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Wallpaper 101

Feb 23, 2016 12:35AM ● Published by Family Features

- To understand the mood of a room, you need look no further than its walls. Wallpaper adds instant texture and flair, and today's DIY-friendly products make it easier than ever to create inspired spaces with little fuss.

The key to successful wallpapering is in the preparation. Clean, dry walls are a must, and any holes or cracks should be filled and sanded. To avoid paste that simply absorbs into porous surfaces, take the time to apply a light, even coat of primer before you begin.

Choose a corner or a space behind a door as your starting point. Mark your starting point by using a level to draw a vertical line from floor to ceiling. Next, cut a length of wallpaper several inches longer than the height of your wall from the baseboard to ceiling.

Apply paste or activate the adhesive according to the manufacturer's directions. Be sure to fully cover or dampen the paper surface; any dry spots will result in unsightly bubbles.

Begin smoothing the paper onto the wall using your vertical line as a guide. Begin at the ceiling and smooth using a brush or plastic smoothing tool. If you encounter wrinkles or bubbles, gently lift the paper and smooth, relaying the paper as you go.

With each strip, you should end with several inches above the ceiling joint and below the baseboard line. Ensure the paper has firmly adhered top to bottom, and then trim using a sharp blade. Smooth each seam as you go.

Continue this process around the room, aligning your paper pattern as needed, but always leaving extra paper at the ceiling and floor. If it isn't possible to complete match the pattern, focus on the middle third of the wall, which is most likely to be at eye level.

To maneuver corners, cut a slit in the paper that overhangs the ceiling and floor. This will allow the paper to lay flat for a smoother finish.

When you round back to your starting point, overlap your original strip of paper with the final strip. Make a single cut for a clean, crisp seam.

Before sitting back to admire your work, be sure to gently wipe away excess adhesive from the trim work and seams. To prevent rips and ripples, allow paper to dry completely - at least overnight - before replacing furniture and hanging artwork to complete your space.

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