Wallpaper How-To: Tips, Tricks and Unique Ideas

modern palm leaf wallpaper

I’m so happy wallpaper is trending again!  And a lot has changed since it was popular 30+ years ago.  The most common wallpaper is now peel and stick. But determining how much you need, and how to hang it can still be intimidating.  I will help navigate how to overcome these obstacles for your home.

I’ve never hung wallpaper myself.  But I spent hours as a kid helping my mom do it.  As an adult, I was able to visit my childhood home.  My old room still had the wallpaper my mom put up!  There had been 3 owners over the ten years since we’d moved.  The current owner had hired a painter to redo my old bedroom a few years prior.  He told the owner it was such a quality job, he recommended leaving it as-is.

"I learned two things you need to hang wallpaper

is patience and attention to detail." 

modern peel and stick wallpaper

Step 1

To determine the total square footage, measure the length and height of each wall you want to wallpaper.  Length (inches) x Height (inches) ÷ 144 = square footage.   Add the square footage for each wall for the total number of square footage.  Always round the number up to a whole number. 


Wall #1 is 112” long and 98” high.  112 x 98 ÷ 144 = 76.22, rounded up to 77 sqft. 

Wall #2 is 146” long and 98” high.  146 x 98 ÷ 144 = 99.36, rounded up to 100 sqft.

Wall #3 is 229” long and 98” high.  229 x 98 ÷ 144 = 155.85, rounded up to 156 sqft.

Wall #4 is 154” long and 98” high: 154 x 98 ÷ 144 = 104.80, rounded up to 105 sqft.

77 + 100 + 156 + 105 = 438 sqft total.

If you have a lot of windows and doors, you can subtract this square footage from the total.  I have a large window in my living room that measures 105” long x 60” high.  105 x 60 ÷ 144 = 43.75. 

Note: Notice when I’m subtracting, I’m rounding the number down instead of up.

438 – 43 = 395 total square feet 

Repeat this step for all the windows and doors in the room.

blue palm leaf peel and stick wallpaper   

Step 2

Now to figure out how much of the wallpaper is usable.  This step is important because you want to make sure you order all the rolls you’ll need at the same time (see Note below).   

Take the height of the wall and divide it by the repeat pattern size.  This particular wallpaper has a 25” repeat pattern.

98 ÷ 25 = 3.92, rounded up to 4.  Each role is 30.75 sqft, so subtract the 4, and this is the usable amount of wallpaper per roll. 

30.75 – 4 = 26.75 (remember to round down when subtracting), so 26 sqft per roll.

peel and stick wallpaper

Step 3

Divide the total number of sqft needed (calculated in Step 1) by the square footage of usable wallpaper (calculated in Step 2). This will tell you how many rolls of wallpaper you’ll need. 

395 ÷ 26 = 15.19, rounded up to 16 rolls.

modern peel and stick wallpaper in living room

Step 4

Add 10-20% for waste, in case you make a mistake or want extra for repair in the future.  (I’ve also included some ideas of what to do with extra wallpaper below.)

Multiply the number of rolls needed (16 as calculated in Step 3) by .1 or .2. 

16 x .1 = 1.6, rounded up to 2 extra rolls

16 x .2 = 3.2, rounded up to 4 extra rolls

So I would purchase 18 to 20 rolls total.    

Note: It’s very important that all of your wallpaper is from the same batch!  The color and/or pattern could vary between batches and this would be very noticeable on your walls. 

tropical peel and stick wallpaper


The average cost of wallpaper starts around $35 per roll.  With the above calculations, it would cost me $650 to wallpaper my living room.  Which is a lot more than to paint it!  But wallpaper is easier to maintain/clean and can last longer than paint, if cared for properly.  And it can give your home a unique look.

How to Hang Wallpaper

Because I haven't hung wallpaper, here is a good tutorial to follow.

hanging peel and stick wallpaper

Unique Wallpaper Ideas

wallpaper muralWallpaper Mural

wallpaper on ceiling Wallpapered Ceiling

wallpapered dresserWallpapered Dresser

wallpaper on stairs Wallpapered Stairs

 wallpaper on back of bookshelfWallpaper on Back of Bookshelf

The thing I remember the most from helping my mom, is how she was patient and made sure she did it right the first time.  There were times she would need to remove the section she was working on and start over.  But it’s better to get it right from the beginning, than to realize it was all done wrong because of one section!

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