that you should start papering from the middle of your chimney breast, centralising your first drop of wallpaper. Let’s look at it step-by-step.

Step 1. Measure the width of your chimney breast and mark the centre of the wall with a pencil.

Step 2. Working to your right, draw a vertical line half the wallpaper’s width from the centre of your wall using a spirit level.

Step 3. Measure the height of your chimney breast, mantel to ceiling, and cut your first drop of wallpaper to size. Remember to add 10cm excess to your measurement for trimming.

Step 4. To hang your first drop, match the right-hand edge of the paper with the vertical line on your wall, leaving 4-5cm excess paper where it meets the ceiling. Smooth this into place and trim the excess wallpaper at the top and bottom.

Step 5. Hang your next drop to the right of your first one, continuing around the external corner and into the internal corner, trimming it where the chimney breast meets the wall. Repeat to the left of your first drop to complete your feature wall.

How to wallpaper stairs

Wallpapering your staircase follows the same process as wallpapering a straight wall. But the height of your stairwell can make wallpapering the stairs a trickier task; not to mention the awkward angles and restricted space. So, extra safety precautions and suitable equipment are essential.

Before we look at how to wallpaper your staircase step-by-step, you need to make sure you have a ladder with an adjustable leg height. Or a leg extension (also known as a ladder leveller) to attach to your standard ladder. This will allow you to position your ladder safely on the stairs.

Secondly, it’s easier (and safer) to wallpaper your stairs with two people. So, it’s time to call in that favour!

Step 1. Remove any handrails or wall-mounted objects that are obstructing your access to the wall.

Step 2. Using a tape measure, find the highest part of your wall from ceiling to staircase. This section will require the longest drop of wallpaper and will be your starting point.

Top tip - As each drop of wallpaper will be different in length due to the rise of your staircase, it’s best to measure, match and cut each drop one at a time - after you’ve hung the previous strip.

Step 3. Using a spirit level, draw a straight line down the length of your wall to use as a guide for your first drop of wallpaper. 

Step 4. Cut your first (and longest) drop of wallpaper to size. Remember to take the angle of the skirting into account and add 10cm excess to your measurement for trimming.

Step 5. Safely position and climb your ladder, then get your helper to hand you the paper (and support its weight if needed). Hang your first drop of wallpaper against the straight vertical line drawn down your wall, leaving 4-5cm excess paper where it meets the ceiling. Smooth this drop into place and trim the excess wallpaper at the top and bottom.

Top tip - Paste the wall wallpapers are particularly easy to use when papering your staircase as you’re working with dry drops of wallpaper. This means each drop is lighter to handle, eliminating the risk of the paper stretching or tearing during hanging.

Step 6. Now that your first drop is in place, measure, pattern match and cut your next drop. Moving and adjusting your ladder as you work, hang each drop until you have finished wallpapering your staircase.

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