How to Map Out a Room for Wallpaper

Engineering the room

Before you start hanging, take a moment to measure and mark your room. You want your wallpaper to start and end in an inconspicuous area, while still avoiding edges of any obstacles like windows that can make hanging difficult. Pros refer to this ending area as the “kill point.” Common kill points include corners behind doors or just above the door frame.

Also take a moment to consider any large features in your room, like a fireplace, bay window, or large piece of furniture. For wallcoverings with a noticeable pattern, it’s best to plan your install to center the pattern above the feature.

Measure the width of your wallpaper, and then using a tape measure and pencil, measure off the sections where the wallpaper will hang. A good starting point is the center of your largest obstacle. You want the wallpaper seam to avoid any areas that may be difficult to work around. You may need to shift the starting point a few inches left or right to avoid all the problem areas.

Seams placed too near an obstacle, such as a window, are difficult to hang and prone to tearing.

Pattern Match

A wallpaper’s pattern match describes how the paper’s design elements will line up. This is different from a pattern repeat, which is the distance between two design elements on a single sheet. Wallpaper pattern matches are generally classified as: No-repeat or random match, straight across, and half drop. Understanding a wallpaper’s pattern match will help in planning for the placement of design elements along the ceiling.

No Repeat

As the name implies, a no repeat pattern has no elements that need to be matched while hanging. However, when hanging a no repeat pattern, be sure to rotate each alternating panel 180 degrees. While it may be hard to notice when hanging, some rolls have subtle shading that will show when the sheets are hung side by side. By rotating the sheets, you will help eliminate this shading.

Straight Across

Wallpapers that have a straight across match have one design element that will match straight across each section of the paper. With this pattern, you want to position the design so no major sections are cut off at the ceiling line.

Half Drop

Wallpaper with a half drop repeat have design elements that repeat halfway between each pattern repeat. You will need hang 3 sheets before a pattern will repeat straight across the wallpaper. Preparing sheets from a single roll of wallpaper will result in excessive waste due to the large repeat. To reduce waste on half drop installations, prepare sheets from two separate rolls of wallpaper. One roll will be for odd numbered sheets: 1, 3, 5, and so on. The other will be for even numbered sheets: 2, 4, 6 and so on. Mark the back of each prepared sheet and install sequentially. Follow through to the next how-to page for additional guidance on preparing half drop wallpaper for installation.