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How to hang lining paper 

Hanging lining paper before decorative wallpaper helps you achieve a smooth professional finish in any room. You can also easily paint on top of lining paper. Read on for our step-by-step guide to hanging lining paper.

Why you should hang lining paper

Hanging lining paper is certainly worth the effort. The benefits include:

  • covers up cracks, stains, and other imperfections
  • great base layer for either painting or wallpapering
  • extra layer of protection and insulation for your wall


  1. Choosing the right type of lining paper
  2. Calculating how much lining paper to use
  3. Preparing the wall for papering
  4. Planning how to hang lining paper
  5. Where to hang the first sheet of lining paper
  6. How to hang lining paper


  1. Choosing the right type of lining paper

Lining paper is sold in single rolls and double rolls of various lengths and widths.

More importantly it’s also sold in ‘grades’. The grade is the thickness of the paper and varies from 800 (thinnest) to 2000 (thickest).

A thin grade is suitable for newly plastered walls and older walls in good condition. You need a thicker grade for walls that have more cracks and other imperfections. A grade of 1400 is suitable for most painting and decorating projects.

Lining paper was traditionally hung by spreading wallpaper paste onto the paper before placing it onto the wall. This is a reliable method, but also rather fiddly. It’s now quite normal to apply paste onto the wall first and use specially made paste-the-wall’ wallpaper.

  1. Calculating how much lining paper to use

Simply, measure each wall’s height and width, multiplying the two numbers together:

  • Wall 1: height 2.4m x width 3.6m = 8.64sqm
  • Wall 2: height 2.4m x width 4.1m = 9.84sqm

Add together each area:

  • 64 + 9.84 = 18.48sqm

Add 10% for expected cutting and wastage:

  • 48 + (10%) 1.848 = 20.33sqm

Now divide this number by the ‘area coverage’ of the wallpaper. This figure is usually found on the packaging of a roll (alternatively, multiply the length x width of a roll):

  • 33 ÷ 5.4sqm (example) = 3.77 rolls

Therefore you would buy 4 rolls for this project.

  1. Preparing the wall for papering

Firstly, remove any old wallpaper and allow the walls to dry completely if you have used steam or water. Fill any holes with filler and sand down to a smooth finish. The wall surface should be completely clean and dry.

If your walls are freshly plastered, then you will need to treat them with wall sealer first. This seals the porous surface of the plaster and helps the lining paper stick to the wall.

  1. Planning how to hang lining paper

Lining paper can be hung in two ways:

  1. Horizontally: use if you’re hanging wallpaper vertically over the top. This cross-lining” of the seams prevents the paper from eventually peeling off the wall. Hanging paper horizontally can be quite tricky though and requires skill and patience!
  2. Vertically: use if you’re painting directly over the top of the lining paper. You can also hang wallpaper vertically over the top if the seams aren’t in the same places. Choosing differing widths of wallpaper and lining paper helps achieve this. This is a better option if you’re a novice decorator.

This guide focuses on hanging lining paper vertically.

To make your task easier, cut several lengths of lining paper to size in advance. Measure the wall height, add an extra 10-15cm for excess, and cut with scissors.

  1. Where to hang the first sheet of lining paper

The first sheet you hang is the most important one, so it needs to be lined up correctly.

Never hang the first sheet on a corner. This is because corners are never exactly vertical. You can start either in the middle of a wall, or at least 50cm away from a corner. Once the first sheet is down, work your way towards the nearest corner.

To make sure your lining paper is straight, use a spirit level or plumb line to mark a vertical line along the full height of the wall. You now have a straight edge to start – hang your first sheet to the right of this line.

  1. How to hang lining paper

The following steps apply to paste-the-wall lining paper.

  • Mix the paste, but don’t over-dilute the mixture (some adhesives come ready-mixed for ease of use). Then use a roller (not a pasting brush) to apply the paste to the section of wall you’re about to cover.
  • Line your first sheet up to the plumb line and gently press it onto the wall, working from the top of the wall to the bottom. Then, working outwards from the centre of the paper, use a wallpaper brush to smooth the surface, making sure you remove any air bubbles or tiny creases as you go.
  • Trim any excess paper at the top and bottom with a sharp retractable knife.
  • Repeat the above process for subsequent lengths. Use your first sheet as a guide rather than a new plumb line. When you fit the second sheet, make sure the edges don’t overlap.
  • Use a seam roller to smooth down the join between each sheet.
  • You may also have to paper around switches, sockets, and windows. If you measure and cut carefully, it’s relatively easy to paper around such obstacles.

Rob Hill

LEH Design | Copywriting & UX Design


NN12 7QE


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