Wallpaper Pattern Repeat

The number of wallpaper rolls you need for a project depends on the pattern repeat of the particular paper you have chosen. A pattern repeat is the distance between 2 matching design elements on a roll of wallpaper. This distance helps determine how many rolls you will need.

For example, wallpapers with no pattern repeat can be matched along the seam anywhere. With no pattern to match, the second strip can be hung anywhere along the seam. Patterns with a larger repeat will take more paper to match at the seam and will result in more waste at the ceiling and floor.

Random (No Repeat, No Match)

  • Seams anywhere
  • Very little waste

Small Repeat

  • Patterns have a tight repeat
  • Little waste

Large Repeat

  • Patterns have a wide repeat
  • Most waste

Determining Pattern Repeat

A wallpaper’s pattern repeat will typically be listed in the wallpaper sample book, on the manufacturer’s website, or on the wallpaper roll itself. If you are unable to locate the repeat number, you can always measure it yourself. To do this, first take you roll of wallpaper and unfurl a section across a table. Then find a repeating design element along the seam and measure the distance to next repeating element. This measurement is your pattern repeat. This measurement will be used to calculate how much wallpaper you will need for your project.

Measure Wallpaper Pattern Repeat
Measuring a wallpaper pattern repeat

Calculating How Much Wallpaper You Need

First, determine the total length of the wall surface you plan to wallpaper. Then multiply that length by the height of the walls. For example, a 13-foot x 11-foot room with 8-foot high ceilings will have 384 square feet of wall space.

Measure for Wallpaper
A 13′ x 11′ Example Room

Take your total square footage and divide it by usable square footage per roll of wallpaper:

No Repeat = 25 Sq. Ft of Usable Wallpaper

  • Example Room: 384 sq ft./25 sq ft of usable wallpaper = 15.36 rolls
    Round this up to 16 Rolls (8 Double Rolls)

Small Repeat

Repeat Less than 12-inches = 22 Sq. Ft. of Usable Wallpaper

  • Example Room: 384 sq ft./22 sq ft of usable wallpaper = 17.45 rolls
    Round this up to 18 Rolls (9 Double Rolls)

Large Repeat

Repeat Greater than 12-inches = 18 Sq. Ft. of Usable Wallpaper

  • Example Room: 384 sq ft./18 sq ft of usable wallpaper = 21.35 rolls
    Round this up to 22 Rolls (11 Double Rolls)