Hanging Paper Borders

Adding a paper border to a room seems to be as popular as ever and there are currently a huge range of styles and designs available. Hanging a border can enhance the look of a room and help to break up blank walls. But whilst hanging a border is fairly easy, making sure it is straight and joined correctly makes a huge difference to the finish quality.

Step 1 – Measuring and Marking

Once you have decided how high you want the border to be on the wall, mark that height on a thin piece of wood or batten. Use this as a height stick so you can hold it against the floor (or top of the skirting board) and make several light marks on the wall at the correct height.

Now use a long spirit level to mark a continuous line along the wall, joining up all the height marks. Measure the width of the wall you are working on and add 50-100 mm for trimming at each end. Now cut and paste the length of border and fold it up gently into a concertina shape. Allow the paste to soak in for ten minutes before taking the pasted border to the wall.

hanging paper bordersStep 2 – Hanging the Paper Border

Unfold 300-400mm of border at a time and apply it carefully to the mark on the wall, allowing the folds to drop out as you work. Remember to leave a 50-100mm overlap at the start for trimming later. In a small room, you might be tempted to measure and paste one continuous piece of border all the way around the room. This is not recommended and will probably not save you any time or effort. If you are using self-adhesive border, hang it in the same way, only peeling off 300-400mm of backing at a time as you apply it to the wall.

Step 3 – Joining and Trimming

If you need to join two pieces of border on a section of wall, take care to cut the second piece so that any pattern matches up. Butt the two ends carefully together and use a seam roller to press them down. Alternatively, you can overlap the two ends slightly and then cut down the middle of the overlap with a sharp knife.

Remove the waste paper and smooth down the ends for a near-invisible join. When you come to trim the ends of the border, leave a 5-10mm overlap onto the adjacent wall as you would when hanging normal wallpaper. Butt the border section of the adjacent wall up to this.

Expert Tip

There are some places where you might want to join a horizontal and vertical piece of border. To do this mark out the horizontal and vertical lines with a spirit level and hang the border along these marks. Where the two pieces meet at the corner, overlap them completely (so there is 30-40mm of border past the edge). Use a straight edge and a sharp knife to cut diagonally from outer corner to the inner corner. Now peel off the waste paper and smooth the join down with a seam roller.